The Other Side of the Conversation
How many of you get those right wing “viral emails” from family and friends who are politically uninformed, raise your hand.
That’s what I thought. Invariably, almost everyone has a coworker, uncle, mother-in-law, or ex-roommate who habitually blankets their entire contact list with these emails, usually about President Obama or the First Lady, with tales of secret college papers, birth certificate forgery, lavish White House redecorating, or some other horror du jour. They’ve gotten this email from someone they trust. This email is from a soldier, or someone who knew Barry in grade school. They’re doing it for our own good, they say. They just want us to know the real story, because if we knew, we’d change our minds and stop being a loony liberal.
And then, like the good, dutiful researchers we are, we look things up, and find sources, and debunk the email point by point, and hit “reply all,” and ask ourselves why we’ve just spent an hour and a half just to prove that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was not, in fact, funded by Hugo Chavez. Maybe whomever wrote that email in the first place had just that in mind… We’ll never respond again, we promise ourselves.
And then, a week later, there’s another one. Did you know that Barack Obama is on a secret speaking tour of muslim colleges around the world, apologizing for our freedoms, making fun of our wounded soldiers, and sending his and Michelle’s condolences on the loss of their beloved leader Osama Bin Laden? Well, it came from a trustworthy source, AND there’s photographic evidence.
As any of you who are my Facebook friends will know, I occasionally pop in at a local breakfast shop where a congregation of grumpy, outspoken conservative seniors gather every day to chat, and fuel up on eggs and hash browns and coffee. Each day it’s a slightly different assortment of mostly men, in mostly Carhartt jackets, and all in baseball caps with logos of heavy equipment manufacturers, or tackle shops, or flags. I sip my coffee, and get some work done, and when some memorable bit of conversation wafts over from the next table, I furiously type it down, and share it. It’s good to pay attention to those not normally in your circle of people, and this group fascinates me. Today, they were in rare form. And they actually have provided all of us who ask, “Why? Why does Uncle Jerry keep sending me this crap? What is he thinking?” with at least some kind of answer.
Welcome to the other side of the conversation. This is what your dad is doing before he clicks send. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Man 1: I got an email back from my niece about the one I sent her the other day – the one Obama’s college.
Man 2: The one that tells he didn’t go to that college he said he did?
Man 1: Yup. That’s the one. Turns out, she put it through the Snopes and found out it wasn’t true.
Man 2: There’s other ones, though.
Man 1: Yeah.
Man 3: Well, he smoked dope. Said so himself. They put in snippets of him reading the audio book he co-wrote with someone else… obviously. And it talked about him smoking dope in Hawaii, and doing cocaine, and nobody cares!
Man 2: Did you read the article about him disrespecting the troops? I sent it to my brothers kids. I send ‘em articles like that. They’re democrats – all of ‘em. And they won’t even read ‘em! They don’t care. They just throw ‘em out! True Story.
Man 3: I know it.
Man 2: You can tell he’s a communist, muslim, socialist dipshit, and they don’t believe it. I guess that’s what they want. They want to live in concentration camps.
Man 1: Well, he’s gonna dissolve the Constitution so there’s no Constitution any more. That’s what he wants.
Man 4: You know, the devil’s on this earth right now. That’s why everything’s corrupt. All God has to do is reveal him, and then… we got him! And that’s the truth.
Man 2: Well, I think he’s revealed him. But nobody cares.