Last week I got entangled in yet another nasty dispute with some members of an email group in which I participate.  The firebomb exploded when I began an on-line conversation with a link to a story about two constitutional lawyers who are representing several Chrysler auto dealers in the Washington D.C. district whose dealerships were taken from them in the dealer shutdowns.  Link to the story:

Ex Chrysler Dealers to Obama– Prove Who You Say You Are

There are approximately 30 participants in this email group, all of whom would describe themselves as political conservatives. Many of them you would know, and might even read their blogs on a regular basis. Most are highly respected bloggers whose work I admire tremendously.  Their talent challenges and inspires me.

Among them, a handful — less than a half dozen — have had over-the-top, irrational emotional reactions anytime one of us have brought up the topic of Obama’s background, no matter how oblique the mention of Obama’s constitutional eligibility to hold the office of president.

This little cabal of self-appointed topic masters wield a verbal sledgehammer whenever the subject has been broached, admonishing the “offender” with threats that they’ll “quit” the email group if the “birther” discussion continues.  Two others have left in protest over the “birther” issue, finding the topic beneath contempt and a threat to their self-exalted credibility as reputable bloggers. God forbid the “birther” issue taint their reputation, smearing them with the same pejorative they use on others who raise the question.

On this most recent occasion, the thread grew from my original email to a lengthy 36 replies, some of them off-topic, others chiming in with unresolved questions about Obama’s refusal to release his college records.

But the haranguers persisted.

Wrote commenter “X”:

OMFG.  This case, like ALL of the others, will be dismissed.

Who administers this list?  I thought we had agreed NO BIRTHER STORIES?

Also, I just filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failure to list Sasquatch as an Endangered Species.  Hey, it’s a lawsuit.  I filed it.  There must be something there!

Commenter “Y” responded:

I once again with “X”‘s sentiment on this ridiculous “issue.”

Discussing this stuff with a straight face — as if it’s legit — sort of defeats the purpose of the name of this group, doesn’t it?

I mean, come on…

First, no one ever agreed to “No Birther Stories”.  No one appointed them “Da Boss”, authorizing them to dictate what will and won’t be allowed as suitable topics for discussion.  We are equals among equals.  Ironically, these “conservative bloggers”  deride the Left for squelching free speech.

Finally, after some back and forthing among several of us, “Z”, one of the more cogent members who typically bases his comments with logic and common sense (as opposed to vitriol, insults and threats) settled the matter for the time being with a thoughtful and considered piece that, whether you agree or not, outlines the perils associated with attempts to take up the matter in defending the Constitution.  Commenter “Z” wrote:

Here’s the thing.

The “birther” business is a tar-baby.  The moment you engage it, you become stuck in it, and without any external traction, there you sit, flailing about frantically, while “de Tar-Baby, she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.” Those who oppose you need only remain mute.  They have plausibility and inertia on their side.  You get to look bad even if you’re right.

Yes, it’s suspicious that so much treasure and effort has been expended to keep it out of view, just like it’s suspicious that much treasure and effort has been expended to keep his transcripts and other hard historical documents out of view.

One problem is plausibility.  It is so plausible that “officials have reviewed” the documentation, that those supporting Doctor Utopia can simply assert that “anything that serious would already have been found.”  And how do you argue with that?  It simply isn’t plausible that those responsible for reviewing presidential eligibility would overlook something that critical.  It may in fact be that there isn’t anyone doing such reviews, but from a plausibility standpoint, that won’t matter.  It’s “the government” and they “have people” who “look after stuff like that.”  The omniscience of government — while a gross fiction — is nonetheless a plausibly established “fact.”  This, unhappily, is such an easy assertion that anyone who attempts to engage can simply be dismissed as “delusional” without hazard to reputation or risk to credibility on the part of the dismisser.

The other problem is simple inertia.  Government doesn’t have to cooperate with the petitions and complaints of citizens who wish to protest some state of affairs.  Government can simply stonewall in the courts on procedural grounds.

Any pursuit of the issue consumes cash and resources with no guarantee of success in any degree, while exposing the pursuer to as much ridicule and scorn as anyone wishes to serve, with very little risk to credibility or reputation to him who serves it.

