Since President Obama first stepped foot on the campaign trail, a constant swarm of conspiracies followed his every step. Obama's detractors have fabricated a lengthy list of myths involving the President, and most of them refuse to go away. Here, I'm going to attack these myths and conspiracies head-on in an effort to disprove them for anyone who finds this article.
I came up with the idea to do this while researching myths for another article I wrote recently, regarding the "birther" conspiracies. A few friends and Viners said that I should write a follow-up article regarding general Obama myths, and underestimating the time it would take to construct the article, I set out on my quest, if you will. But the list of myths surrounding the President is never-ending, and seems to grow every week. Realizing this, I made a conscious decision to not include some of the lesser-known myths. If this article grows popular enough, and enough requests are made to do a follow-up, I'll publish a "sequel" in the future to cover the myths I excluded. If you know of some myths worth disproving in a future article, please let me know!
Myth I - Obama is not a natural-born citizen/ is not eligible to be President: I recently published a Newsvine article that disproves eleven distinct "birther" myths, so please see that article for anything birther-related. The other article can be found here: http://matt-rock.newsvine.com/_news/2009/07/29/3088895-debunking-birther-myths
Myth II - President Obama has raised taxes, or plans to raise taxes: False, unless you're well-off financially. In fact, he's already reduced taxes for most of us, fulfilling a campaign promise in the process. This is a myth that you can easily disprove yourself, too. If you earn less than $250k per year, as most of us do, simply break out a pay stub from your last paycheck, and compare it to one from a year ago. See the extra money? That's from the Obama tax cut, which took effect in April. Obama's detractors use a cigarette tax as proof that he's raising taxes on the poor, because more poor people smoke. This increase has nothing to do with taxing the poor... it's an effort to reduce the number of smokers in the country, which would in turn lower the costs involved with the healthcare propositions on the table, saving money in the long run.
Myth III - President Obama wants to euthanize senior citizens: The myth that the healthcare bill will end with euthanasia is completely false. Like most myths, something simple (and in this case, positive) has been distorted to mean something sinister. This myth stems from a provision in the bill that would extend Medicare coverage for "end-of-life" consultations, which offers options to terminally-ill senior patients every five years. These consultations would be completely optional, and would take place between a patient and a doctor, and not a government official with some hidden agenda. No one would be obligated in any way to seek a consultation, and no one would be forced to sign a living will that signs over assets to the government, as some have speculated. Here's the actual provision in the bill, courtesy of politico.com, in PDF format: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM130_section_1233.html
Myth IV - President Obama is a racist: This myth is rather bizarre, based largely on the charges of "reverse-racism" that have been made by conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and it is definitively unfounded. Obama is half-white and half-black. His white mother, grandparents, and other family members played substantial roles in his upbringing. To suggest that President Obama is racist against white people is to say that he's racist against himself, his family, and the majority of the White House Staff. Even after Glenn Beck declared Obama was a racist on Fox News recently, he retracted his comment 75 seconds later, and other Fox pundits argued with him as soon as he made the statement.
Myth V - President Obama is a Muslim, or is a "secret Muslim": First, there is no substantial evidence whatsoever that President Obama is, or has ever been, a Muslim. He is a lifelong Christian. His father was once a Muslim, and later became an Aethiest. Secondly, the United States was founded on a Freedom of Religion. Even if he were a Muslim, this would in no way disqualify him for the office. Thirdly, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and detest the actions of the few Muslim radicals who adopt terrorism for their cause. To suggest that all or even most Muslims are radical extremists or that they are all involved with terrorism is highly offensive to persons of Islamic faith. A fourth and final fact: You can't claim that President Obama is a Muslim, and then criticize him for attending Reverend Wright's church. One negates the other.
Myth VI - President Obama was sworn into office on the Quran: Actually, the Bible used for President Obama's oath was the same bible used by Abraham Lincoln. This myth is completely unfounded with no supporting evidence.
Myth VII - Obama's campaign was funded by Hugo Chavez/ by foreign financiers: False. Obama's campaign was paid for by small donations from millions of Americans. While it may be possible that foreigners contributed to the campaign financially, none contributed enough to be considered any more serious than the American citizens who donated. There is no evidence whatsoever that major campaign contributions were made by Hugo Chavez, either.
Myth VIII - The President plans to dismantle right-wing radio and television: Yet another completely unfounded myth. The rumor is that the White House plans to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's Fairness Doctrine. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim, and no one has brought the doctrine up other than the conspiracy theorists who are pushing the myth.
Myth IX - The President wanted (or currently wants) US Soldiers to pledge their allegiance to him: Another myth with no evidence of any kind. This myth plays on the conservative scare-tactic plan, attempting to prove that President Obama wants to expand the government into an ultimate state of control. something that is a little difficult to achieve when the myth has no evidence to support it! At no time has the President or any member of his staff suggested such a measure.
Myth X - President Obama wants or plans to settle Palestinian refugees in the United States This myth is -- wait for it! -- false. It stems from a United Nations request, issued to all UN member nations, for emergency funds to aid the citizens of Gaza. The United States gave just over $20 million for the humanitarian efforts. The White House has not made any efforts whatsoever to take in any number of Palestinian refugees, and President Obama is certainly not the first President to sign off on sending humanitarian aid to other nations. Republican presidents, including Reagan and Bush, have also sent aid in the past.
