Monday, October 29, 2012

Finding Out Your Friends Are From CrazyTown

One thing I love about Facebook is reconnecting with all the different friends from different periods in my life and the ability to keep in touch with them.  One thing I hate about Facebook is finding out that some of those friends think or believe things I wish they didn't think or believe.

Anybody who is my friend on Facebook knows very well that I am an Obama supporter.  I have many liberal friends and many conservative friends and some in between.  That's terrific.  I love that people have different opinions about what it take to make this country great, and I don't expect anyone to follow my beliefs nor do I fault anyone for having theirs.

Where I do take issue is when certain friends become very extreme in their beliefs or worse, when those beliefs are based on things that I feel are untrue.  And I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum who I think are way too overzealous.  I have one friend who day after day posts diatribe after diatribe criticizing the Republican party or Mitt Romney, and I tell you, it gets to be a little much, and frankly, I don't think it does much to help his credibility.  I realize I can stop viewing his posts, but every once in a while he posts something I feel is worth reading, but wading through a lot of his anti-Republican, anti-religion posts gets annoying at times.

Another friend from my mission, who I quite like, actually, recently posted on my wall the question, "Can you tell me [Cody] why Obama claims to be Christian when he mocks Christ and denies the Bible?"  My original post was simply about voting and how I thought it important to vote, whoever you wished to vote for.  I didn't even mention Obama.

I responded, "I don't know where you are getting that information, but that is blatantly false. I have never known Barack Obama to do either of those things."

My friend then sent me several videos "proving" that he did.  Never mind that her first exhibit was a video that took a bunch of speeches Obama has given and spliced them in a way that made him sound like he was saying things he never actually said, such as basically admitting he was a Muslim and wanted to destroy the country.  The video was so badly edited, I would have thought it laughable if my friend hadn't been so gullible to actually believe it.

She also sent several other videos from clearly biased sources taking things Barack Obama said out of context to portray him in a way that does not match who I believe him to be.  My friend accused Barack Obama of trying "to turn the USA into the United States of Islamic America just like he has with his homeland in Kenya."  

And I thought, "Oh, my gosh!  I read about people like this all the time, but they're always so abstract to me.  Never in a million years would I suspect that I am actually friends with somebody from CrazyTown."  But I am.

She really believes this stuff, and I know there are many out there who believe the same thing.  Look, if you don't like Barack Obama because of his policies, I can buy that, but when you base your opinion of him on stuff that simply seems based in lies, I have a hard time having an intellectual discussion with you.

I was also dismayed that some of my more liberal friends starting attacking my misguided friend.  I don't find that useful, either.

I replied to my friend, "I'm sorry; you are my friend and I love you dearly, but I think you are very misinformed about who Barack Obama is. Your first source is a video where someone has clearly taken things he said out of context and spliced them in a way to make it sound as though he said things he clearly never actually said. Whoever put that video together is being dishonest. The other videos are from biased sources that are creating a narrative that does not reflect who I believe Barack Obama to be. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, but the Barack Obama I know is an honorable man - not perfect, by any means, but certainly not the person these videos make him out to be. After all the years you've known me, do you think I'm such a bad judge of character that I would choose to vote for someone who was willfully and maliciously trying to harm the country I love?

"I think both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have good qualities, but in all honesty, I find Obama more trustworthy, and if you have a problem with that, I'm sorry. But I cannot agree with you that Obama is trying to create a United States of Islamic America or that he is not a citizen of this country. Those are not facts; that is misinformation."

To her credit, my friend removed all the videos she posted, but she did write me again a couple of days later to say this:

 Thank you, my dear friend.  I feel the same about you.  My intervening was certainly not based in bad intentions even if your friends seemed rather rude to me.  But that does not surprise me.  You know me well and we know each other well enough to know that we are good people.  

"But you see, my country [France] is in a state that might surprise you if you went back.  We know in Europe from these ideological Marxist and socialist ideas of communism that it makes us dependent on a government that controls our lives.  In only five months, the new governmental regime in France has created phenomenally damaging dangers.  I respect everyone's ideas, but when it endangers a country, I cannot agree.

