Inventing Better Idiots

Next to political commercials the thing I hate most about an election year is the preposterous e-mails you receive.  Consider exhibit A (found in my inbox this morning):

Hot on the heels of his explanation for why he no longer wears a flag pin, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was forced to explain why he doesn’t follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171,

During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

‘As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides,’ Obama said. ‘There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.’

This obvious spoof (see Snopes’ explanation) is still circulated as truth.

Because some people are gullible and believe everything they read, it gains wide-spread acceptance.  In fact, I had a reasonably well-informed person share with me recently that he had heard (and apparently believed) Obama is the “Anti-christ.”

This kind of foolishness helps nothing.  Fallacious arguments, fabrications, and ad hominem attacks weaken your position, no matter how right or good. Unfortunately, as long as there are people, there will be this kind of idiocy.  It reminds me of a quote, “Every time they make something idiot proof, someone goes and invents a better idiot.”

The times we live in call for critical thinking and discerning minds. Especially among followers of Christ.

One final note, this example happened to be about Obama, but it works both ways.  (Interestingly, the top two “Hottest Urban Legends” on Snopes are Obama and Sarah Palin.)  Either way, it’s foolishness.

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6 thoughts on “Inventing Better Idiots

  1. I have come to the opinion that people that are predisposed to a certain ideology or candidate soak up this kind of rhetoric and believe it to be factual. Being undecided this year has given me a whole new perspective on both of the candidates.. I can see their stong and weak points and can spot the flaky rhetoric in emails and campaign ads from both parties.

    The church videos coming out now on Palin are reminiscent of the Jeremiah Wright videos.. these videos are being made public to paint her as a religious kook.. much in the way that the Wright videos tried to paint Obama as an America hater.

    Sad that these tactics work with so many sincere but ignorant Christians.. our discernment should be better.

  2. So let me get this straight. You mean Obama is NOT a closet Muslim who hates America, may be the anti-Christ and is techinically unqualified to be a candidate due to birth issues, and Joe Biden isn’t really going to fake an aneurysm and step down in favor of Hillary later this week?

    Man, you’re just taking all the fun right out of this campaign. 😉

  3. Shane, thanks for the link.

    KB, good point. Sometimes folks believe what they want to think is true.

    Gordon, the way I heard it, Biden wasn’t going to fake it. He had a real one planned. 😦

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