Myth XI - The President is a "Liberal Extremist": President Obama is a centrist President. he has made countless efforts to reach bi-partisanship on any number of issues, and has already made more of these efforts than Bush did in his full eight years as President. If President Obama were a liberal extremist, he would be pushing for true universal healthcare, a full repeal of the second amendment, a more dramatic environmental policy, and far more restrictive regulations for the private sector. Liberal extremists tend to disagree with most of the President's philosophies, and probably dislike those policies more than most conservatives, though for vastly different reasons.
Myth XII - The President wants to "take your guns away": President Obama supports the re-institution of the nation's ban on assault rifles, which lapsed during Bush's presidency, and generally supports strengthening gun laws in the country. This is a far cry from wanting to repeal the second amendment. There is no evidence whatsoever that he plans to do this, or that he even wants to.
Myth XIII - Obama is the "Antichrist": This myth is rather difficult to debunk, as the Antichrist is a religious figure founded in ones beliefs. To disprove that Obama is the antichrist would require me to disprove the existence of god. Having said that, conspiracy theorists and religious fundamentalists have attempted to tie almost every famous person you can think of to being the Antichrist, including every single US President, numerous religious figures (even Popes), and more celebrities that I could name in this article. If you think the evidence against Obama is compelling, you should note that equally-compelling arguments have been made for every other President. Regardless, there in no evidence to support this idea, other than broad speculation and manufactured links. And yes, I'm aware that I made this Myth #13. Please don't read into that, conspiracy people!
Myth XIV - Obama is a Socialist: Yet another myth that can be disproven rather easily. Proponents of this myth claim that Obama's "take-over" of the banks and auto industry are clear indicators that he is a socialist. These people seem to forget that George W. Bush issued bailouts before the election, let alone the start of Obama's Presidency. Also, companies who received bail-out funds are fully expected to repay the money issued to them. We, as a nation, retain partial ownership as shareholders only until these debts are repaid. They also claim that Obama is pushing for universal healthcare (otherwise known as "socialized medicine"), but no such movements have been made, even though the vast majority of Americans actually want universal healthcare, according to polls. There are many Americans (myself included) who feel that the President's healthcare plan isn't radical enough and doesn't move us far enough in the right direction. To make a long story short, President Obama doesn't display any clear indications that he is a true or even partial socialist.
Myth XV - Obama is a fascist: This myth belongs to the "scare tactic" catalog of conservative efforts to discredit the President. It was largely born from concepts put forward by right-wing author Jonah Goldberg in his historical revisionist book regarding liberal fascism. This is nothing more than hate speech aimed at scaring people away from the President and his policies. I think the staff at Salon.com said it best: "Bush-era torture, surveillance and aggressive warfare do not meet the standard for fascism, but bailing out a bankrupt car company apparently does."
Myth XVI - President Obama wants to connect brothels in Las Vegas with Disneyland via a magical levitating train: Possibly the most comical myth, this one is also unfounded and not true. "Maglev" (magnetic levitation) technology isn't fictional... it's real. have you ever been on the "Superman" amusement park ride? That ride uses Maglev technology, and it can easily be applied to mass transit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made suggestions in the past of boosting tourism by connecting southern Californians to Las Vegas via a maglev train. However, the stimulus bill does not contain appropriations for this project, and at no time has anyone suggested brothels or Disneyland as potential stops, other than conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin. Here's another fun fact for proponents of this myth: Prostitution is actually illegal in Las Vegas, contrary to popular belief, though it is legal in the rest of Nevada.
Myth XVII - President Obama targeted Republican-owned Chrysler dealerships and shut them down: The decision to close certain Chrysler dealerships was not made by President Obama, or any other government official. It was made by Chrysler. A proportionate number of Democrat-owned dealerships were also shut down by the company. Republicans were in no way targeted by anyone.
Myth XVIII - President Obama cannot or will not speak without a teleprompter, and answers questions using a teleprompter: False. President Obama has delivered speeches on numerous occasions without using a teleprompter, and there is no proof other than speculation that he uses one while answering questions. Like most public speakers, President Obama often attempts to make direct eye-contact with the person who asked the question, which makes the use of a teleprompter physically impossible.
Myth XIX - Michelle Obama was Pregnant early in the Spring, and had an Abortion: Arguably one of the most offensive myths, this one is also untrue. Issued via a short-lived chain email in April, the myth alleges that Michelle Obama was pregnant for the first few months of the Obama Presidency, but had an abortion in the spring or early summer. This myth was aided by rumors circulating through the tabloids that Mrs. Obama might be pregnant, though these rumors were based on a few images that showed what looked like a "baby bump." These images conflicted dramatically with other images that clearly indicated that she could not possibly be pregnant. I included this myth to show what some of the crazier, smaller myths were that I decided to exclude.
Myth XX - The President wants to create an "Obama Youth," similar to the Hitler Youth: Like the other nineteen myths listed in this article, this one is not true. This myth is born from a bill that proposes the development of a commission to study mandatory civil service and volunteerism. The commission will not have the power to indoctrinate our youth or even set a law regarding national service. Instead, it would study mandatory service and both its positive and negative effects on participants, as well as the nation as a whole. Proponents of the commission support it because such a mandate could possibly have dramatic positive effects on the nation, including crime reductions, stronger work ethics, and the countless benefits toward those groups that would have larger volunteer pools. Contrary to what conservative pundits tell us, the commission is NOT designed to "control" or "enslave" the American populace, and drawing that conclusion is nothing shy of a brutal scare tactic... as most myths are.
I don't expect this article to put all of these myths to bed, but if even one or two conspiracy theorists find my article and end up convinced that these rumors aren't true, I'll feel that I've done my best. If anyone feels that I didn't adequately disprove a rumor, or if you know of other rumors worthy of debunking in a future article, please don't hesitate to let me know!