My fellow Americans,
As you no doubt have heard, I released my long form birth certificate today. To celebrate the momentous occasion of proving for once and for all that I am a true-blooded American, Lady T contacted me and asked if I would mind writing a guest post for her blog. She thought my way of handling Tea Party trolls was much different from her method of handling the trolls on her blog, and wanted a second opinion to give her readers. “I want to begin a bipartisan conversation about troll management,” she wrote.
Well, as all of you know, “bipartisan” is my favorite word in the English language. (My favorite word used to be a tie between “hope” and “change,” but “bipartisan” sounds more official and appropriate for my office.) Honored by this request, I decided to take time out of my busy schedule to advise her readers.
My troll management method consists of three steps and is based on the following philosophy: “If you consistently reason with unreasonable people, they will eventually become reasonable, too.”
Step 1. If a troll makes an unfounded accusation, politely tell the troll he is wrong.
When Lady T received a comment from an anonymous troll calling her a “fucking slut,” she wrote a column poking holes into his argument and mocking him for being an illogical coward. I admit that I laughed out loud while reading this post and even considered Tweeting it to my followers, but I changed my mind because I thought it would be irresponsible of me. Mockery gets you nowhere when you are a public figure, especially when you are the leader of the free world. When the Tea Party originally accused me of not being born in the United States, I told the public this accusation was incorrect. You should all follow this example. If a troll accuses you of something, just politely deny it, because he will eventually stop.
Step 2. If a troll demands something of you, ask him nicely to stop and gently change the subject.
Of course, the trolls don’t always stop. Lady T’s second troll commented on a movie review and demanded that he make her a sandwich. In response, Lady T featured him on another post, again poking holes into his argument and pointing out errors in capitalization. I’m a stickler for grammar as much as the next Democratic president, but this response was foolhardy. If you’re in the public figure like I am, you need to handle these situations more deftly. When the Tea Party asked me to show my birth certificate to prove my citizenship, I simply tried changing the subject to talk about more important issues. This will work, and eventually your trolls will stop.
Step 3. If the troll persists in making unreasonable demands, give in to said demands to prove you are the bigger person.
Of course, sometimes the trolls still don’t stop. In this case, the Tea Party continued to demand that I show my birth certificate. Today, I did such a thing, and emphasized the silliness of this whole affair.
Knowing Lady T as I do, she likely would have taken a different tactic. If she were in a similar situation, she would have doctored an obviously phony birth certificate listing her parents as Genghis Khan and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her birth date as October 32, 2081, and her birthplace as Planet Alderaan.
However, one must remember that Lady T will likely never be in this situation, even if she were to run for public office. She is a white woman, and no Tea Partier would accuse her of being a Kenyan immigrant. Because she is a pro-choice feminist, the Tea Party would likely accuse her of having twenty abortions and using the dead fetuses to power her home as she ran bisexual bestial Satan-worshiping orgies, but they would still accuse her of having twenty abortions and using the dead fetuses to power her home as she ran bisexual bestial Satan-worshiping orgies after being born and raised in the United States.
My situation is different, and therefore, I needed to take a different approach. I posted my birth certificate, thus ending the need for debate. I even took an assertive stand and told the crowd, “I have got better stuff to do.”
(I know, right? Zing!)
Of course, some of my critics still seem to have a problem with what I did.
Some of them say that the gesture was futile, because reasonable people never doubted my American citizenship and the unreasonable people will only insist that this birth certificate is fake.
Some of them say that I indulged the Tea Partiers like a parent indulges a whiny, belligerent child who begs and begs and begs to stay up past his bedtime, and keeps asking and asking and asking until the parent gives in, saying, “But next time, when I give a bedtime, I really mean it,” and the child only learns that he will eventually get what he wants as long as he is consistent and persistent with his whining. They think I should have said, “This accusation is ridiculous and I refuse to discuss this further,” and left it alone after that.
Some of them even say that I have inadvertently promoted a birther culture and a culture of racial profiling, where state legislatures are introducing bills that would allow police to stop people in the street and ask for proof of citizenship – because if even the President of the United States caves to the demands of racists, what’s to stop the birthers from enacting these measures against ordinary citizens?
I have heard these criticisms, I have listened to them, and I respectfully degree.
See, I mentioned before how my favorite word is “bipartisanship,” right? Well, to paraphrase the classic romantic drama, Love Story, “Bipartisanship means never having to listen to people who supported you from the beginning.” In order to be truly bipartisan, it is necessary to pander to those who disagree with you and resort to personal attacks. Eventually, the American public will see you as the bigger person, and you will win in the end.
I can’t subscribe to the idea that reasoning with unreasonable people is a futile gesture. I still believe in hope and change. These Tea Partiers will eventually change, come around, and vote for me as long as I continue to make concessions.
And as for those of you who voted for me in 2008 and accuse me of “bipartisaning myself” into losing my base…well, let’s be honest. Who else are you going to vote for in 2012?
You all have a good evening.
President Barack “Who-ssein?” Obama