Rep. Bill Zedler's Birther Bill is So...2009

Putting his time to its best and highest use, for the benefit of his constituents in Arlington, state Representative Bill Zedler has written an essential piece of legislation; a bill of our times, for our times -- if our times were still, like, nearly four years ago.

Proving, we suppose, that nonsense non-issues, racist paranoia and naked posturing have no expiration date, Zedler's bringing "birther" back. With the emergence of the Tea Party and its various conspiracy theories, it became abundantly apparent that a man of the president's color, answering to a sufficiently foreign-sounding name that has a suspiciously skewed ratio of vowels to consonants, may not be an actual citizen. For a time, many otherwise establishment-style Republicans were forced to at least countenance the possibility, or at the very least to not disavow it, lest they be primary'ed by a candidate with even fewer scruples.

Birtherism never really went away, even after the president released his birth certificate. It smoldered, invisible, mercifully forgotten. Then along came our very own Zedler, like the dad who clumsily attempts to connect with his distant teen by confiding that he's really been getting into 30 Seconds to Mars lately. His latest puts the paddles to birtherism's clammy corpse, to remind us that the president handily elected to a second term still might not be an American, and let's go ahead and make sure that never happens again. The instrument: HR 650.

In this bill, the Texas Secretary of State will create an application in which presidential candidates seeking a spot on the ballot must confirm their "length of residence in the United States," affirm their "natural-born United States citizen status," authorize the secretary of state to "obtain a certified copy of the candidate's birth certificate."

Same goes for the vice president. This is the 30 Seconds to Mars of legislation, a vaguely desperate, passé "me too!"

There's already on online petition with more than 4,000 signatures demanding Zedler withdraw the bill.

The representative has a history of introducing frivolous legislation, often on dog-whistle issues like immigration crackdowns, abortion, religion and, most recently, a bill that would license strippers. Bill Zedler, ladies and gentlemen, tackling the thorniest issues of our time.

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Brantley Hargrove