Friday, I was asked by a gentleman who stopped by the paper to place an anniversary announcement if events of the world ever got me down. I said, "no." But as I walked back upstairs, I knew that wasn't quite true. Yes, I am generally a happy person. I'm blessed in so many and wondrous ways, but there are things that get me down.
Last week, I received an e-mail, one that has apparently been circulating for a while, claiming President Obama wrote in his two books these statements:
"From Dreams of My Father: 'I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.'
"From Dreams of My Father: 'I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.'
"From Dreams of My Father: 'There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.'
"From Dreams of My Father: 'It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.'
"From Dreams of My Father: 'I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.'
"And FINALLY: the e-mail states, "the Most Damming one of ALL of them!!!
From Audacity of Hope: "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."
Any of those statements would be damning, if they were true. They are not. I've read both of Obama's books, and I knew right away the quotes were simple lies, and there was another dead giveaway a scoundrel was at work.
Obama's first book is titled "Dreams FROM My Father" not "Dreams of My Father." The liar couldn't even get the book title right.
Don't take my word for the origin of these quotes. Read the books yourself or go to www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/did_obama_write_that_he_would_stand.html
Really, it's not the content of the e-mail that's depressing. I'm a big boy, but I am amazed at the lengths some people will go to in order to slander someone they don't agree with — and the fertile ground this kind of garbage seems to find.
Some of us are ready to believe anything that validates our opinion. That this e-mail was forwarded to me, not as an example of the kind of lies out there, but with a "look, I told you so" note, is what gets to me.
This same tactic was used to slander Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA employee who was fired because of a doctored tape by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had to eat his words after firing Sherrod, and so did Benjamin Jealous, head of the NAACP.
Vilsack and Jealous and several networks have had to examine their vetting processes. Probably just what Breitbart had in mind as he made them look like fools.
As more avenues of communication emerge, the list of trusted sources of news and information dwindle. It's hard being a skeptic all the time. Must you read everything with a jaundiced eye? Yes, but it's taxing.
This phenomenon is by no means just a right-wing tactic, although they have taken it to a new art form since Willie Horton. The left has had its moments, too, although not quite as outrageous.
The e-mail author's final line is precious: "If you have never forwarded an e-mail, now is the time to Do so!!!! We CANNOT have someone with this type of mentality running our GREAT nation!"
It's people with that mentality who will bring doom to this great nation.