I received email titled “John McCain’s Sons” recently that created quite a stir. This particular email told the beautiful story of John McCain visiting a woman he’d met during the New Hampshire Primary. At the end was a quote, supposedly by Obama, who by the way was referred to as Barack Hussein Obama, apparently an effort by the author to tarnish his name.

This was my response to the persons who, thanks to the people who don’t think to remove headers before forwarding, had started this particular chain.

—————————

I thought it appropriate to thank you for a heart-warming story and point out an apparent hypocrisy in the message. 

This statement – “I chose to share this with those who I believe will pass it on, to others who will pass it on. We hear so much inflated trash out there” encapsulates exactly what is wrong with both the political process and the willingness of the masses to spread disinformation as if it were truth. The email ended with the following quote from Barack Obama’s book (and I noticed that the author added his middle name to further tie him to his Muslim roots “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” 

This is a classic case of taking something out of context to smear another who’s ideas don’t match those of the original author.  It shows how willing people are to denounce others, mostly I suppose out of fear of change or upsetting the status quo. 

However there is another reason I am sending this note to you. You see, I passed it on as well. And I received an interesting response.  

It’s a nice story about McCain.  The Obama quote has been taken completely out of context. Allow me to clarify.

Obama was referencing alarmist American racism and bigotry expressed by naturalized Arab and Pakistani American citizens immediately following 9/11, not standing with one group or the other in general. In fairness, here is the complete passage that actually reveals Obama’s smart, level headed intent. The actual quote from the book is from page 261 and is as follows:

“Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

————————————- 

I am always the person who debunks email, if I even bother to do more than hit the delete key. Its things like this that make me hate chain emails…because frankly most of it is false.  So I went and bought the book.  It was not an easy decision, as I generally do not agree with the Obama’s platform. 

I should note that, having lost a son in Iraq, this story touched me deeply, and I let my emotions overcome my desire to be certain that whatever I pass on, that it be factual and not a misrepresentation. But there it was…in black and white. 

Interesting that we use those two colors for contrasting, and yet it is so appropriate, especially in this case. What saddens me most is that the author took a truly incredible story of Senator McCain and used it for such a filthy purpose.  Those who are so warped as to do anything to further their cause, including using the grief of someone who lost a loved one in the war on terrorism to blatantly tell a lie… 

Well, I find that reprehensible, uncalled for and flat out disgusting.

I wish for once that people would see these chain emails for what they are…mostly lies meant to manipulate the thoughts and actions of thousands of people. 

There was a time when a Catholic becoming president was considered the most heinous of concepts. It was generally accepted that black people weren’t as smart as white people, and that they should be treated no better than cattle.  Going farther back, it was a proven fact that the world was flat and the universe revolved around the earth, and that bleeding a person was the right way to cure someone’s ills.

At least in the latter it was true, to some extent. It often killed the ill, thereby relieving them of the pain and suffering of their illness.

And that is the effect of these nonsensical kernels of “wisdom”, these emails full of half-truths, misconceptions and out right lies.  They only sow the seeds of dissension instead of bring about intelligent discourse. 

We live in a country that, like the Greeks long before us, brought a new way of life and of living to the rest of the world.  It’s stupid little chain mails like this and the willingness of the masses to believe them without prejudice that is contributing to the unraveling of our marvelous tapestry we call the United States of America.  A tapestry sewn with the blood, sweat and tears of every race, every nationality, every religious faith on this planet.  Yet we would so easily destroy this incredibly resilient fabric because we have forgotten that someone like Barack Obama is living the dream that is America. That anyone can rise up and become President of the United States.

It saddens me to realize how right PT Barnum was when he coined this classic – “There’s a sucker born every minute”

 Nowadays they spread the chain mail virus