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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
When my grandson accused me of using a bad word I learned my son-in-law had told his son that “stupid” is a bad word. I quoted George Carlin to my son-in-law: “no such thing as bad words, bad thoughts, but no bad words.” He disagreed and we left it there though I have been thinking that the so called “bad word” could be an opening for discussion of why it was used; what was meant; might it be hurtful, etc.
I hadn’t seen Mike for a dozen years though we had been corresponding since college—first mail and phone and now mostly email. We were heading for his house from the airport when I, for some reason, said something like, “Birthers” are stupid. When I concluded my mini-rant there was silence from Mike and then he said, “My son and I have a word we use when a discussion should be stopped. We say “football”. Pause. “Football”.
I said no more at the time. Mike keeps his thoughts pretty close. Over the years I have asked for his political opinion and it has usually differed from mine though thoughtfully and not radically different which is why I had barged into the birther issue, I really hadn’t imagined he would believe someone could become President of the US without unquestionably having been born in the US. Before my visit ended I learned that he thought Obama was part of a conspiracy. That thought hadn’t occurred to me so I put my mind to it.
I’ve read enough Robert Ludlum to be able to imagine someone getting into the birth certificate files in Hawaii and inserting a forged document. It would probably be even easier to insert a birth announcement in the newspapers and to change the records in the hospital. I’m sure there are modern day G. Gordon Liddys around but who hired the person or persons to carry out the conspiracy and when was it initiated and why?
Why, I suppose is a quest for power. Someone or some group like Americans for an Americaner Way or My Way or the Highway wants to own a president. They see the speech Obama makes at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and think, this is a guy we could probably control and we could probably get him elected so they go to work...damn, that doesn’t work because Obama had already written his memoir loaded with information about his life that could be checked; unless the memoir was not quite true. In that case the power-seeking group does some fact checking and finds that he lied about his birthplace. They go to work to fix the problem.
It’s actually more difficult to figure out how Obama could have been born outside the United States since his mother was never out of the country until he was six years old.
Unlike my grandson I don’t have a father to sit me down and discuss my use of the word “stupid” so I’ve had to give it some thought on my own:
Thought one) assumptions are always dangerous. Tread softly.
Thought two) “Stupid” is not a word that should be applied to an individual or even a group of individuals. If done directly, it is sure to raise hackles. If done indirectly (behind the back), it is dishonest.
Thought three) I’ll try but there are times…