It’s almost mid-term election season

Weekly Editorial by Mark DeLap

It’s a season of promises and battles using the conventional weapon – the mouth.

I don’t know if it’s stupidity as much as we are a people who want to believe something so bad or so wonderful or so tragic or so heartwarming that we go to great lengths to not only make ourselves believe, but go forth on a crusade to make others believe as well.

And if two people believe it, then it certainly must be true. There is strength in numbers, but unfortunately not always truth. No matter how many people are on that bandwagon.

There is an alarming blast of error that is being publicized on the internet in this day and hour. Stories that can make you angry. Tales that can make you believe in pseudo happily-ever-after. Injustices that can bring tears to your eyes. From riots incited by candidates in conspiracy theories to miracle working wrinkle cream.

Before you run out and get your gun or run to the window waiting for your fairy godmother, and even before you reach for that next tissue, be sure you check the issue. Some people are manufacturing stories to see if anyone will believe. It may be that they simply have too much time on their hands and too much tomfoolery in their hearts.

The trouble with that is, enough people start believing and jumping into the crusade to champion your lie, you may begin to believe it yourself. You’ll start thinking that perhaps it wasn’t a lie after all and that just maybe you were a prophet uncovering the truth to the universe.

Spoiler alert. Much of the internet is full of things that are simply not true. There were candidates in the last election that were paying for writers and videographers to publish lies on the internet to damage their opponents. They continue to do so. Reader beware. Some just have a vendetta and their anger is fierce.

The scenario goes something like this. “A supporter of candidate Lie-burger was found and convicted of dog fighting and cruelty to animals. (Cut to an unrelated video of a dog beaten in an unrelated incident.) When reached for comment, the candidate had none. Click ‘like’ and ‘share’ if you think that it is wrong for candidates to support animal cruelty.”

And 10 thousand people begin clicking and sharing and swearing as if they had Turrets syndrome. They may in fact have some sort of “click and share” disease – and the main symptom is that they DON’T HAVE A LIFE.

Thank God for people who check with verification services before wildly clicking as if they are having a seizure. Even at that, some of the more reputable verification services have been known to be wrong. Most are having a hard time keeping up with all the new falsehood that is gaining great popularity in this new cyber generation. Oh, and anyone who thinks the factcheckers at Facebook are reputable, send us an address from the new swampland you recently purchased in Florida.

We have become a people on the edge of the “wild, wild webst.” No rules, no boundaries, no verification – but a lot of carpal tunnel from mouse abuse. Real journalists verify stories. Or at least, they should. Much of the internet is not a verifiable or reliable news source.

Things are passed from the dark minds of people living in their parent’s basement, covered in food crumbs and hiding behind the anonymity of the veil that has become cyberspace. Also, cowards hiding behind aliases. Daring to go where no man has gone before. To quote a line from the movie ELF, “you sit on a throne of lies.”

Those in the “ratings game” love it because it sells. People want to believe without having to work to verify. For years, we have been a generation led by a news media that has been, for the most part, forthright and held accountable. Until now.

The internet is NOT your nightly news broadcast and to get a good cross section, you have to view more than one source. Now we know, as children we loved the innocence of believing everything without having to spend the time and effort on verification. We just threw mud pies because it was fun and there was no accountability for our actions because we were still hiding behind the excuse of our youth.

It’s time to grow up. Put the wet soil down, quit slinging the filth and grow a set of scruples. The truth may not always be fun or exciting or tear-jerking or explosive. Your ordinary life may not “wow” the masses, but your character will.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – Paul.

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