"Truthfully, I do not like Obama for reasons that disturb me which I am able to discern for myself.  The information I know is a confirmation of what I feel.  These words permit me to know the character traits which cannot be mistaken.  I followed the presidential debates closely, and I am very disappointed for I love your country as well as mine.  But I do not agree with how Obama runs the country and even less that this election is not the honorable image of the American heartland.
 I can say it to you, but I do not like that he only lies and blemishes the image of your beloved country that I love as much as you do.  I do not feel patriotic at all, and I do not trust him.  I just wanted to raise the issue of his real identity [that he is a Muslim] because there are many that wonder what is behind the facade he claims.

"Sorry, I did not wish to offend anyone, but just wanted to clarify.  I am sure what is behind this man.  And it is sad he has used much negligence in the deaths of the four Americans murdered [in Libya], but hides what really happened using lies and deceit.  This is not normal.  The truth finally comes out.  It's true that ignoring the truth or refusing to listen to the truth can do much harm.

"I hope he is not reelected for the good of your country, but also the world.  Facts like this cannot be ignored.  [Cody], I do not trust him.  He and his partner, Joe Biden, do not show their concern for the good of the USA.  Their lighthearted attitudes on TV have greatly surprised a lot of us who live in France.  I fear that if Obama is reelected for another four-year term, you will follow in the footsteps of Europe, a very sad result that causes much suffering: the death of freedom and independence subject to the full power of the state.  We experienced the brunt of World War II with the occupation of Nazism, and we know what happened there.  Socialism leads to the failure of a country and submission leads to devastating and cruel occupation.

 "I think well of you and I wish you the best.  You are my friend, and I have great memories of your mission in France and those that you have met.  France and your country can only continue because of our freedom and independence.  We have a common history, and we are bound by it.  I pray that this regime does not lead to more like us as we are gradually losing our joy of being free.  I am enclosing what is a real [another video].  It makes me very sad.  I love you, my friend."

Okay, I get it.  Big government leads to enslavement and loss of freedom.  She thinks Barack Obama will lead to a more socialistic government.  Okay, I can buy that sentiment.  I certainly know there are many Americans who buy it.  But the video "evidence" she passed along is both biased and based in hyperbole and flat-out lies.

Be afraid of Obama if you want, but for heaven's sake, base your fear in real facts; not this fear-mongering extremist Tea-Party crap.  I just don't buy it.

Look, I thought George W. Bush was the worst president I've known in my lifetime (and that included Nixon), but I never once thought he was un-American or didn't have the country's best interest in his heart.  I disagreed with his methods (and think it Mitt Romney presidency will take us back to some of that), but I never thought he was out to intentionally destroy the country, nor do I feel that way about Mitt Romney (actually, my big complaint with Mitt is I really don't know what he stands for as it seems he just panders to whomever he happens to be talking to).

All this "Obama-wasn't-born-in-this-country-he's-a-Socialist-Muslim-bent-on-destroying-this-country BS is just that: BS - perpetrated by those who don't want him as their president.

I have friends who want to vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama because they think his economic policies will work better or because they want less government intrusion (although I find that ironic coming from a party that doesn't seem to mind intruding on whether my partner and I can get married or whether a woman has the right to make a choice about her own body, but whatever) or because they don't like Obama's healthcare plan or because they don't feel Obama's policies are working or because they feel his administration is spending too much, etc.  Fine.  I can respect all that.  But when you get your "facts" from CrazyTown, I start to have a problem.

I guess I was just surprised by this friend.  I thought she was smarter and less gullible.  I was also surprised to read on her Facebook page this rather telling joke:  

An Islamist gets into a taxi and as soon as he sits down, asks the driver to turn off the radio.

"I don't want to listen to this music. Our religion forbids it. At the time of our prophet this music didn't yet exist. This western music was made only for you infidels. "

The driver turns off the radio, stops the car, gets out and opens the back door.

The Islamist looks at him and asks, "Why did you stop?!"

The taxi driver responds, " Taxis didn't exist at the time of the prophet. So, get out now and wait for a camel!"

It surprises me because it betrays a racism I did not realize my friend possessed.  

When I look at her Facebook page, it reminds me of my overzealous liberal friend in that it contains diatribe after diatribe about Obama, and so much of it is so extreme, it's hard to take any of it seriously.  It almost seems based in irrational fear.  I don't care if she doesn't like Obama or his policies, but the lens with which she views Obama is so distorted, in my opinion, that it just makes her look a little crazy.  

