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For the past four years, Orly Taitz has been trying to prove that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. But all the California dentist and attorney has really proved, among other things, is that she’s better at comedy than lawyering.
The “birther queen,” keeps turning up the volume on her craziness about Obama not being a citizen. She insists that the president’s U.S. birth certificate is fake, and has claimed that he has a Kenyan one – a delusion that has long since been debunked.
And virtually all her claims that have been heard in court have been thrown out.
But none of those defeats – in fact, not even Obama’s decisive reelection – have been enough to trigger whatever alarm clock that exists that ought to let Taitz know that her 15 minutes of fame is up.
She’s now calling for the 80,000 or so people who watched a 2011 YouTube video of her challenging Obama’s presidential eligibility before the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission to join her in a White House protest.
Apparently, it never occurred to her that a lot of people who watched that video might have watched it for laughs. But Taitz, whose website is set up to collect donations via credit card, probably doesn’t mind, because when it comes to Obama, crazy sells.
Crazy can also kill.
That’s why, as easy as it would be to ignore someone like Taitz – I doubt if she could get 800 people, much less 80,000, to join her in Washington – it’s still important to keep a handle on the potential dangers that people like her pose.
Obama receives nearly 30 death threats a day – a 400 percent increase from the number of daily threats that his predecessor, George W. Bush, received. While a killer probably won’t be able to get to Obama, he could turn his wrath on people who look like Obama.
And it’s a safe bet that many of the extremists who are making the threats are people who follow Taitz because they need to believe that Obama can’t be legitimate, that he stole the White House from white people, and that it’s their sacred and patriotic duty to get him out of office.
For some unhinged folks, that means trying any and all means to do that.
Another thing to understand is that somehow, Taitz is still managing to find an audience and occasional air time to peddle her conspiratorial blather –and that the people who are supposed to be sane still haven’t given up on exploiting the same hatred and racial resentment that Taitz is exploiting to stay relevant.
Republican operative Karl Rove, for example, recently weathered the wrath of wealthy donors after his Crossroads GPS super PAC didn’t deliver the White House to Mitt Romney.
Yet even though Romney was beaten by perhaps the most diverse electorate ever, and even through the GOP has been paying great lip service toward reaching out to minorities, none of that has stopped Rove from running a recent ad that shows President Obama as the black man who wants to raise everyone’s taxes, against a backdrop of white people with oppressed looks upon their faces.
That kind of imagery plays to racial resentment in much the same way that Taitz and the Tea Party does – by making it seem as if some undeserving black person is taking something, like their taxes, away from them and giving it to other undeserving minorities.
It’s the kind of imagery that feeds cries of “We Want Our Country Back,” as if a giant UFO, and not a majority of voters, descended on the country on Election Day in 2008 and 2012 and installed Obama as Supreme Ruler.
It’s no question that Taitz is a joke. But when you look at the number of death threats against Obama, the rise in extremist groups, and the willingness of some in the GOP to use racial codes to appeal to supporters, her activities and the activities of others who have found a calling in conspiracies and fear mongering are no laughing matter.
Hopefully no one will wind up dead or hurt because of it.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.