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Have you heard the latest one about President Barack Obama? It's not a joke, really. It's also, not really new, either. A small, but vocal group has been repeating it as long as it appeared Obama was on his way to becoming President. I'm referring to the claims being made by the so-called "birthers" who have managed to convince themselves that the President is not a "natural born citizen." It's a ridiculous claim. It's just as ridiculous as believing that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the government. Both claims are disprovable. Both claims have been refuted, and yet somehow, some way, they persist among clusters of people more attracted by the idea of a conspiracy than by the truth. For those of you who may not be familiar with the "birthers" claims, it goes something like this: Obama's biological father was Kenyan. Obama's Kenyan grandmother was quoted as saying she was present during his birth in Kenya. Birthers then like to recite a section of the Constitution that reads, "No Person except a natural born Citizen ... shall be eligible to the Office of President ..." The fact is this, however. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. His birth certificate is on record in that state because that is, in fact, where he was born. Nevertheless, the birthers insist that this birth certificate is a fake, a forgery. Of course, that wouldn't explain why public officials in Hawaii would have had a reason to create such a forgery, nor does it explain why two separate Hawaiian newspapers included birth announcements for Barack Obama at the time of his birth. As someone who works for a newspaper, I feel confident in saying the effort it would take to recreate and alter pages from decades ago would not be worth the time or the effort it would take. It makes a lot more sense to me to accept that the Hawaiian newspapers included the announcement of Obama's birth in Hawaii because he was born in Hawaii. But that's not the only argument against the birthers, although it's certainly the strongest. Being a natural born citizen does not require an individual to be born on American soil. I mentioned earlier that Obama's father was Kenyan. What the birthers ignore is that Obama's mother was born in Kansas. She was an American citizen her entire life. That alone is sufficient for Obama to be a natural born citizen. The idea that children of Americans are Americans, too, is almost as old as the United States itself. In 1790, Congress acknowledged that the children of American parents were also Americans, even if they were born overseas. Five years later, Congress reinforced this in the Naturalization Act of 1795. That document reads that foreign-born children of American parents would be considered American citizens. It would seem that the founders of this country understood that there would be times when Americans may be traveling or living abroad. Inevitably, some of those Americans would be pregnant women, and inevitably, some of them would give birth somewhere outside of the United States. That said, the children of Americans are themselves Americans. In fact, John McCain, Obama's Republican opponent in the 2008 Presidential election, was born in Panama. However, I don't think anyone disputes that McCain himself is a citizen of the United States. The bottom line is this. Obama is the President, legally and legitimately. He was born in Hawaii to an American mother and a Kenyan father. The birthers may not like that Obama won the election, and I suspect many of them do not support some of the policies he has enacted in that role. But in America, people are allowed to believe whatever they want, even if it has no basis in reality. As for me, I prefer to live in the real world rather than looking for conspiracies all the time. I hope for the birthers' sake, they learn to do the same.