Saturday, July 26, 2008

Annoying FALSE Political Chain Emails

Back in November, I wrote in this blog (here) about how annoying chain emails can be. They are often forwarded over and over, and you can get the same one several times from multiple people. Sometimes the message plays on your fears – for example, if you don’t forward the email something bad could happen to you. Sometimes the message is spreading false rumors.

It’s the latter that is becoming a problem during this highly charged political season. Today, I receive an email from two separate senders that stating the following:

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.”

It took me a matter of seconds to verify that this whole story is FALSE. I repeat: FALSE. It's a hoax. It stems from a piece of political satire published by John Semmens for the Arizona Conservative in October 2007. Yet, months later, people are still trotting out this piece of false garbage in an attempt to smear Obama.

Frankly, I now perceive the people who forwarded me this email as uneducated, lazy idiots who probably don’t even have enough brains to be responsible to vote. Yet, sadly, they do vote, and they probably make their choices based on this kind of false information. Aside from responding to them to set the record straight, I am not sure what else can be done to stop this behavior on a wider scale. But it does need to be stopped. It’s easy to drop acquaintances off your list of contacts when they send emails like this, but it’s almost impossible to cut off a family member if that’s who has sent the email. (It wasn’t a family member in this case.)

All I can do us strongly suggest – especially to those Republicans and/or bigots out there (they can be mutually exclusive) – that to avoid looking like complete idiots, do your homework and check out those chain emails before you send them on. Why? Because while one may be looking to make a political candidate look stupid, it’s the person sending the email that looks like the dummy.

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