The point of departure for this essay is the amicus brief filed by the Alabama Democratic Party in the McInnish case. What struck me about that brief (and has struck me before in other defense arguments in birther cases) was it’s direct, non-nonsense style. It was addressed to other lawyers and judges, to normal, well-educated citizens. Here’s a sample:
In order to accept the claim that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, one has to buy into a conspiracy theory so vast and byzantine that it sincerely taxes the imagination of reasonable minds.
This is very different from much of what I write, because I bear in mind that my readers include normal, well-educated citizens, but also birthers.
That quotation preceding means nothing to a birther. There are some things that you simply cannot say to birthers without receiving well-worn rejoinders, nonsense, but predictable. It might be said that I over qualify, and over document the obvious and I might be guilty of what one of my bosses said never to do: negotiate against myself.
Certainly things like “you’ve lost 200 cases already,” “no competent scholar agrees with you” or “your evidence is not admissible and your experts are not qualified,” while damning observations to normal folks, are essentially meaningless to birthers. To be a birther at this late date requires the acquisition of immunity from rational objections.
For me, the takeaway is that I am better off reconciling myself to the fact that birthers do not think like I do, and that nothing I say is going to have any impact on what they say or do. I should talk to the normals and let the birthers take care of themselves. This is in line with the third great life insight I discovered1: some things are my problem and some are not. Your being a birther is not my problem.
1The other two are:
- Life is difficult (from Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled).
- It’s not about me.