The place where I come from is a bit unusual. It’s a place in the Pacific Northwest where you can still go out and stake your claim. Literally, thanks to the General Mining Act of 1872. Yes, 1872. As in 141 years ago. Yes, just seven years after the Civil War. Outdated much?
Some miners will stay up in the hills year-round, utterly alone, and living in shacks with no electricity. Every few months they drive their pickup trucks into town and load up on supplies. Then it’s right back into them thar hills.
As you might imagine, that kind of lifestyle combined the total lack of human socialization can make them a bit eccentric. I hope to experience something similar on my one-way mission to Mars. (I’ll use the 1872 law to stake a claim in the cargo bay and shoot anyone who trespasses under interstellar law.)
Meanwhile, I have a person in my life who acts a lot like this. Allow me to introduce Emily, our former landlady. She’s elderly and lives alone in the hills outside of town with her cats. And, like her distant miner counterparts, she’s a bit eccentric.
The first time we met was for a tour of the house. We were strangers to her and she did not know our political views. (The area is highly conservative.) She told us plenty of evils about Obama including the fact that he was building a secret army and was going to take over the United States. Unfortunately, based on the area, that sort of thing was not that unusual.
Other fun times would involve going in for a job interview and being asked if you believed in God. But I showed them! (But I digress. That’s another story.)
On another side note, I find it weird how often some people are willing to shove their radical opinions down the throats of people they’ve only just met. I certainly don’t roll like that. I prefer not to offend everyone I meet. Take some time, get to know them as a person, and then, you can always offend them later.
Anyway, Emily was a wonderful landlady and very sweet to us. And we looked out for her.
Meanwhile, her sharing of political opinions never stopped. She was offended when Obama bowed to “foreign dictators.” What about the fact that George W. Bush held hands and kissed the Saudi king on the lips? She wouldn’t hear of it. Au, but of course.
If you ever want to know what a person who gets their world information exclusively from FOX News looks like, I submit that Emily is a good example.
When it comes to understanding the world and formulating things like political opinions, there are two possible ways to go. Seek the truth or try something else.
What does it matter? Let’s say you are in a boat. Your companion is the maker of the boat. You notice that the boat is filling with water. The boat maker spends a lot of time and effort convincing you that the problem is the paint job. They have a vested self-interest in not being blamed for the problem. So you spend your time checking carefully into the paint. Meanwhile, the boat finishes filling up with water and you all drown and/or get eaten by the sharks.
The point is that if you truly care about doing what is right and making things better, only truth will suffice. Accept no substitutes.
My wife and I have since left the small town and moved to the big city, leaving Emily behind. Since then, no doubt because she wants to keep in touch, she has put us in her email distribution list.
Bring on the hate!
Now we get blasted almost daily with her political diatribes. Usually forwarded copies of the latest misantropes. (Heh. I just created a new word.) Everything that has ever gone wrong is clearly the fault of Obama, liberals and Bill Clinton. Period. End of worldview.
This week she sent over a crass conservative rewrite of a classic children’s tale The Little Red Hen. (I’ll be covering that in an upcoming post.)
I had to hear about Obama’s so-called “apology tour” again. (A lie picked up and perpetuated by the presidential campaign of historical footnote, Mitt Romney.)
Other goodies include: The Muslim Christmas stamp, Obama is not a Christian, Obama says America is not a Christian nation, Obama is an illegal alien, no one ever read Obamacare before passing it in the middle of the night, only two people in history had symbols (Obama and Hitler), Obama is a terrorist, Obama manufactured the shutdown, “In God We Trust” is going on the edge of coins, yada yada yada. I just scrolled through her emails and literally lifted these examples out. I ignored the other hateful shit like picking on fat women and likeminded offensive jokes.
The piece that prompted this post, however, is what arrived just the other day. It’s an image entitled “American Presidents in Uniform.”
The image is a mosaic of 11 pictures of recent presidents. Nine of them are tasteful images, in black and white, of presidents, in their younger days, wearing military uniforms. Also included are two color photographs. One of Bill Clinton in a band uniform and one of Barack Obama wearing some sort of Middle Easter attire including a turban.
Normally Emily just forwards shit she found and salivated over, but this time, for sprinkles on top, she wrote a few words of her own:
Kinda gives you a little tingle of pride, doesn’t it?! p
My wife and I are in a quandary of this. We want the hateful shit to stop but we don’t want to hurt her feelings. After knowing her for five years she still has no clue that we are among those that she’s continually insulted. I thought about offering some rebuttal information, known as “facts,” but she has no interest in truth and it wouldn’t go well. The boat would just sink.
So I thought I’d rebut here, just so it’s on the record.
First, regarding Obama and the “terrorist” outfit:
The Associated Press photograph portrays Obama wearing a white turban and a wraparound white robe presented to him by elders in Wajir, in northeastern Kenya. Obama’s estranged late father was Kenyan and Obama visited the country in 2006, attracting thousands of well-wishers.
Obama, in an interview with WOAI radio in San Antonio, Texas, said voters are “saddened when they see these kind of politics.”
“Everybody knows that whether it’s me or Senator Clinton or Bill Clinton that when you travel to other countries they ask you to try on traditional garb that you have been given as a gift,” he said. “The notion that the Clinton campaign would be trying to circulate this as a negative on the same day that Senator Clinton was giving a speech about how we repair our relationships around the world is sad.”
Second, I notice with more than passing interest that there’s no picture of George W. Bush as a cheerleader to compare and contrast with Bill Clinton’s band uniform. Or, perhaps, I could search up one of several images of George W. Bush flipping the bird. Perhaps make a little mosaic of my own? But what would be the point? What would it prove?
And, finally, the heart of the matter, the notion that military service is somehow the foundation of a good president.
In every presidential election since 1992, the candidate with the less distinguished military résumé has triumphed.
The article goes on to say:
Bill Clinton defeated war heroes George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole; National Guard pilot George W. Bush beat Vietnam veterans Al Gore and John Kerry; and Barack Obama was decisively elected over John McCain, who had displayed extraordinary valor during years of captivity as a Navy pilot in North Vietnam.
In 2012, we won’t have the chance to test this trend: For the first time in modern American history, neither major candidate for the presidency has any military experience.
It makes me sad that some people in this great country are more concerned with things like winning and ideologies than being concerned with actual truth. Only by seeking truth can we accomplish that which actually matters.