Let’s get that straight now. Obama did not “re-name” the mountain. He removed the fake name that had been placed on top of the mountain’s real name.
The mountain had been called “Denali” (“the Great One”) by the natives for centuries until someone decided to name it after a President who had never even been to Alaska. This was done against the wishes on those in Alaska at the time. The move to make the official name “Denali” began back in 1975, when the Alaska legislature asked the President to change the name. And currently, the change has the support of the majority of Alaskans — most of whom are die-hard Republicans. In fact, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, supported the change, and was happy for Obama’s decision, saying this a few days ago:
“For generations, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as ‘the great one.’ I’d like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska.”
Had George W. Bush done this, I’m sure Fox News would be falling over themselves to congratulate him, but since this came from Obama, you can predict what happened — I don’t even have to post links to the comments, you can make them up yourself and they probably won’t be as crazy and outlandish as the real ones. They sort of sound like this (fake) meme:
But there are indeed idiots who apparently believe this, enough so that Snopes had to have an article debunking it (noting, among other things, that there is no such thing as a Kenyan “word” since the official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili).
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted another one of those silly internet things meant to make Obama look like an evil Muslim Atheist Socialist bent on destroying America. This one accused him of removing “In God We Trust” off the coins.
To my friend’s credit, when I pointed out that (a) The coins were introduced in 2007 when George W. Bush was President and (b) The coins do have “In God We Trust” on them, he apologized grudgingly.
But the point of this post is not about the coins. We could discuss whether coins even should say “In God We Trust” on them at all. (For those playing at home, the correct answer is “no.”)
The point is that sometimes we are so anxious to believe something, we accept it without even checking to see if it’s true. (For the record, snopes is once again your friend.)
A few days earlier, a left wing blog posted an article which claims they have proof that the George Zimmerman rescue of some people stuck in a car after an accident was not true. The site claimed a police officer sympathetic to Zimmerman called him when the accident happened and told him to show up and pretend to be saving the people. Apparently, he arrived but had little to do with anything, and that’s why the victims of the accident haven’t come forth to thank him or anything.
Is this possible? Is it believable? Sure. It makes more sense to imagine that happening than to assume that he coincidentally just happened to be at the site of the accident only a few weeks after the verdict when he needed to redeem his image among many Americans.
But it’s reported on a site with an agenda; a site that is just as suspect as Fox News should be to everyone else.
When I see this reported on some mainstream, more respectable sites, then I’ll give it some credence, but for now, I am suspicious.
And that’s the lesson for today.
We’ve all fallen for one or more internet rumor, passing it along to our friends with comments like “I can’t believe it!” … and then realizing the reason we couldn’t believe it is because it wasn’t true in the first place.
Now I admit — I’m a natural skeptic. I demand evidence. But even I can fall for some of these, especially the political ones where I’ve seen such outrageous things that it doesn’t surprise me when a politician says something extremely stupid.
Still, I try to always confirm before posting. And that’s why Snopes is such a great resource.
If you haven’t checked it out, please do. The web page is dedicated to finding out the truth. And it’s also great reading, and easy to get lost with some of the more fun ones.
Recently, I posted about the school that was teaching kids fables, using the Bible as if it was factual. At the time, Snopes could not confirm whether the test was real but said it probably was. They have since done more research and have confirmed its truth. Yes, kids are learning fairy tales in the name of science. This is one of those rare cases where the incredibly stupid thing posted on the internet which gets everyone upset actually is real.
There are huge sections debunking stupid political statements (Obama is a Muslim who swore his oath on the Quran! His birth certificate is fake! Sarah Palin posed in a bikini holding a rifle! Mitt Romney’s ancestors owned slaves and that’s why he can relate to black people!)
They also confirm stupid political statements: John McCain thinks the line between “middle class” and “rich” is $5 million dollars! Obama didn’t pay his traffic tickets from his time at Harvard until 2007! As President, George W. Bush appointed an anti-abortion advocate to be in charge of the FDA’s committee on birth control!
So please: when you read something online that seems outrageous, check with Snopes first before posting it on Facebook.
And seriously: Marty McFly goes to the future on October 21, 2015.