They say fools rush in where angels fear to tread, so I suppose I know what that makes me, but I find it hard to resist on this one.
Somehow, I’ve found myself on some chain mail going back and forth that has produced some very nasty comments. It makes me wonder: Why are people so mean to one another?
The original chain mail concerns a You Tube video of Michelle Obama at Sept. 11 ceremonies in which she whispers something to the President. There’s a whole rumor-mill out there purporting that an interpreter for the deaf has analyzed her lips and concluded she said “All that for a damn flag.” The fact-checking site PolitiFact debunks that here, giving it a “liar, liar, pants on fire rating.” The Urban Legends site also debunks it here.
But let’s not worry ourselves with what she did or did not say. What got my attention was the tone of this e-mail exchange that I was copied on. First, the original e-mail:
I love and respect our Old Glory, no respect from this president and the first idiot. What a shame they are in the White House. I just put up a flag in my yard yesterday, I love the flag and all it stands for. May God Bless and Keep America.. In God we Trust
That prompted this response from someone else on the e-mail chain, a fellow named “Chuck” who identified himself as a retired Air Force veteran:
Please do not continue sending me junk regarding political parties. When the other party becomes as bad as the Republican Party, you may commence sending such junk again. I thought we had been through this before. By the way, when did the ‘First Lady’ acquire the title first idiot? You know, if you tear down the office of the president until it is no more than that of a Third World country, you won’t have anything when and if you ever win back the White House.
And that, in turn, produced this counter-response (note, some bad language is edited out here):
Chuck, or may I call you Candd, I have to wonder why I got this a– hole note since I never sent you anything nor ever heard of you. Speaking of idiots, I am surprised you object to ‘First Idiot’ as it usually takes an idiot to recognize another idiot. I find you to be the first military person to support Benedict Hussan Sorento. I spent five years on Army active duty and have a twin brother that spent a lot of time in an F-105 over Vietnam and Cambodia. He retired as a Col. We both think Benedict is a disaster and traitor. Since I have never sent you anything, never heard such stupid and ill informed statements, and fortunately do not know you, I have no intention of contacting you. It just doesn’t seen fair to have an intellectual contact with an un-armed idiot. How did you ever get in the Air Force? I thought they only took people with at least a modicum of intelligence.
All of which makes me wonder: Why are people so mean? It’s fine to disagree, but can’t anyone have a civil conversation anymore without calling someone names?