Last evening, I received a chain email from a friend. It was the one that accused President Obama of dissing the troops and saying that they are whiners and should pay for their own health care. I copied about a sentence of it and googled it. Politifact popped up and debunked the email as a ridiculous lie.
Explain to me hour people are normally reasonable can look at something that is so obviously false and just believe it. Worse, they pass it on to their friends and colleagues as factual information.
There are many issues with which the opposition could respectfully disagree with the Obama Administration, some of which I disagree with as well. Opponents might make telling points on his handling of the economy, the debt, foreign policy and social programs. While many pundits endeavor to form legitimate, logical attacks on these issues, many find this too difficult and ineffective. So, they make stuff up. They use radical forms or rhetoric and argument. They pull many different cards from the deck including race, Hitler, communism, socialism, Christian Muslim, birther and many more.
In this current climate, the Truth has a Liberal Bias. The political right understands this but couches it in terms that their constituency will more effectively understand. Terms that describe the mainstream media as having a liberal bias like Lamestream Media. They create villains like Rachel Maddow. She’s gay, liberal, single, outspoken, and sarcastic at times. That is why that it is obvious that she is bad but they never seem to argue effectively that she is wrong. The reason for this is that she and other effective commentators like Jon Stewart are so effective at allowing the right to state their case in their own words, in context and on camera. We all understand the moral of The Emperor’s New Clothes but the political right wants us to believe that the child who points out the Emperor’s lack of textiles is the villain who should be scorned for pointing out the obvious.
Our great freedoms in this country give us the right to have any opinion that we want and the further freedom to stand in the square and shout it at the top of our lungs. Our citizenship, though assigns us the responsibility to make sure that those opinions are based on rational facts and that the serve the needs of our country and her citizens and not self-serving and designed to disdain our opponents. Obama campaign aide Robert Gibbs said it most effectively on ABC’s “This Week”, “I think it’s time in our politics that we get rid of this mindset that if we disagree, we have to disqualify each other”
If you receive an email that has questionable veracity, highlight about 10 words and google it. You will quickly receive a number of links that either support the fact or debunk the lie. Quickly respond to the sender and appeal to reason and right and ask the sender to withdraw or qualify the message. It probably won’t happen but at least you did the right thing. For yourself. For your friend. For your country.