Facebook Intervention

I was going downhill fast, and I knew that it was my fault.  I needed to stop, but I couldn’t seem to stop—addiction is a real bummer.  I don’t know what I would have done if my son hadn’t scheduled an intervention.  “Mom,” he said.  “You need to give me your Facebook password so that I can change it.  You can’t argue with liberals.”

I knew he was right.  They say that you can’t fix stupid, but I am basically an optimist where people are concerned.  I was obsessed with signing on to Facebook, checking my liberal friend’s Facebook page, and attempting to fix ignorant.  The problem is, you can’t fix ignorant when facts don’t matter.

In the middle of the shutdown, I was hot and heavy into a multiday interchange.  I was still waiting for one of the liberals following the conversation to answer one question which should have paved the way to a serious reality check:  What is so unreasonable about the compromise offered by the House Democrats to take away the special deal that Congress got for Obamacare participation and delaying the individual mandate for a year, just as Obama had (on his own) delayed the employer mandate for a year?  I thought that if they would just answer that one question, it was the first step in a logical progression to sanity.

I kept coming back to that specific question despite the distractionary nonanswers, e.g., “It’s the Law of the Land.”   After the umpteenth go round of repeating that question at the end of every sidetrack discussion, I was going down fast.  My son, who was monitoring my activity, knew it was time to step in.

liberals and factsJust before I was voluntarily banned from the interchange, I had posted links to several of the mean, petty, vindictive actions the President had taken to make the shutdown worse.  One of those was about priests who were contracted to minister to military Catholics.  The priests were being threatened with arrest if they tried to conduct a mass.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/military-priests-arrest-shutdown_n_4058585.html  I cited the Huffington Post because I knew that a “dubious” source like Fox News would be questioned by a liberal.

The answer was:  “This is bullshit.  No one is going to be arrested.  http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/shutdown.asp

I checked out Snopes.com.  Rather than a specific, detailed email with the “legend,” as is normal, this evaluation merely stated the claim as “Catholic priests may not conduct religious services on U.S. military bases during the federal government shutdown.” It included an “example” collected from an email as: “Did President Obama really order that military priests be arrested for saying the Mass during the government shutdown?”  Snopes.com verified as “True” that Catholic priests had been prohibited from conducting religious services on base during the shutdown (even on a volunteer, unpaid basis).  Snopes.com claimed that it was False that “President Obama ordered that military priests be arrested for holding Mass during the federal government shutdown.”

Snopes.com based the “False” on an extended, abstract evaluation of an 1870 law called the Antideficiency Act.  It concluded that it was a theoretical possibility that the priests could be arrested, but they probably wouldn’t be.  In other words, the article did not examine the real issue as to whether or not a threat had been made, merely the abstract probability of an arrest being made.

Even the issue that they examined led to an incorrect conclusion.  Those men/women in uniform with “MP” bands on their arms and guns in their holsters that stand at the gates of military facilities are not Welcome Hosts/Hostesses.  They are there to prevent entry of unauthorized personnel.  If an MP tells someone they can’t go in and that person persists, the MP can arrest them.  The Antideficiency Act is irrelevant.

The real issue was whether an arrest was threatened.  Real priests reported to their supervisor that they had been threatened.  Some priests came out the next day on their own, revealing their names to news sources.

snopes-HOAX1I decided to let Snopes.com know that they had missed the boat.  After all, they are concerned about fairness, right?  They care about the truth more than supporting the left’s agenda, right?  (OK, I’m still a little naïve.  I thought the answer would be yes to both of those questions.)  I wrote to them, citing actual news reports, pointing out their error in analysis and concluding with “I would encourage you to add the pertinent information that priests HAVE been threatened with arrest.  Perhaps this is separate from the issue as to whether or not there are valid grounds for arrest (which is what you covered, albeit incorrectly) or whether or not President Obama personally ordered it (which is a technicality).  Alternatively, I would like you to answer the straightforward question:  Have priests been threatened with arrest for saying mass on military bases?  Your answer should be:  True.”

Snopes.com replied:  “Thanks for telling me how you heard the legend. I’m always interested in hearing how these tales are told in different locales.”

“The legend!?”  “Different locales!?”  Can anyone explain to me how you define a “locale” on the Internet aka World Wide Web?  It amazes me how a story can be on the virtual front page of a newspaper on one day and branded a “legend” the next.  It also amazes me how a liberal can totally ignore a newspaper article with verifiable sources, and rely instead on a website where they supposedly expose the truth, but which (as this demonstrates) they do not.

My Facebook intervention had left me the time and energy to butt up against an even bigger obstacle to fixing ignorance: the site that “cares” about dispelling “legends” can’t distinguish reality either.

My son has an even bigger problem.  He wants to put parental controls on my computer so that I can’t get to any liberal web sites.  He says that it’s detrimental to my health.  He’s right, but I’m not exactly cooperating with that one.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

About the author

Becky Wiggins

I am a Fulbright Scholar who majored in geology, worked in scientific computing for 15 years, dropped out to be a stay at home mom when my children were in late grade school, taught geometry for three years at a private school for gifted children, and have retired. I was raised all over the world as an Air Force Brat, so I identify as “Christian” rather than as a specific denomination. One of my favorite hobbies these days is singing in the church choir, with occasional solos accompanying myself on the guitar.

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