I was interested this morning to see a friend post a picture of a Facebook conversation in which someone posted one of those status updates that make the rounds. A brief statement followed by "if you have a whatever who means this to you please repost this as your status" type of update. The thing is, this update left out a lot of important information and was very misleading. Someone addressed this and provided sources to back up their numbers. Well, here...check it out for yourself. This was a great example of people forwarding or passing on misleading information without doing proper research. I saw it all the time during the election, and I Snopesed plenty and sent them right back. We are all misled occasionally (think of the recent rumor that John Roberts was retiring...if only), but to forward these things willy-nilly without bothering to check the veracity is...well, frankly, I think it's dishonest. Or at the very least, lazy.
I saw this early in the morning, and cut off my legs and call me Shorty, if one of my "friends" didn't post that exact bullshit as her status update a little bit later! Seeing as I had some valuable information at my disposal—how serendipitous!—I thought I would share the above picture, so I posted the link in a comment. The comment back from her was about the "useless and excess weaponry" remark. I commented back that that wasn't the pertinent part there (and added an LOL to show that I was not trying to be antagonistic). The next comment from her was a diatribe against welfare recipients, including "generations of sucking off the system, living the American Dream on someone elses labor. Healthcare, foodstamps, housing, kids on free breakfast and lunches, waived school fees...they have better benefits than the working people." Nice. I again pointed out that she was ignoring the pertinent part concerning the large increases in benefits for military personnel and their families that President Obama has called for in his 2011 budget, which is what her original update concerned.
This was again ignored in favor of a couple of more rants about those nasty welfare types. She wrapped it all up neat and tidy with this:
Beth, you and I won't agree on any part of Obama. I think he's a joke and the biggest mistake we've made. My hope through the next three years is that the dumbasses that voted this liberal ass into office go down with him.
For some reason, the entire thread got removed, apparently by Facebook. (Perhaps it was her strong language regarding welfare recipients?) When I tried to leave a further comment on her page, she had unfriended me.
This might come as a surprise to some of you, but I can be one persistent bitch when I want to be, especially when it comes to debate. I will prove my point. So I sent her a message on Facebook, and I think I'll go ahead and include the entire thing here:
I know I'm not going to convince you to not hate Obama; I wasn't even trying. However, I found it interesting that you were unable or unwilling to accept that your original update about the raise military members were getting left out an important part of the equation: the large increases in their benefits that our President built into the 2011 budget.
I defend your right to say whatever you want, but ignoring the facts in order to maintain your worldview doesn't change those facts or the numbers. The original post was misleading and left out important information. I merely supplied that information.
I even defend your right to call me a "dumbass" for voting him into office, along with 69,456,896 of my fellow Americans. However, hoping that all of us will "go down with him" seems more than a little mean-spirited to me, and considering what a large, tax-paying portion of the population we make up, it would probably have a significant impact on our country.
The percentage of our budget spent on military/defense is much larger than that spent on welfare and social programs. That's a fact.
I also find it interesting that you defriended me. Sorry that you can't handle an opposing viewpoint, especially one that was merely trying to tell the truth about a misleading piece of information.
I included a graph of the President's 2011 budget that showed the percentages allotted to various programs and agencies, and told her and her husband to take care.
I'm writing about this because I find it a fascinating phenomenon to see someone completely ignore the facts in order to maintain the status quo in their own mind. When the facts contradict what they have based their reality upon, they simply turn their heads away and use diversion tactics, changing the subject completely. I was also not antagonistic in any way, shape, or form. Although I can be very vocal in my criticism when I write about things here, this is my own forum and my own opinion. If I am debating with someone, I try to stay respectful, and I certainly don't resort to calling them a "dumbass." At least not to their face.
I merely recognized that her status update was incomplete and misleading, and provided information that told the rest of the story. Isn't it fascinating that she didn't want to hear it? I've written about cognitive dissonance before, and it seems to me that this "friend" is suffering from a big ol' stinking pile of cognitive dissonance. I've unfriended people on rare occasion, but only when they've gotten shitty with me, such as flat out saying, "You're wrong." I did nothing like that in this case, and I think it speaks volumes about this person that they simply didn't want to hear the truth. For shame.
Ah well, as another friend pointed out, I've made other, better friends here and on Facebook. Those who think logically, for example, and those who aren't so close-minded and blinded by their hatred of someone that they refuse to see the facts in front of their face. Oh, and those who have compassion for others and realize that just because they've got a nice house and great benefits and a pretty comfortable existence (Did I mention that I met this person on a cruise, and they've gone on at least a dozen of them? Yeah.), it doesn't mean that they can or should forget about those who are less fortunate and can't afford that nice house, or those great benefits, or can't afford to go visit family in another state, let alone go on multiple fucking cruises. To assume that every person who is on welfare is on it because they want to be, or that they are all a bunch of parasitic leeches, is an insult to those who are struggling.
Am I upset about this turn of events? Not in the least. I was disgusted by her refusal to acknowledge the truth, and even more disgusted by the hateful prejudice that she exhibited with her words. I just hope that my words will make her think. But I doubt it.
I'll let you know if I hear back from her...but I doubt that will happen, either.