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Barlow Herget Commentary
Barlow Herget is a commentator and host on State Government Radio at Curtis Media. He has been a commentator on UNC public radio and an instructor in continuing education at Duke University. Herget was a Nieman Fellow ('70) at Harvard University, has worked for the Daily Press of Paragould, Ark., the Detroit Free Press, and the News & Observer of Raleigh. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times and numerous other publications. Contact him by email.
Willful ignorance abounds
Wednesday - 8/25/2010, 1:26pm EDT
There is a segment of the population that is determined to oppose the President no matter what he does. He certainly hasn't taken my good advice on every occasion, but he helped rescue the country from the 2008 panic and George Bush's disastrous, deficit ridden eight years. And there's the first national health care plan Mr. Obama pushed through when all about him gave up.
He has made two good selections for the U.S. Supreme Court including the first Hispanic justice.
He did as he promised and pulled out American combat troops from Iraq.
Detroit is making cars and profits again, thanks to Mr. Obama's faith in the American autoworker.
You can write your own lists of achievements and disappointments, but to twist Abraham Lincoln's phrase, Mr. Obama cannot please all of the people some of the time nor all the people all of the time, and there are some people he just can't please at all no matter what the time.
Every president has had passionate opponents and Mr. Obama is no different. But he has faced from before the beginning of his administration a segment of the population that refuses to consider him president. They do not accept facts. They tell the Big Lie over and over. And they are growing in number.
It began with the false accusation that Mr. Obama was not born in America, hence, ineligible to serve as President. When proof and his birth certificate were produced, the response from these "birthers" was that the documents were forged.
Another Big Lie is that Mr. Obama is a Muslim. He is a Christian, true and simple. Mr. Obama's defense, however, of New York City Muslims to build a new mosque has only fed this Big Lie. A recent survey finds that a rising number of Americans, 18 percent, now believe the lie.
Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh and FOX Television have encouraged these untruths. And they know better. But for those who don't know better, they choose to be willfully ignorant. They don't accept the truth and they won't believe the facts.
This is not a healthy development for our country. Thomas Jefferson believed democracy depended on an informed public and so it does.
It is fruitless to appeal to demagogues such as Mr. Limbaugh or Glenn Beck to enlighten or shame their misinformed, angry followers.
Mr. Obama will never win the trust or support of "birthers" and their ilk and he should quit trying. Rather, he should follow the course attributed to famed trial lawyer Percy Foreman who said of his critics, "I'm too busy pulling the load to worry about the horse flies biting at my ass."