The greatest benefit (and yes at times greatest curse) of social networks and social media is that it is often times a venue of unchecked opinions and unbridled passions that in the physical realms of the real-world would likely be muted if not outright withheld.
The reason for this is quite simple in that has pointed out in numerous articles on the use of e-mail, people are less inclined to be contentious or say something confrontational when physically standing in front of the person or persons towards whom their commentary is directed.
Again this may not be a bad thing in that the first reaction that manifests itself in a posted comment is usually reflective of the true feelings of the individual, or what can be considered a socially unedited expression of one’s belief that under normal circumstances could or would remain private.
Emboldened by a somewhat removed involvement in the expression of their opinions these individuals think nothing of shooting from the hip. This leads to the kind of postings in which a picture of the President carrying a book that he is purportedly reading is viewed as being an act of sedition.
Of course the big problem is that similar to the propagation of the Kony 2012 video, misinformation of this nature (that is fueled by prejudices and ignorance) can take on a life of it’s own at which point, as Aldous Huxley lamented, truth can and often does get lost in a sea of irrelevance.
The book in question is titled The Post-American World by Indian American journalist Fareed Zakaria. While I will let you check out the book at your own convenience, the one thing that I will say with certainty is that it is hardly a text that will as those sounding an alarm contend, “curdle your blood and curl your hair.”
With such inflammatory gibberish, the people prompting their Facebook connections to share this misinformation far and wide as means of exposing “Obama’s radical ideas and his intent to bring down our beloved America!” should themselves take a long hard look in the mirror as it they who are doing the greatest damage to the country they profess to love and want to protect.
As I would write in one comment stream, the Obama book controversy highlights the problem in America and the fact that Americans are their own worst enemies. Or to put it another way, our enemies need not do anything but sit back and let America implode within the swill of its own prejudices and misdirected ignorance.
Of course the above indictment I would like to believe does not apply to the majority of Americans who, by largely remaining silent surrender the spotlight to those who are the most vociferous and dangerous. The old saying about evil prospering or prevailing when good men (and women) do nothing immediately comes to mind here.
Occasionally, but not nearly enough, the contributions from this latter group breaks through the obfuscating dreck of the few to provide moments of meaningful perspective that both enlighten and empower.
For example, not long after the “Obama picture” as we will call it was posted, a picture of the great Martin Luther King Jr. was shared that was ironically accompanied by the following quote . . . “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
In stark contrast to the empty calorie nonsense associated with the fear mongering surrounding the accusations regarding the books the President reads, my great respect for King is that not only did he speak up, he did so from a position of knowledge and true understanding.
It should be noted that the individual who posted the Obama image ultimately blocked myself as well as others who challenged respectfully I might add, the veracity of her accusations that the President was plotting to overthrow America in favor of a Muslim platform.
Again the irony of this action is plainly evident because in her attempt to champion freedom she has by her censorship, demonstrated the very qualities of the fascist mindset against which she purports to be fighting.
Let us all hope and pray that we, and I am talking about each and everyone one of us, take heed of the King warning and end our silence regarding hateful ignorance and prejudices by challenging one another to become truly informed and empowered to intelligently debate our differences.