I’m actually writing this a couple of days before December 25. Two things are in my mind right now. One is the recent article by Orly Taitz saying that the US government is hopelessly corrupt and suggesting that Arizona should hold a secession referendum. The other is a December, 1961, quotation from Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International: “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
Here in the northern hemisphere December is the darkest month of the year. We celebrate light with candles and lighted trees. Many towns feature a Festival of Lights. It is a time when we express our longing for the return of warmth and love and light at a time when it is most absent.
I’m thinking about offering the quote from Benenson to the birthers because it seems to me that they are consumed with cursing the darkness of their own world view. One of the reasons birthers have failed to achieve standing in their lawsuits is that they cannot show any specific injury to any of them. The federal courts have told the birthers that their grievance is tenuous, hypothetical and generalized. They are cursing what they perceive as the darkness in their lawsuits.
Have birthers lost their job? Are they losing their home to foreclosure? Have they lost their health insurance? That didn’t happen because Obama was elected. Birthers may be afraid and anxious, and they may be facing hard times, but demonizing the President and calling him a usurper or blaming the government is nothing more than cursing the darkness, and cursing the darkness doesn’t make it any less dark. I suggest that the birthers would be better served by helping their neighbors and working to improve the political process by running for office or contributing to candidates they believe in. If they are in business, hire someone rather than hoarding capital. Take a positive step to make the country better rather than complain.
For those who oppose birthers, I offer the Benenson quote as well. Light a candle rather than curse the birthers. Lighting the candle can be volunteering in a public school or adult literacy program. It can be getting involved in the political process as well. Work to address the alienation and anxiety that underlies the birther phenomenon. And I guess publishing a blog with good sources and reliable argument lights a candle too. Here at the darkest time of the year:
it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness