Ms Soapbox recently received a series of memes from an old white guy justifying his support of Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-everything policies.
She’s been seething ever since.
Not because of their content (bad) but because of their appalling lack of critical thinking and digital fluency (the ability to find and critically evaluate online information).
Here are some examples:
On Refugees: Not taking refugees and closing our borders doesn’t mean we’re “heartless” or “mean”. I lock my doors every night. I don’t lock them because I “hate” the people outside. I lock them because I LOVE the people INSIDE! Yes Good job Mr. President!
I hate to break it to you Old White Guy, but that’s a faulty analogy. Refugees are not like burglars. Refugees are people your government said have the legal right to enter your country. The correct analogy would be this: you gave refugees the KEY to your door and then changed the locks and told them to get lost when they arrived on the doorstep.
This is not the act of a sensible Old White Guy who loves his family but a paranoid who can’t be trusted to keep his word.
An Old White Guy with a dollop of digital fluency would have tested his analogy by googling “refugee vetting USA” and perusing a few of the 465,000 articles on the vetting process, including a Time article that says Syrian refugees are subjected to the most intensive vetting process of any group entering the United States.
On Cabinet appointments: Rob O’Neill is the man who killed Bin Laden. When asked what he thinks about General Mattis being Secretary of Defense, O’Neill said: “General Mattis has a bear rug in his home, but it’s not dead; it’s just afraid to move.” IN GOD WE TRUST!
Presumably, the purpose of this meme is to support Trump’s choice of James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense by citing Rob O’Neill’s endorsement.
Not only is this a fallacious appeal to authority (O’Neill may have shot Bin Laden, but this doesn’t make him an expert on national security and foreign affairs), a google search would have revealed that the SEALs are not happy that Rob O’Neill has taken credit for killing Bin Laden. He violated the cardinal rule that a SEAL does not advertise the nature of his work or seek recognition for his actions.
If the SEALs disapprove of O’Neill’s actions Old White Guys shouldn’t be citing him as a credible authority.
Poor Old White Guy (this is a longer diatribe, bear with me): I used to think I was just a regular guy, but…I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist. And yet I have & know many black friends who are truly wonderful people and have friends of other races as well. I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today’s standards, makes me a fascist. I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobic. I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel. I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby. I am older than 65, which makes me a useless old man. I think and I reason, therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary. I am proud of my heritage (I belong to the Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of the War of 1812 and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe. I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist. I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist. I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant. Now, a woman said me and my friends are a basket of deplorables. Please help me come to terms with the new me…because I’m just not sure who I am anymore! I would like to thank all my friends for sticking with me through these abrupt, new found changes in my life and my thinking! I just can’t imagine or understand what’s happened to me so quickly! Funny…it’s all just taken place over the last 7 or 8 years! As if all this change wasn’t enough to deal with, I’m now afraid to go into either restroom!
Wow. False dilemmas, faulty analogies, slippery slopes, hasty generalizations and an atrocious misuse of exclamation marks—this meme was intended to show that Democrats have gone completely off the rails but it sounds like the ramblings of a pathetic old man who sits on the porch yelling at the neighbour kids to get off his lawn.
Having said that, the Old White Guy’s memes play well in the Old White Guy echo chamber and demonstrate once again that critical thinking, augmented by digital fluency (look it up for god’s sake!) is no match for group polarization and the political meme.
PS: If you’re a mature white male who knows the difference between a meme and rational thought, rest assured Ms Soapbox was not talking to you.