I have another friend who is the same way, although I am not as surprised by her.  It seems par for the course.

She wrote about an article I posted on my Facebook page:

"Even if Romney had only paid 1% it still would have been more than Obama, a man I find to be the most racial and religiously biased president we have ever had. He and his wife are far more out of touch with the middle class than Romney. The evidence is at the gas pump and in the millions of tax dollars he has provided to companies that have gone bankrupt while their CEO's are paid big bonuses. While Romney has aided companies, institutions and governments to succeed financially.

"And don't even get me started on the Nazi like pogroms that have already started against whites, Christians, Mormons and obese people. (Really fat people are the biggest threat to national security?) Or the treaties Obama wants to sign with the UN that would take away our Constitutional rights, void the Bill of Rights and eventually make these United States part of a one world government. 

"I am sorry for the tirade, but not the stand that I take. I am finding more and more difficult to stay quiet while my liberal friends plaster their message of division and hate... of bias on my wall, and of them getting angry with me for pointing out the flaws and weakness in their arguments. Or saying that Conservatives are on the wrong side of history, from which it can be inferred that they are implying Conservatives are wrong and Liberals are right and that Conservatives have to change...mmm isn't that what Liberals are always shouting that Conservatives have no right to tell people what is right or wrong or to change, line up with Conservative beliefs? Yet it is alright for Liberals to say Conservatives must change, we be inclusive of all peoples and accept liberal values and lifestyles accept the Liberal view...

"I have formulated my political views by reading and watching numerous articles from mainstream media to conservatively biased networks. And copious amounts of research and reading of historical text and modern apologia. Can you say the same? When was the last time you read the Constitution? The Bill of Rights? Listened to the other side from their viewpoint and not the from the biased spin of some one who does not share their values? Did you know that statistics show that in many ways Republicans and Democrats are actually fighting for the same goals? It just the spin placed on the statistics that support the way they want to get to the end game? Some times if you state the question a little differently the supporting evidence supports both sides of the argument?"

I responded:

"Evidently, we see some things differently. Interesting how two people can have different perspectives on how they see the world. One of the things that makes this country so great is our freedom to be able to give voice to our thoughts. I appreciate yours. I don't agree with some of them, but I support your right to share them. Perhaps I will respond to them in a private message when I have time, but I have a long drive ahead of me right now, and, really, I doubt there is anything you could say to me or that I could say to you that would sway each other toward the other's point-of-view. Instead, I think it would lead to fruitless arguing and tension, and I am not interested in pursuing that vein of thought.
 "And, yes, I am well aware that Republicans and Democrats are often after the same things while they may disagree on the methods used to get there. I have said so before. I actually think as citizens of the United States, we have more in common than we have differences. I try to be well-rounded in the sources I use to get my news. The article in the original status is obviously biased toward the liberal side. I agree with that and said so, but unlike you, there are things in the article I agree with."

I'd probably be more prone to listen to her arguments if her Facebook page wasn't filled with incorrect information that has been verified by websites such as Snopes to be based on hoaxes.  Plus, this friend has always been both homophobic and racist, and we have rarely agreed on anything politically.  Why do I keep her around, you ask?  I like to surround myself with all viewpoints, even the crazy ones.  It keeps me well-rounded and helps me know what's out there.  Besides, flaws or not, she is still a friend.

For the record, I don't think either of these friends are stupid.  Misinformed, perhaps; but not stupid.

Anyway, that's my post for today.


Dean Scott said...

The most "interesting" post I've seen is a video that claims Obama created super storm Sandy to disrupt the election. One of my high school classmates actually believes the video.

I am close to taking a Facebook break.

Alison said...

Hah! Great post...
Hey, I just think Mitt is good looking, why not base it on that? :)

Gay LDS Actor said...


Gay LDS Actor said...

Exactly, Alison! lol

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I think this is part of why I haven't brought myself to become a presence on FaceBook. I go back and forth, but I don't think I could be as patient as you with willful racism and homophobia. I have to find ways to deal with the "fringe" members at church, and that takes a lot of my tolerance allowance. ;-)

Gay LDS Actor said...

Understandable, Julia. It does take a lot of patience.