Barack Obama, for all his flaws, isn't barred from being president because of a circumstance of birth.
He's the son of a U.S. citizen mother and, whether born in Hawaii, Kenya or a manger in Bethlehem, is constitutionally qualified to hold this office.
I didn't vote for him. And I disagree with him, which puts me at odds right now with more than half the population. But he's my president for the next 3 1/2 years.
So I wish the people who insist on pursuing this issue (led by the fearless Philip Berg, Esq.) would cease and desist. As Ann Coulter noted a few weeks ago in a column that caused her to be burned in blogosphere effigy, there are a lot of things to criticize about President Obama and his liberal minions, so focusing on a marginal matter does nothing more than allow left-wing critics to paint conservatives as inhabitants of what one local journalist called "Bizarro Nation."
But liberals don't really need an excuse to paint conservatives as refugees from the asylum for religious fanatics, racists, domestic terrorists and presidential assassins.
Take Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The Senate majority leader recently described protesters at town hall meetings as "evil mongers." He and fellow traveler Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seem to believe that people who ask legitimate if impassioned questions about the health-care monolith the administration wants to unload on the public are horrible human beings. (The human part is probably negotiable.)
San Fran Nan did her bit to defame the many Americans who don't agree with her agenda when she called the tea party demonstrations "Astroturf" - when it's more like a grass-roots groundswell of anger and frustration against the stimulus.
The House speaker maligned people who are doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights.
Yes, some clearly stepped over the line throwing around words like "Nazi" and carrying posters of Obama with a teeny mustache. But while the MSNBC squawkers would love everyone to believe that the deranged few represent all town hall participants, they should be reminded of all those who spent eight years also likening President Bush to Hitler and Saddam Hussein. (Just check out the archives in the dank, smelly recesses of Daily Kos, Huffington Post and MoveOn.)
So it's quite convenient when a few radical nonentities start screaming at the top of their lungs because it gives the Reids and the Pelosis and the Barney Franks carte blanche to sniff at the very legitimate criticism of health care reform with a sneering "what do you expect from their kind?"
IF YOU HAVE an "us vs. them" view of the world, don't be surprised when your political opponents have one, too. Remember the unguarded moment when candidate Obama, in front of a friendly Frisco crowd, talked about the "bitter" people clinging to their guns and religion?
Speaking of guns, a man appeared at a recent town hall in Phoenix with an assault rifle on his shoulder.
It probably wasn't the savviest move, given the political climate. It's also intimidating, in bad taste and completely irrelevant to the health care debate. But it was completely legal, since Arizona has an open carry law.
Of course, those who think the Second Amendment is just a suggestion and not a constitutional right were appalled at this development.
And the hysteria was only fed when Howard Dean, he of the coyote wail, said, "The Republicans, they have no interest in this bill. They're using the 1994 playbook. Let's kill the bill and kill the president."
Dean was ostensibly attacking the congressional GOP, not the average Joe or Josie who shows up at the town halls. But the implication was unmistakable: If you're a conservative, there's blood in your eye.
"Progressives" like Dean like to demonize legitimate opponents of this administration's clearly debatable policies by calling them "evil" and homicidal, verging on being assassins.
Add that to the fact we're stupid or, as one person called me in a recent e-mail, "retarded," and you have a perfect example of why Obama's biggest problem isn't where he was born.
It's where he and some of his political allies are going.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer.