They say in politics, stupidity is not a handicap.
While a bit harsh, even to the occasional “potatoe” head who gets appointed or elected to a federal government position, when it comes to sending completely biased, nonsensical political emails, that statement certainly rings true.
The divide between the left and right has always been a fairly wide center, but somewhere along the line it has eroded into a Grade Canyon-type abyss. Every day on television, the radio, and the Internet we are hearing extremely harsh, noxious discourse.
The general public is now following suit in large numbers. For those that don’t think this is the case, just go to any message board or forum after any political online story and randomly read a few of the comments.
It doesn’t matter if the story is a fun one about top holiday recipes of US Senators or a heart-warming update on the recovery of former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords, a high percentage of comments will veer off topic and turn to ignorant statements about socialism or how President Obama is to blame for the country’s ills.
This is no more evident than in the ridiculous emails that continuously get sent to family and friends.
What compels intelligent people to send outrageously false propaganda? The goal of convincing someone to vote their way in the next election, apparently, offsets any embarrassment they may feel for sending such rubbish.
It worked for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth many years ago as they attacked John Kerry in his bid for the presidency, so I guess others feel it might be worth a shot. (Ironically, while the organization claims to seek out the truth, “swiftboating” became an official word meaning “an unfair or untrue political attack.”)
Despite that fact, people must feel it’s OK to spread obvious misinformation just as long as they get what they want because the number of ludicrous political emails continues to go up.
The one that claims Barack Obama is actually a member of Al Qaeda may be the best.
The viral email was first seen about four years ago as Obama was running against John McCain and it stated if elected he was going to help the terrorist network destroy America. To further try to make his or her point, the author “mistakenly” referred to the current president as Barack Osama throughout the message.
If it wasn’t so sad that people were actually forwarding blatant Manchurian Candidate plagiarism in the hopes of scaring a few votes the Republican’s way, it would be rather comical.
The latest attempt at attacking the president, and more so liberal members of the US government, is an account of how the welfare system is destroying the country. While there may be some sound, reasonable arguments behind abolishing or restructuring the system, it’s far from supported in this popular, yet foolish electronic mail.
In a comparison of two cities in completely different countries, Hiroshima is depicted as a sprawling hub of booming commerce and technology, while Detroit is nothing but a dying, decaying ghost town. The reason for this: the US welfare system.
Through a few photos – professional still shots of Hiroshima and amateur, grainy photos of Detroit – it concludes that the federal government has done much more damage here at home in the past 65 years than an Atomic Bomb did abroad so long ago.
The account is reminiscent of a late-night “info-mercial” that shows “before” and “after” photos in an attempt to get people to buy beauty products. The advertisements always have the person looking disheveled, haggard and sad in the first close-up, while the “after” depicts a happy, smiling consumer in a professionally air-brushed, soft-lit photo.
All pictures aside, the email completely fails to make a case as to why welfare is to blame – and it jumps a Grand Canyon-type abyss in assumptions and conclusions. Yet, like thousands of other politically asinine messages, it successfully continues to make its way around cyberspace to millions of inboxes across the country.
The simple reason – people put the goal of the message ahead of the message itself. While they are smart individuals, they opt to forward puerile, illogical emails to their friends and family members rather than doing the sensible thing, which is to send to the trash.
Stupidity may not be a handicap in politics, but when it comes to forwarding absurd political emails it certainly comes in handy.