So, saw a tweet by Sarah Palin someone had commented on in my timeline, talking about President Obama giving $1.3 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood even though Congress told him not to. It smelled like horsecrap from the get-go, but you know what?
It took me going through five or six Google search pages before I finally found one story nestled amongst all the angry repostings at conservative blogs and right-wing “news” sites that actually explained what really happened: It was military aid to Egypt, which we’ve been giving for years upon years upon years…and the only issue was that the Obama administration loosened some “democracy” restrictions so that the money could go where it was supposed to.
Nothing shady. Simply that, technically, Egypt wasn’t democratic enough to qualify. But the thing is, through multiple administration’s we’ve overlooked political and human rights abuses in Egypt (and Israel…and Saudi Arabia) because it would be political, diplomatic, military, security and stability suicide to do otherwise in the Middle East. You don’t start slapping your key allies in a tricky region like that.
But somehow, all that gets twisted into Obama giving a fat load of money to a Muslim group.
This makes me fear for the future of this country that people eat this stuff up and repeat it online without questioning it for even a moment and making an effort to find out what’s really going on.
Does the truth make this $1.3 billion wonderful news? No. There are still reasons to be concerned if it’s the right thing to do, but that’s on top of a lot of other damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t decisions we make worldwide to keep peace, keep the economy going and all that.
Point is that as bad as the left has been at times, I have never seen anything in my lifetime as batshit crazy as the right wing since Obama took office. It’s downright frightening how quickly they cling to obvious lies and reject obvious and verifiable truths. Not even gray areas. Things you can actually look up and see they aren’t true, but the right wing continues to insist they are, so loudly and for so long that they become seen as truth by a good chunk of America.
I mean, if Obama had cut $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt saying that he can’t reward them since they’re moving too slowly on reforms, the Republicans and Tea Party and all the rest would be accusing him of trying to destabilize the Middle East, back away from a key ally and hurt American-based contractors who ultimately supply many of the items that military aid would end up buying.
I criticized George W. Bush for a lot of things, not the least of which was entangling us in a terrible, costly war using patently untrue reasons to justify it. I mostly criticized him for obvious conflicts of interest, like putting people on a committee meant to protect children from lead exposure who had been paid by industry for years to debunk research on lead’s health impact…or giving Iraq contracts to Halliburton, a company his vice president was intimately involved with…or taking long and frequent vacations to Texas during one of the most unsettled U.S. periods (in terms of peace and security) of my lifetime.
I’ve got my beefs with Obama, too. Difference is that for two presidential election cycles now, he’s clearly been the candidate with his head screwed on the tightest and the one who’s most likely to give somewhat of a crap about most Americans instead of solely kneeling to the very wealthy ones. So, while I think he’s done a lot of things wrong and I’m not sure he’s always responded as well as he could to crises, I’m going to mostly side with him.
And when I do criticize him, it will be based on truth, not lies and conspiracy theories…just like I have with any other president.