I think that one of my most important guidelines in this birther business is not to take myself too seriously. I put on a cowboy hat and call myself “Dr.” and it’s a bit like an adult version of a child game of “pretend” where I become a journalist or a lay expert on something or another. (The birthers play dress-up too, as forensic document examiners, legal experts, grand juries and saviors of freedom. The difference is that some of them take themselves far too seriously.)
It’s good for retired folks like me to have an intellectually stimulating hobby. It provides an opportunity to learn new things, provides a topic for conversation at parties, lets me meet really neat people, and gives me an environment to try out ideas and approaches to dealing with controversy.
One of the areas where my ability gets stretched is in the ethical domain. Certainly the free speech vs. community wellbeing issue is always at the forefront here on the blog. Banning and moderating comments is a difficult judgment with no perfect solution that I’ve found. Another ethical challenge is in the area of “helping the birthers.”
I believe that the birthers are wrong, and I think what they are doing is harmful, and I don’t want birther activity to succeed. One the other hand, birthers are people. When the Orly Taitz web site was down for several days, I felt her pain and considered sending her an email offering to help get it back up, since I know a lot about WordPress blogs. I decided against that for several reasons and from what I know now, I probably couldn’t have helped anyway. There are things I could show Orly to make her web site better, not only for the birthers but for me and the non-birthers who also go there. I don’t think she cares, so I think I’ll keep those suggestions to myself.
I sent birther attorney Van Irion a case citation once on something he needed to prove. He wrote back saying he already knew it (I have my doubts). Now I am confronted with another situation where I have a citation that I believe might help some unspecified birther out of an unspecified tight spot.
I think the ethical answer comes in the introductory principle in this article, not to take myself too seriously. In my 62 years, I have found three great spiritual insights that I will share with you below, and note that the second seems to apply to the current situation
- “Life is difficult” (Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled)
- Some things are my problem, and some are not
- It’s not about me anyway