‘Birther’ bill caters to conspiracy, wastes money

President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of our population, notoriously named “birthers,” still believe he was not born in America, and thus believe his presidency is in violation of the Constitution’s requirement that all presidents be natural born citizens.

According to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, only 58 percent of United States citizens believe Obama was born in this country. About 23 percent said they do not know whether he was or not, and an astounding 20 percent said they think he was born in another country.

And Arizona appears to be ready and willing to entertain the fatuous and irrational belief that “birthers” have been trying to gain support for since the campaign leading up to the 2008 presidential election.

According to The Arizona Republic, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that would require all presidential candidates who would like to appear on the Arizona ballot in the 2012 election to produce an actual birth certificate. The bill would then require Arizona’s Secretary of State to inspect the birth certificates to verify that all of the candidates meet the necessary preconditions.

While the bill does not specifically mention Obama, it is blatantly clear that its supporters believe this bill is a solution to the “controversy” about where the president was born.

Rep. Cecil Ash, R-Mesa, said, “I support this measure in order to remove this as any type of issue in the future,” according to FOX News.

The question regarding whether or not Obama was born in the United States is not a new one. It is also not an unanswered one.

According to The New York Times, during the 2008 presidential campaign, a scanned image of then-senator Obama’s birth certificate was released, as well as birth notices published in 1961 from two Honolulu newspapers. Hawaii’s health director also confirmed Barack Obama was born there.

“This is a question that has been answered exhaustively. I can’t imagine Arizona voters think their tax dollars are well served by a legislature that is less focused on their lives than in fringe right-wing radio conspiracy theories,” said Bill Burton, White House spokesman, according to CNN.

“I am ashamed that this is even a topic of discussion,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, according to FOX News.

With all of the serious and important issues that Arizona is facing right now, it is a disgrace that our legislators are wasting their time and our tax dollars trying to find a remedy for a problem that doesn’t exist.

So I implore everybody to join me in saying the following eight words: President Obama was born in the United States.

Now let’s move on.

Reach Austin at acyost@asu.edu

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