by William B. Turner
The correlation is certainly not exact, but there must be significant overlap between loyal Trump supporters and birthers, and not only because the Donald himself was an avid birther.
To be a loyal Trump supporter and a birther both require a particularly pernicious version of a failing most, if not all, humans are prone to.
In his magnum opus, Truth and Method, German philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer writes about “prejudice.” He does not mean this term in the pejorative sense that it now has in English in the United States. Prejudice, for Gadamer, is not necessarily a bad thing. It has been necessary for human survival. What he means by it is simply the fund of deeply ingrained beliefs about how the world works that have a huge impact on how we act and are mostly subconscious. All humans have them. One can be more or less aware of one’s prejudices.
Loyal Trumpsters and birthers have very strong ideas about what a president of the United States should look like. Barack Obama did not look like that. Donald Trump does.
Lots of people around the world have ideas about what a president of the United States should look like. A rational set of ideas on this topic would look at the enormous responsibilities and powers of the job and choose a person with the intelligence and experience necessary to handle those responsibilities and powers well. Trump supporters
used totally irrelevant qualities such as skin color, hair color, gender, and possession of a large fortune to choose their president. And, unfortunately, our president.
Birtherism was always nothing but garden variety racism. Birthers couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of having a black president, but they could see, even on Faux “News,” that everyone was treating Obama like the president, so they had to find some way to reconcile their ideas about what the president should look like with what they saw on the television, so when some fool suggested that Obama had not been born in the United States and was not, therefore, qualified to be president, they jumped with abandon onto that foolish bandwagon and held on for dear life.
Both loyalty to Trump as president and birtherism are reflections of deep seated, ill-considered ideas about what the president should look like. Both are grossly illogical and irrational.
Both are mistakes.