Beck's "Dumbest Thing" Argument Is Philosophically Flawed
January 18, 2010
By Rev. Michael Bresciani
Glenn Beck recently said that giving 'Birthers' air time would benefit the Obama administration. Beck said both the idea of radio air time and the birthers arguments were the "dumbest thing I ever heard."
Beck's answer to the birther's quest is to take up something else like the constitutionality of health care and the legality of Czars. We have to wonder if Beck has forgotten that we have a democratically controlled House and Senate.
If the best minds of the conservatives were to form the question of constitutionality on these issues who would listen and how would that be voted on in either house? To the rest of us, at least for the moment (until after the 2010 elections) that idea may be the 'dumbest thing we ever heard.'
Even among conservative commentators there exists the possibility of some home grown megalomania bred of their own success. We must constantly remind ourselves and our trusted icons of the airwaves that 'newsmen are not supposed to create our truth for us' but we expect them only to report it for us.
Beck seems to have forgotten that birthers are not so much complaining about what has been seen of the Obama papers but it is the many documents that have not been seen that raises the questions. The little short form BC that was posted online has so far been the only offer of anything from the President. Here is the absurdity of the whole matter.
The hardest thing to believe is not whether the short form posted online is legitimate but rather why has a nation decided to put a man into the most powerful office in the world with only that as a means of vetting him? The question falls on the vetting process, the credulity of our system and ultimately on the people of the United States.
Most of us are reticent to give our children the keys to the car but here America gives the keys to the Caddy to a complete stranger. It must be repeated often that when credentials are offered for anything in this nation and for any reason, that exposing them only on the internet has never been accepted as a legitimate offer of proof, with one exception! That is what birthers are calling the dumbest thing.
We must not leave the other angle in the story unattended. With or without the BC it is known that Mr. Obama's stepfather was a citizen of Indonesia. This is where the eligibility question doesn't need a birth certificate to prove anything but only a fair interpretation of the Constitution.
Here is another question, who has dared to raise the constitutional challenge so far? The job would fall to the legislature and/or the Supremes but so far has only been taken up by that band of ridiculed but relentless seekers of the 'rest of the story' known as the birthers. We can label them nuts but can't deny their guts. To many Americans they seem much more all American than those who just accept the status quo. On that most fundamental level the birthers are indeed questioning the constitutionality of the Obama Presidency; why doesn't that count for Mr. Beck?
Mr. Beck has chided the birthers with the idea that Hillary would have exposed the fraud if she knew about it. That's the question. If no one in America knew about it or has ever laid eyes on the BC or the long list of documents, why are we assuming Hillary had access to them? There's a leap.
It wasn't the KGB that suppressed the documents or that kept Hillary away from the controversy. At the least it was the DNC but even they don't know the truth. If we are to assume Hillary knew anything of it then we must also color that with the knowledge that she for a time at least thought she may be second in line on the Obama ticket. There's an apple cart she was not likely to turn over.
It would be easy to say that this writer must believe that the BC will prove Mr. Obama is not an American citizen. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no idea if that is true and to some degree I don't care. What I do care about is that the birthers and every American have the right to see for themselves. I'll go yet one step further, it is more than a right; it is our duty to vet our public officials.
Haven't we learned anything from the past attempts at presidential chicanery and slight of hand? How long did Nixon try every trick he knew to keep the 'tapes' from public view? How long did Mr. Clinton insist he had no intimate contact with Ms. Lewinsky? Isn't it reasonable to ask how long law firms and DOJ lawyers will be engaged to keep essential documents from the public eye? If the question of how long doesn't seem important then just start with the question of why.
Why would anyone be so adamant in keeping such ordinary matters from the public scrutiny? Most people are proud to show where they were born and are willing to show their school records and records of public service. Why haven't flags gone up in the minds of every American?
Why do we label these birthers kooks on such a flimsy argument even as the Freedom of Information Act, the vetting process and just basic common sense and yes, even the Constitution have all been thwarted to keep a secret that at this point seems all to silly to keep continually hidden.
Don't send nasty emails because I don't agree with Glenn, because in spite of what I see as a side trip into 'prior philosophic postulation' I am glad he is on the air and doing what he does. Mr. Beck's views on the birthers just re-enforces my belief that newsmen must not define the truth; if they are worth their salt then they need only report the truth. We, the American public, will decide what to do with it after it is heard.
In keeping with what has been the hallmark or signature of my brand of journalism or op-ed style I will appendage this piece with what I think is appropriate to its content from the scriptures.
According to the Apostle John even the brothers of the Lord were not prone to believe fully that he was the Messiah. Their argument was based on the fact that at that moment he would not go up to a major feast in Jerusalem and show the mighty works and miracles he was doing in the rural area of Galilee. His closest followers and his kin were in doubt because they thought he was keeping something secret. Sound familiar? Here is what they said.
His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. (Jn 7:3-5)
Some Obama supporters are fleeing camp most who have never once asked to see the long form BC, how can those who think he is becoming the worst President in U.S. history continue with the slightest confidence without seeing it?
It is hard to believe that Glenn Beck, who has proven that he is the very vanguard of common sense journalism, has taken this position. It isn't about birthers Mr. Beck, it is about America's right to know. I am confident that whether overly biased journalism or misapplied journalism is at fault here, one day they will most assuredly know.