Every day my Facebook wall is bombarded with right wing talking points like this. For the most part I let them go by because there aren’t enough hours in the day to address even a fraction of them. This one, however, crossed a line for me. It’s not that it was filled with lies and hate – that’s not unusual. It wasn’t that it attempted to demonize some political enemy – nothing new there. It was, I think, the crude, raw vulgarity of it. It seemed to reset the bar at what is acceptable from the right-wing lie factory.
Let me get the debunking part out of the way first. The circumstances surrounding Ambassador Stevens’ death are unclear, but the preponderance of the evidence – not right-wing speculation, spin and lies – but real evidence suggests that Stevens was found by American-friendly Libyans unconscious but alive and rushed to the hospital where he died of smoke inhalation. The picture in the post is most definitely not of Stevens since it existed in 2009, three years before the Benghazi attack.
Fact checking. So what! The people who create these things and, to a lesser degree, those who pass them around don’t care about facts. There is no amount of information, evidence or debunking that will keep them from posting and reposting this stuff. What they truly care about is demonizing their enemies whom they see, not as Al Qaeda or militant Muslims, but as ordinary Americans who happen to have a political philosophy different from theirs. The purpose of these posts is to create enough shock, horror and outrage so that their political agenda – whatever it may be – might show a shift in the polls a couple of percentage points.
Folks, please, we’ve got to stop this. It is destroying the country – more than anything Al Qaeda might try, more than entitlements, wars, Obamacare or anything else. By demonizing our political leaders we polarize the electorate to the point that no real discussion of the truly important issues can happen. How can you possibly have an honest, substantive conversation with someone who supports Satan? How can you support a politician who is willing to compromise with someone who gets up every morning thinking of ways to destroy the country?
Maybe I’m overstating this; maybe not. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles published in foreign newspapers, and I’m seeing a consistent theme. America is broken, they say. Americans can’t govern themselves. It’s time for a post American world. It’s time for a new reserve currency. Foreign countries, especially China, have been looking at the quagmire in America and are thinking that this may be the time to move their substantial financial muscle and toss America from the top of the world order. If America can’t keep their own government open, how can it respond to the kind of seismic shifts that are happening in the rest of the world?
We are facing some very real problems at home and abroad, and we need to address them in a proactive manner. Spreading lies and misinformation and manufacturing outrage is not helping.