I’ve been poking the bear again, and this time I found a particularly irrational, emotional, mean bear.
I dare say, the first time I started a conversation like this, it was with a very confused and frightened 13-year-old girl. She was all freaked out about politics and her parents, or someone, had her about convinced that the world would soon end. The person I spoke to this time was not as mature, though she kept reminding me of how old she was and actually called me a snot-nosed kid before it was over.
The world very well may end, but there’s no sense in worrying about it or being so freaked out that you destroy any happiness you might find until then.
This all started when I got an email in my box, attacking the current president and the stupid bus he rode in. Most of the time I don’t bother with these politics-related hate emails and just delete them, but this one was so negative and emotional I decided not to ‘just let it go’. Everyone has their opinion, but since I don’t follow politics, or the rumors that run amok on the internet, I have very few opinions, and ‘know’ even less.
That is not what I was trying to discuss with this person. I’m calling her ‘Sue’ for this.
I think it is very important to be responsible for what we send out over the internet,
If we can’t check our facts directly, [by being there] at least include what our sources were.
We used to discuss politics and other things going on in the world with our neighbors over the fence or with a couple of coworkers in the office.
Now we have the ability to reach thousands and even more people in a very short time. One person sends something to 10 people; they each forward it to 10 people and so on. It’s how computer viruses spread and how information, and misinformation is spread.
It is also how I got hold of this message. The heading was *Secret Service Buys Two New $1.1 Million Buses For Three-Day Trip…*
I don’t’ think it’s too much to ask people who want to spread what could be a rumor, to check and include sources.
In my reply, I said “Cite you’re sources, I don’t consider anything without sources.”
I hoped she would send me a link for more information, or even just a link saying what she just said. I know she isn’t the first person to worry over these buses.
Below, I left my replies just as I sent them. I am not including Sue’s messages for 2 reasons.
1. I don’t want to spread information without doing the research and finding reliable sources, and that is not the purpose of this writing.
2. I was hoping to show Sue how needlessly freaked out and upset people get over what is likely just rumor and help her or someone else find a way to calm down.
[At this time, I personally don’t think there is any such thing as a ‘reliable’ source, but it is important to consider both sides of any story.]
> ——– Original Message ——–
[summed up in my own words]
Sue compared the current president with other past presidents or political figures that she apparently didn’t like.
Sue used a lot of meaningless phrases like, “How stupid does he think we are?”
*Secret Service Buys Two New $1.1 Million Buses For Three-Day Trip…* was her headline. It sounds terrible and frivolous and would definitely cause emotion in the reader. That is what whomever wrote it first, wanted and what she obviously wanted, trying to convince others to believe like she does. [which seems very important to Sue]
She said the buses were made in Canada.
She went on to tear apart the president’s itinerary. I have no idea where she got it, and she never told me. Seems like it should be secret and the general public shouldn’t have access to such details [my opinion]. Again, whether that is truly what’s going on, I don’t know and she doesn’t either. That’s my whole point.
But she’s repeating it and reporting it as fact. So that makes her the bear. It’s bad enough to vote after only listening to one side, but to send information out on the internet as truth without sources, is just irresponsible.
What I thought was a simple reply to the first message follows:
> From: mia
> To: Sue
Before anyone should take this sort of stuff as truth, to start with, you would have to cite your sources. Please see my
blog entry : https://roadplug.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/obama/
It is way too easy to spread misinformation on the internet and get all upset over ‘nothing’.
“We see things not as they are, but as we are.”
Maybe I should have included more info, but I think in this case it wouldn’t have helped.
One of the “reply to all’s” replied first, made because i ‘accessed’ her email. I explained that i didn’t access her email. I applied to all when i replied and assured her that she would never hear from me again, as long as none of her contacts included her email in a forwarded message. From her angry reply, she didn’t seem to get how that works either.
Of course it wasn’t a completely innocent ‘reply to all’. I ‘replied to all’ to see what kind of irrational, negative emotion I could stir up in the small group and there is a huge nest of irrational, negative thought patterns rolling around politics.
A couple of days later, Sue wrote me a long message, even longer than the first, [but without pictures] reintegrating what she said in the first message. She called me wrong too. I made no statements to be wrong about. She could have said, “I have no sources. I don’t know where this came from.” or better yet “it came from John on XYZ news 69, the link follows . . .” But no, she just went on and on about the ruin of the country and how she’s paid thousands of dollars in taxes.
She also pointed out that I shouldn’t argue with her because she’s old and been voting forever. She said I needed to do the research. She missed the whole point of my first, short email. I don’t wanna research, I don’t care – I want her and other people who send out information like this to research the facts before they send out misinformation.
And besides, wasn’t asking her for her sources, part of doing research myself?
If i had I been inclined to look into her stand on the subject further, I would want to know where she got her information. [Below I included the research WITH SOURCES that I did when this conversation ended.
So I replied: