A few years ago, anybody who spoke disparagingly of the president of the United States was immediately labeled a traitor and accused of coddling the terrorists with a back rub.
Not any more. Hammering, slamming, and pounding the president these days has once again become a cottage industry. A competitive blood sport. You're even allowed to call him a terrorist citing his refusal to answer the key question: "When did you stop being a Muslim?"
This is not just about the new poll that reveals one-fifth of the American public believes President Obama is an adherent of Islam -- a larger percentage than when he was elected. It is obvious why this is thus. These people are idiots. Stone-crazed loons with the jellied brains of people who enjoy sticking immersion blenders up their nose and will claim with their dying breath that professional wrestling is legitimate.
I'm also talking about so-called Christian leaders who authoritatively state that his Muslimness has been passed genetically down from his father, and let's not forget the rabid, right-wing talk-show hosts who publicly hope for him to fail and privately encourage listeners to send him homemade mayonnaise that's been left on the roof of an Iowan county fair cattle barn for the weekend.
Other folks hedge their bets by admitting he may be a Christian, but question whether it's the right strain of Christianity. According to these self-sainted experts, there are two kinds of Christians: those who believe the exact same thing that they do, and those doomed to spend all of eternity burning in the unquenchable fires of hell. Bless their little hearts.
Then there are the Apostles of Greed, a subversive segment that uses religion as a financial cudgel; characterizing anyone a godless communist who speaks about Jesus' mandate to first see to the needs of the least fortunate of us. And a godless communist is much worse than a Muslim any day. Except around Ground Zero, where it's not.
On the other hand, the good news is, these very same people, convinced that he's a Muslim, do believe he's black. Not just black, but really, really black. Scary black. BLACK black. Clenched right fist raised high in the sky, wearing shades and a bow tie black.
Makes Malcolm X look like a lovable Scottish imp.
Another misconception, since Obama has always taken pains to play down race to where it's barely visible with a molecular microscope. Besides, we all know he's only half-black. And that, too is so America.
"Yeah, yeah, we're evolved enough to elect an African-American president, but first, I don't know, why don't we try out ... a half-black guy. You know, like a Starter Negro. A hybrid. It's not a marathon, it's a sprint. Tortoise beats the hare. Baby steps. We'll work our way up to Ving Rhames."
Of course, you know who plays Barack in the movie. Tom Hanks. Just like Sara Lee; nobody doesn't like Tom Hanks.
So, let us recap: yes, he's black, but no, he's not a Muslim. And while you're at it, quit it with the born-in-Kenya thing, would you? It's getting old. He was born in Hawaii. In a manger. We all know that. And then visited by the three Haoles. Who presented him with gold, frankincense and poi. It's so frustrating when people get their facts wrong.
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comedian who writes sometimes. This being questionably an example. He has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.