Sunday, February 15, 2009

Group Think

As more of us get plugged in to the internet we have less excuse for ignorance when it comes to issues. I’m not saying there isn’t bad information on the web but with a little research you can usually find some truth.

I wish people were predisposed not to vote when they don’t really understand an issue. We’re constantly told “if you don’t vote, don’t bitch!” People tend to get behind people they trust. Unfortunately so do the people they trust. Everyone’s led down the garden path of ignorance.

Here are statistics I’ve gathered at FactCheck. You can verify them elsewhere if you like.

  • 25.6 percent of those who earned too little to have seen any tax increase under Obama's plan nevertheless believed that he intended to "increase your own federal income taxes," accepting McCain's repeated claims that "painful" tax hikes were being proposed on "families."
  • 39.8 percent thought McCain had said he would keep troops in combat in Iraq for up to 100 years, though he’d actually spoken of a peacetime presence such as that in Japan or South Korea.
  • 31 percent believed claims that Obama would give Social Security or health care benefits to illegal immigrants, when in fact he would do neither. (This one kills me. Why do we hate outsiders so much?)
  • Republicans were 4.4 times more likely than Democrats to believe that Obama would raise taxes on most small businesses, and Democrats were 3.2 times more likely than Republicans to believe that McCain would cut Medicare benefits.
  • 31 percent think Congress or the president, not the Supreme Court, have the final call on whether laws are constitutional.
  • Despite all evidence, 46 percent believe that Saddam Hussein played a role in the attacks of September 11. Dick Cheney kept saying this. Recently I heard an interview with him and he finally changed his story. He said it was their belief that Hussein had WMDs not his involvement in 911.

The separate camps spend millions on disinformation but I’m seeing new emphasis on fact checking. It’s a lot easier now with the web but you have to wade through a sea of lies sometimes.

I really do believe we get what we deserve.