Not so Polite Dinner Conversation – Tell them when they are wrong because they vote

If they can vote then they need to know the facts.

As many people do, I got a forwarded email from an older relative.  This wasn’t my “Uncle Jim” of recent internet meme, but from “Aunt Jane”.  This particular email was promulgating various lies and half-truths about how horrible stamps mentioning the Muslim holiday of Eid were, how Obama was responsible for it, and how “patriotic Americans” would refuse to have anything to do with such things. Snopes.com has of course done a good job at ripping such nonsense apart. As readers here will know, I’d prefer if there were no mentions of religious nonsense on stamps or anything else.  But if you want them, I’m not going to stop you from having Eid stamps, Hanukkah stamps, Christmas stamps or Flying Spaghetti Monster Pirates, Strippers and Beer Day stamps.

Many times before, I thought I should just let it slide, that they are old and won’t change, that why cause trouble for myself.  And, I have let it slide.  The one time I didn’t; well, I don’t hear from that relative, another aunt from the other side of the family, anymore after showing them that the email they forwarded was full of lies.  Never called auntie a liar, only told her she was passing along nonsense that wasn’t true.  It was a shame since she was the “cool” aunt, but I guess she couldn’t accept finding out what she believed wasn’t true. 

Bingo is it???

I kept up with keeping quiet, not rocking the boat, until I was recently pontificating on a forum where someone else had received crazy relative email.  I wrote that such things should never be ignored because these people vote.  And here I was doing just that thing myself because I wanted to give *my* family the excuse and give *myself* quiet family gatherings.  It was me being a hypocrite. That isn’t going to happen anymore. 

I’m going to read those emails from my relatives and tell “Uncle Jim” and “Aunt Jane” what’s wrong with those emails.  Because these people vote and affect *me* and others.  Allowing them the luxury of their nonsense helps no one. At one point I respected these people, they were older and knew more than I did.  I find it disrespectful in the extreme to content myself with saying “But they can’t learn. They’re old and are from a “different time”. They just can’t understand.”  That’s bullshit.  Old people aren’t dumb and only good for playing bingo.  They can learn and they can make a choice.  They can pay attention to the facts and make their decisions from them, not some lying screed built on greed and fear. 

Or they can choose not to, and then and only then I will have a good reason to have no respect for them at all.

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One response to “Not so Polite Dinner Conversation – Tell them when they are wrong because they vote

  1. Oh, people don’t like to be told that their favorite email subject is a hoax, a distortion or … a lie. They like to stroke themselves in their own mental masturbation, but correcting them is like giving them an unfriendly dry rub.

    “I like what this email says, so I am going to forward it to everyone in my contact list and make sure they read this amazing story. It’s absolutely true — it couldn’t possibly be false because it says exactly what I have always believed! They will forward it too all of their friends, too. Brian Williams had better watch out!”

    Of course, once you show the senders that they are perpetuating nonsense, they remove you from their urban legend/political misinformation mailing list. It is one way to combat spam. I wish that Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail would target such emails for review (with all the goodness of automated technology, of course) and bounce the email right back to the sender with links to sources with dissenting views or negating information. Why spend so much time eliminating Nigerians who just want to cut me in on their banking deals when

    However, Facebook has mostly supplanted email as the channel of choice for perpetuating ignorance. Of course, Facebook has no interest in stopping anything that might generate an ad click.

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