Obama’s Birth Certificate: Suspending Truth As a Means To An End

barack obomas long from birth certificateAlas, today our president felt forced to address the concerns of naysayers and release his long form birth certificate.  Prior to its release, there was no doubt that he was born within the USA. A short form birth certificate had been made public years ago. In light of the just released certificate, many will continue to maintain that he is an illegitimate holder of the presidential office.

History is replete with examples of intransigent beliefs that are in direct conflict with all that is known to be true. For every historically documented genocide there is a faction that contends that it never happened—or at least was grossly exaggerated. In the case of Obama’s birth certificate, it took only minutes after its release for pundits and some politicians to question its authenticity. It has been further estimated that no matter what proof is brought forward, up to one-quarter of Republicans will continue to maintain doubt of Obama’s natural born status.

As peacebuilders, there is a difficult lesson here. We must accept that people will not necessarily see the world from our perspective, no matter how convincing our case. When an individual feels that a particular point of view supports their best interests, truth becomes irrelevant. Marketing executives have counted on this since the first bottle of snake oil was sold. Our nature is such that if we really want something to be true, we are willing to suspend disbelief and embrace whatever promises to get us what we want. From diet pill claims of miraculous weight loss, to 10-minute a day muscle building machines, we leap when we should know better.

As individuals, we usually survive these flights from reality albeit a little lighter in the pocketbook for the experience. However, the cost is far greater when groups of individuals see an altered view of the truth to be in their best interest. To stay in the group’s good graces one suspends independent thought. “Truth” in this case grows out of an agenda. This process has been used throughout history to set the stage to legitimize acts of hate, prejudice, intolerance, and war.

There will always be those who attempt to use this strategy to refashion the world for fanatical reasons or personal gain. It is a lesson for the majority that we must stay ever-vigilant and steadfast in countering the proliferation of “untruths” that lead to a justification of violence.

by William Repicci

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