Saturday, May 26, 2012

Myth conceptions

52% of Republicans in Mississippi believe Obama is a Muslim1.  I suppose it would be meaningless to ask why that would be a big deal.  66% of those likely voters polled don't 'believe' in evolution. 
At least 3% of Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens. If a lot of them live in the south, perhaps that explains some of this bizarre thinking! Silly aliens, what will they have us believing next?
One of those Obama conspiracy theorists is a distant uncle of mine who recently sent me an E-mail purportedly proving that Muslim claim (and other very nasty things) based on erroneous excerpts from Obama's books. 
I have so many questions about people who circulate such things on the web. I have no question about the individuals or organizations that author them in the first place - they are clearly motivated by political ambition. But my uncle and others, why would they send ugly, libelous rants to their friends without taking even a minute to check on their veracity? I would never circulate some made up story abut Mitt Romney, let's say, about being a member of the Ku Klux Klan, unless I absolutely knew it to be true from a very reliable source. It took me just an instant visit to the non partisan site to find out all of the statements were false. I forwarded that info to my uncle, yet I have not seen him issue an apology or correction to his recipient list.
btw, I hope nobody extracts any partial sentences from this blog to forward some horrible rumor around the internet! 
Calling certain media outlets 'liberal' is one way to keep people ignorant; convince them not to read or listen to certain things to keep them from seeing an opposing point of view, or in most cases - what's really going on in the world.
The voters should get real, get smart, get sensible. If Obama really was some sort of Manchurian evildoer, wouldn't he have somehow already done more damage than ensuring that my daughter can get health care for her preexisting condition?
The sad situation is that we can convince some of the people of anything because they are not disciplined in their thinking. Their lives are faith based instead of fact based, so they often put their trust in preachers, politicians and leaders who want very different things than what would help them lead better lives.
Why is it that we tolerate such a huge amount of misinformation and deception? Is it the old 'end justifies the means'? Are these people so totally convinced that Obama is harming this country, that they think any tactic to sway opinions is OK?
It's sad and dangerous when people misconstrue and make up things like death panels, and non existent tax increases. We are living in different realities. 
Clearly we need more fact checking. Perhaps the push for that can come from some of us. More indignation, more pointing out fabrications, more requests for some semblance of truth and oversight in our political advertising (like we have for consumer products)., Fact, ... we ought to have them on the top of our browsers. Let's have less 'Pants on Fire' comments, or at least more debunking after the un-fact.
Here are a few facts worth circulating:
Government spending has risen at its slowest rate under Obama than in the past 60 years.2 Some of us would consider that a mistake in a sluggish economy.
The average number of private sector jobs created under Democratic administrations is twice the average number created under Republican administrations. 3
Since World War II the average increase in the national debt has been almost twice as much under Republican administrations than under the Democrats, accelerating first during the Reagan administration, and then ballooning under Bush (the charts are truly dramatic). 4
Ironic isn't it, that voters who want the same thing - a fiscally responsible administration, are voting for different parties? Facts are often different from the accepted reality.
All lies are not equal, some politicians lie more than others and some lies are bigger than others. Some say one thing but do another. It might be nice if we all just voted for the most honest (factually correct) candidate. At least we would have some trust again.

Here's a sad statistic that should concern people from any political persuasion:
for the second year there have been more soldiers committing suicide than were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan5. Especially on this Memorial Day weekend we can agree this is a horrible situation that we should try to alleviate, even if it means (gasp) spending some tax dollars.

1 March 10, 2012 Public Policy Poll
2 Nutting May 22, 2012 Market Watch, Wall Street Journal
3 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Series ID CES0500000001
4 Project America "US Federal debt change by President"
5 widely reported including Center for New American Security