[From a merits point of view, one would have to prove — having already overcome “standing” protocol — that Doctor Utopia’s mother didn’t fulfill the requirements of the citizenship laws as they stood in 1961 (i.e., that she had to have lived at least ten years in this country, and at least five of those after her 14th birthday) AND that he wasn’t born in this country.  Now if, in fact, she was under the age of eighteen, there would have been no way for her to meet that second condition.  (The “born in this country” loophole is only open due to a currently accepted misreading of the 14th Amendment.)  The “age of majority” argument is pretty much null, given the “five years after fourteen” requirement.]

And then, there’s the additional hurdle of “any accomplished fact is nine-tenths of the law.” Yes, it’s completely spurious, but you may trust that this assertion will be offered.

It is actually more likely that the reason for keeping his entire real history a secret has more to do with not wanting have his image tarnished with embarrassing stuff like lying about his nationality to take advantage of admission requirements, stuff like bad grades, a complete lack of any accomplishments, and whale-sized contradictions between what has been published as his life’s story and his actual life’s story.

None of that would cost him the presidency directly, but could rob him of several million kilowatts of admiration and adulation.  And that would surely cost him the election in 2012, and likely be enough to sink the Dem majority in 2010.

Me?  Hell, I hope the lawsuit gets some traction and turns up some hellishly embarrassing stuff:  outrageous lies, complete fabrications of his past, anything like that.  It would be a bonus if it turned up that he really doesn’t qualify as president.

The problem, really, is that whether he’s qualified doesn’t matter. Really.  The problem is that he is — and anyone could be — the Manchurian President.  It would be splendid if someone managed to knock down the communist house of cards before it could do any more grievous damage, but the machinery that put him there will still exist. Moreover, you have to appreciate that he’s not the one driving. Cutting the puppet’s strings leaves the puppeteer unharmed.  He just gets another puppet.

We have deeper, systemic problems, rot at all levels, and overturning this administration’s cart doesn’t solve that.

We have Marxist termites throughout the floor and walls of government, and no matter how successful we are at stopping this current figurehead, we have serious fumigation to do if our nation home is to survive.

I, personally, haven’t the energy or resources to take a swing at the tar-baby.  I also appreciate the stigma — even if unearned — that accompanies such an engagement.  I completely accept that Doctor Utopia has lied about his past, and find no compelling argument that this couldn’t include his birth, but there are bigger things afoot and too much else to do for me to go after that diversion.

I wish success for those who have the time and resources and the will to pursue it.  I secretly hope that they will prove me wrong and win bigger than we can imagine.  But that sentiment is something I will only voice here, just among us girls.

For now, I fear the biggest danger to our nation is that its essence is being indoctrinated away, and that a culture of easily programmed meme-bots is being raised up where once we had actual citizens.

The remedies for that are a different topic for another day.

Pax.

It makes sense.  It still doesn’t answer the question, but his response elevates the discussion to intelligent discourse.

I don’t think anyone should be able to use labels or pass judgment unless and until they can answer the main question:  Is Obama qualified under Article II, Section I of the Constitution? Is he a natural born citizen?

The others are bullies, no different than those at other sites that brook no dissent whatsoever.  “X” and “Y” impose their opinion, censor free speech, forbid the email group to discuss certain issues in a thoughtful, intellectual way.  One expects that from the Left.  What does it say about someone who refuses to consider a matter and slams anyone else who would?  Why so virulently opposed to considering the question and those who do?  Why not refrain from comment if they don’t want to engage?  Did they get a “phone call?”  Is there an underlying motivation that compels them to exhibit the same viciousness that characterizes the Left?  Is someone getting paid to discourage and disparage those who pursue the mystery of Obama’s past?

Now more than ever, the exchange of information and ideas must be free flowing and free from aspersion.  This squelching is not good.  If “X” and “Y” and their ilk are setting the agenda for what will and will NOT be discussed in this group or any other, and think they can get away with literally jumping in with their hair on fire to squelch legitimate questions and comment, and it is allowed to stand as an unwritten but implied rule, the whole purpose of this group needs to be rethought.  Especially this group, whose mission is to catalog media inconsistencies and rumors.

And finally, what does it say when two grown men quit — QUIT! — because they don’t like a certain topic being brought up?  One couldn’t be blamed for questioning their emotional maturity, or their propensity for differing opinions.

As I said previously, this is how bullies act.  And I don’t back down from bullies.  God knows, if we back down from them in an email group or a chatroom, what will we do when the BIG bullies come for us?

To hear commentary, opinion and debate about this issue from several of my radio show listeners, listen to the final half hour of this episode of The Andrea Shea King Show.