• Do your political doggy-paddling first

    Before you read any further — let me add a disclaimer — I am not a political guru, nor do I pretend to be. While I doggy-paddle, barely keeping my nose above water, Debra DeAngelo, David Lacy and I’m sure any number of other iPinion columnists are passing me by, swiftly, gracefully backstroking their way across the ocean of politics. If you’re looking for political expertise, you won’t find my name on it. Sorry.

    That said, when I do develop an opinion on current events or ethical matters, I do my own research. And when I say research, I mean I actually read about both sides of the argument, not just the one I am prone to follow. Let me emphasize: Reading political emails that have been dumped into your inbox is not research.

    Perhaps my greatest pet peeve is chain emails. Mostly they are fear-mongering devices, sending heed to already worried parents that the rock candy your kid brought home from school is really crystal meth. That abandoned car seat on the side of the road is just a trick to lure you in to be raped and pillaged by gang members. And did you know that pancake mix kills?

    While I completely understand the intent behind these types of emails — genuine concern for loved ones — I think it’s safe to say we all have enough worry in our lives. So I have made it my crusade to dispel fear, and Google, Snopes and Truth or Fiction my way through the mass of hysteria that daily takes over my inbox. I always email my findings to the sender hoping to alleviate their concerns and perhaps not-so-subtly tell them to do their own research before clicking “forward.”

    However, there is one genre of chain-emails that I will never understand: the political kind. And I’m not talking about forwarding CNN breaking news alerts to your friends and family — by all means, please do! I’m talking about “Obama is not really a citizen,” or “Bush has the lowest IQ of all US presidents in the last 50 years.”

    And I swear, if I read the term “homosexual agenda” one more time, I’m going to punch my computer in the monitor!

    I will never understand someone who receives their political information via email. I find it incredibly offensive just to receive these emails. Do I look like a person who opens her email, nods, and “Amens” her way through political propaganda and then claims it as my own opinion? And why, why, would someone not research political claims before slapping their names on what very well maybe a biased mistruth?

    The one thing I have found these outrageous emails good for, however, is enlightening me to the sort of malicious lies that the Left and the Right make up about one another. I would venture to say that 90 percent of the time, such emails are completely untrue and all it takes to unveil the truth is a five-minute rendezvous with Google.

    Every time I receive an email from the Left or the Right making falsified proclamations about the other side, I discredit the sending party a little more. It amazes me how tightly political robots will grip onto fear of their adversary. Maybe it’s just the people who email me, but I have to say, this disinformation comes lopsidedly from one party.

    Yep. That’s Right.

    So, please — before you click forward — at least attempt to doggy-paddle, OK? My computer monitor will thank you.

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