I have a dear friend whose outlook on things political is very different from my own. Our near-daily emails remind us often of that, but I’d be disappointed if he surrendered his bias to mine. I’d miss the challenge to review my own points-of-view and the chance to reassess the values I hold. He keeps me on my mental toes. That’s a good thing. You betcha!

My inbox is too often filled with messages of hate, racial division and outright lies. And, yes, occasionally my friend and correspondent sends me one of those. But some thoughtful exchanges usually result in setting the record straight, debunking the bad or agreeing to disagree. Among other values, there are those marvelous words “That’s what friends are for.”

The other electronic missives, though, the ones that are passed along as “fact” are becoming more and more a sense of very real concern. Because, fact is, most of them are not fact. They either go unchallenged or send me to research sources to debunk the majority. But the hate, the lies and anger continue unabated. Except for a personal “delete” key. Used often.

Here’s a selection of recent examples. Got one this week claiming Barack and Michelle Obama had their law licenses suspended by the State of Illinois and both were under criminal investigation by a special committee. There were even several “websites” included so I could see for myself. One thing I’ve learned about such emails is to never – NEVER – go to the websites given. Go to a third party site for verification. Because, in this case, someone had gone to great trouble to create phony sites that would substantiate the phony claim. One lie leading to another. More hate.

Using that third site approach damned the email. The fact is the Obama’s placed their law licenses on an inactive status under Illinois law. Had they kept the licenses active, they would have had to meet various Illinois requirements for continuing legal education, carrying several types of insurance and other normal professional stipulations. Other members of Congress have done the same. Some doctors, too.

Got an email claiming “the President had passed a law” (something Presidents can’t do) that would “steal” a percentage of the sales price of every home sold in America “to finance Obamacare.” A third party check showed there is such a stipulation (passed by Congress where laws begin) for a very small percentage on transactions over a million dollars. Not something that should alarm most of us. But the lie was out there.

Got one that said the President had required all federal agencies to hire more black Americans; even set a Department requirement for no less than 40%. Never happened. Got another with massive quotes from a former “missionary” to Kenya about the President’s personal involvement in Kenyan politics. Never happened. Got one that said the President would not salute the American flag or sing the national anthem. Not true. The Obama re-election campaign is being funded by Hugo Chavez. Really?

Another claimed the President was a “faith healer” and had “cured thousands of people with his touch.” Where was he during my last headache? How about the one claiming student Obama received “massive education aid from foreign governments?” Maybe he wished he had back then. And the one claiming Michelle was pregnant again and her husband was so mad he “angrily – but privately – has dismissed her from her role as first lady.” Or the one that said the President is using a Social Security number of a guy who died in 1890. Since Social Security didn’t exist before the 1960’s, that one was pretty easy to ferret out.

The common thread here is the President. And the emails are always – ALWAYS – negative. Some are ridiculous on their face. But, my friends, someone out there – many someone’s out there – believe them. Like the woman who told John McCain in 2008 that “Obama is an Arab.” Or the woman who told Mitt Romney a few weeks ago “Obama’s a Socialist and should be tried for treason.” There are thousands of folks out there – millions I’d guess – that believe what most of us know is not true.

But – when people I’ve known for years – people whose smarts I am familiar with – send me this crap with their endorsement that “this is absolutely true,” the seriousness of this divisive and often racist garbage is personally sobering.

No other president of either major party in our history – not one – has been the subject of such massive amounts of unfounded rumors, vile charges and racist rants as this one man. While presidents – all presidents – are often targets for wild charges and phony accusations, Obama has become the centerfold for more hate-mongers, race-baiters and extremists than any other figure that comes to mind. Legitimate websites (Snoopes, FactCheck.org, etc.) are filled with thousands of such examples of garbage they’ve received – and debunked. .

Millions of false and hate-filled emails out there are all over the Internet. Before its invention and easy availability, the haters and the ignorant used to send letters to friends or like-thinkers with the same crap. Or printed flyers. Even used telephones to wallow in their verbal ignorance. But now – with the push of a key on the keyboard – all of these bogus “facts” and the often accompanying racism can be shared with hundreds of millions and become part of the ethernet to have a life of their own. Forever. Believed by millions as “fact.” Debunked by only a few.

I’m sick of the anonymous, racist, baseless material out there on the I-net. Many of the problems this nation faces are all too real. But our political system has been overcome with ignorant people seeking simplistic solutions to complex problems the like of which we’ve never seen. Voters have – in too many cases through ignorance of their own – sent people to congress and many legislature’s who are making a shambles of our democracy.

I value my correspondent friend’s differences. Many of those differences I celebrate and will defend. More often than not, I appreciate other friends asking me to research something because they‘re concerned with truth. The anger and outrage I save for those idiots who waste their lives creating this anonymous garbage and polluting our nation with divisiveness, racial hatred and trying to set Americans against one another.

For them, I pray there is a special place in Hell.

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