Sometimes it astonishes me how blindly people will accept something as the truth, no matter how ridiculous it appears on the surface. I don’t mean to single out any particular group, but conservatives seem especially guilty of doing this. They are letting pure emotion override rationality, and it’s awfully disturbing, especially when the truth is literally a ten-second mouse click away.
This morning, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a post from a former coworker who is staunchly right wing. She has been posting drivel for weeks now, complaining about how the government is going to take away her guns (not true) and comparing Obama to Hitler (an assertion so ridiculous it’s infuriating). Today, she posted a link – as fact – declaring that political commentator James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager and a prominent champion of the Democratic Party, had made a speech in which he insulted his political base, calling Democrats dumb, lazy, and easily manipulated, and labeling them “a herd of cows.”
Now, wait a second. Does anybody honestly believe James Carville – a key figurehead in the Democratic party – would say something like that?
Apparently, they do. And they repost that garbage as fact, without taking the time or effort to see if it’s – oh, you know – actually true. I guess the devil’s in the details, right? This bothers me to no end. It’s leading to a society of followers (NOW who is part of that herd mentality?) too lazy to do a little bit of research, content instead to be spoon-fed lies.
I almost unfriended this person on general principle, but it’s much more fun calling her out and posting rebuttals with links to Snopes.com. I’ll admit, I get off on Snopesing people! (I also get off on turning nouns into verbs). If you’re ever wondering whether something is true or an urban legend, Snopes it. The truth is out there, folks. And it ain’t hard to find. I told this person, “If something smells like bullshit, it probably is.” The scary thing is, she probably didn’t think it smelled like bullshit at all, but whatever.
It’s not just this one person, either. I’ve seen a lot of people fret about having to give up their guns. Do they think the government is going to come into their homes and confiscate their legally-purchased pistols and rifles? How paranoid are they? Bitch all you want about 2nd Amendment rights, Mr. Obama is not proposing we intrude upon those. He wants more extensive background checks and would like a ban on assault weapons, two positions that just reek of common sense. If Thomas Jefferson et. al. could have foreseen the proliferation of AK47s and Glocks, I bet they would have worded things a little differently, anyway. And on a similar note, who says those Constitutional amendments are carved in stone and untouchable, anyway? Times (and mores) change. We didn’t have a problem repealing Prohibition or deciding that women should be allowed to vote, did we?
And if I hear “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” one more time, I am going to scream. Guns kill people every day. That is an unassailable truth, regardless of whether it takes a person to squeeze the trigger or not. Guns make the job a whole lot easier. Did you know that on the same day as the Newtown killing spree, a man in China walked into an elementary school and attacked twenty-two children? Fortunately, not a single one died. And do you know why those kids were spared? The attacker used a knife. Because gun laws in China make it very difficult to obtain a gun. I know that you can’t completely prevent a person from getting his or her hands on a gun – there’s always going to be a black market for weapons – but you can take steps to make it a lot more difficult. If stricter laws spare the life of just a single child, they are worth it.
(I’m not anti-gun, either. The proof is in my own words, right here. I had a blast shooting at tin cans in the high desert. But I sure as hell wasn’t using an assault weapon to do so).
Oh, and by the way, guess who supported a ban on assault weapons in 1994? Conservative hero Ronald Reagan. So it’s not a Democrats vs. Republicans issue, but a common sense one. Or it should be, anyway.
I just want the paranoia to end, and people to do a little research before they post outright lies as fact. Because an informed citizen is a smart one.