It’s not a particularly stunning insight, but I don’t recall seeing it elsewhere on the Internet, so I thought I’d throw out a theory of mine.

It seems like a lot of people are baffled by the legs that the Muslim Obama rumor has, and so we see a lot of talk about neuroscience and racism and GOP mind control and so on. I, however, have always assumed that people believe the rumor when they hear it because they’re confusing Obama with Keith Ellison. Both of them are Democratic* African-American members of Congress from the Midwest who first took their seats during the second Bush term (Obama in 2004, and Ellison in 2006). Ellison, however, actually is Muslim, actually did use a Koran** during his swearing-in ceremony, and the right wing media had a cow about it. It would not surprise me if many people, upon being told that Obama is a Muslim, have a vague memory of the Ellison controversy (some black Congressman a couple years back or something) and assume that Obama’s Muslimness was something they already knew about.

*Ellison actually belongs to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which I think is awesome. It sounds like a poorly translated Maoist group.

**He used Jefferson’s Koran. I also think this is awesome.

Originally published on LiveJournal