Ah, Thanksgiving! A chance to sit around the table and eat a bunch of food you try to avoid the rest of the year (my mother-in-law’s green beans? Puh-leeze.). Who doesn’t want to spend a day with those relatives who can’t wait to tell you about the latest crazy-assed conspiracy theory they read in the e-mail? Plus if you live in the South, chances are really good you won’t even be offered some booze to dull the pain.
What’s a good liberal to do? Well, have no fear, Southern Beale is here with some handy-dandy links to keep on your mobile device or laptop. Heard about the Dept. of Homeland Security holding a job fair for illegals? Outrage! Did you hear Obama’s college records are missing? Fishy! Can you believe that Obama is taxing Christmas trees? Anti-Christian scoundrel!
Here’s a rundown; remember kids: if you’re replying to an actual e-mail, be sure to hit “reply all”!
• My new favorite site for debunking right wing myths, while not very comprehensive, is Truthdogg’s replies to his Uncle Lou. I don’t actually know if Uncle Lou exists, but his responses are pretty funny.
• Snopes is, of course, the grandaddy of urban legend debunkers. They’ve got an extensive data base, it’s easily searched and now — oh joy — they have a mobile phone app! So while Cousin Ernie goes on about how the White House has declared it will have a “holiday” tree this year devoid of any religious-themed ornaments, you can quickly debunk that old chesnut before he’s wiped the foam from his lips.
• While the Truth-O-Meter at PolitiFact has had its issues, I still find it pretty good, especially as the Republican presidential candidates have been throwing out the lies at a fast and furious pace.
Remember, it’s the holidays. I give you these tools not to cause an argument around the Thanksgiving table but to keep the peace. Just remember to smile when gently you tell Aunt Bessie that, “oh, that old wives’ tale about atheists petitioning the FCC to ban religious broadcasting? That urban legend has been around forever! It’s 100% false!”
Sometimes another tactic which works is to ask people to stop and think for a minute. Does this sound like it makes any sense at all? Do you really think George Soros would buy up gun and ammo manufacturers so he could take away everyone’s guns? Why would anyone do that? Even if it were true — which it’s not — why would anyone buy up every gun manufacturing company in the country and then not sell the product to customers? Who even has that kind of money?
You know … hit ‘em facts, a little kindness, maybe a dose of hand-patting and tongue-clucking. There’s no reason any of this needs to escalate into an argument. And maybe with one piece of wool removed from their eyes, your relatives will be a little less eager to buy every piece of nonsense that lands in the e-mail inbox or goes out on Fox News.