Burden of Proof

I started to write out a question on my favorite Ask MetaFilter, asking if Obama’s citizenship has ever been concretely proven. There are still some who call it into question.

But as I wrote the question, I started to realize how absurd the argument was. Right about the time he was being labeled a Muslim, people started “pointing out” that he was born in Kenya and thus not a citizen. Nevermind the fact that his father was practically estranged his whole life, or that he was born in a Hawaiian hospital to a mother from Kansas. So Obama’s team obtained a copy of his birth certificate and posted it online, thinking they’d once and for all prove the rumors false.

Then people argued it was just Photoshopped. Clearly, they’d taken a blank and filled in Obama’s information to make it look like he was a US citizen.

Someone else argued the other day that, when he went to visit his grandmother on the verge of death, he wasn’t seen much in public for a few days, which is evidence that he was using millions in campaign cash to bribe Hawaiian officials.

Someone then pointed out that Snopes has debunked the whole thing, concluding that he is a citizen. But apparently, Snopes is run by a “liberal California” couple, so they’re covering for him.

At what point does the burden of proof shift to the conspiracy theorists? I think it’s fair enough to question the citizenship of someone running for President, though I do find it suspect that the first minority president is the only person to ever jump through these hoops. (Just for fun: Obama was born in Hawaii. McCain? South America, though I don’t think many people seriously doubted his citizenship after he was born on a US military base.)

But after the candidate provides a copy of his birth certificate, I think that if you want to argue it’s Photoshopped and that he bribed the Hawaiian government, the burden of proof shifts, and suddenly it’s on the conspiracy theorists to make the case. At the very least, I’m through trying to have a rational conversation about it. (Did you know that Sarah Palin is actually a martian, and a convicted serial killer? It’s true. She used her power as governor to destroy the records of the hundreds of people she murdered, and then used taxpayer dollars to have surgery to appear to be a human. Bet you can’t prove me wrong!)

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