1. Admit the problem. Birtherism has in fact done significant damage to the United States and our national interests, and to our character and moral fibre, from the beginning in 2008.
2. Recognize that it has done significant harm to the Republican Party as an institution, not just to Obama and the Democratic Party. Because we only have two parties that control essentially all political power in the United States and have established themselves in a semi-official role in a “two-party system,” this is a problem that impacts every American and weakens our country.
3. The price of paranoia accumulates over time. It morphs in ways that we cannot rationally predict. It prays not just on prejudice, but also to an extent on the lack of education, taking advantage of people who are vulnerable through no serious fault of their own.
4. Disagreements based on bizarre and untenable conspiracy theories are a diversion from our ability to properly respect each other and discuss/debate substantive issues, solve policy problems and do the business of self-governance.
5. Americans of both parties and none will have to “grow up” enough to be willing to voluntarily re-build guardrails for democratic competition that “re-norm” truthfulness and erring on the side of caution when it comes to the amplitude of vitriol in the “permanent campaign” between Republicans and Democrats, as well as related ideological contests.