So I’m sure all of you reading this are aware of a recent Facebook page that is asking for Obama’s death. If you aren’t familiar, then here’s the text of the Facebook fan page:
“DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN.”
Yeah, it’s pretty idiotic when you get right down to it, no doubt about it. Of course, there have been countless protest sites, counter-movements, and blog posts deriding this person(s) for making this Facebook page. Facebook itself has even been demonized for allowing this page to stand. So this has caused quite the storm of controversy in the past few days. So in the end, does this really matter? Well, no. Should it be taken down? Not really. Why? Well, it’s good for the country.
To get a better sense of why this isn’t such a threat, you have to understand that this isn’t unique. Both in terms of death threats on the President over the years (and there’s always hundreds of them) and in terms of this particular run. You see, this particular meme started out as a tirade against NJ Governor Chrstie (link), which someone then just repurposed into an anti-Obama rant. So this obviously isn’t like someone just sat down and had this wicked flash of creativity and hammered this out. Indeed, they simply took something that sounded good, tweaked it, then decided to put it up on Facebook and, thus, prompting the outcry. So why the hell is this good for the country again?
Several reasons, actually. First off, it shows that the Internet’s original intent (well, secondary I guess since the original intent was for communications during a nuclear crisis, but I’m prattling on now..) is alive and well. People are able to share ideas in a neutral forum. Which includes ALL ideas, regardless of how brilliant or absolutely insane they may be. Secondly, it shows that people are beginning to express an interest in politics again. The Bush 2 era and the current Obama era have brought people out of the woodwork for politics. Political websites, which have been springing up at a fairly steady rate since the public explosion of the Internet, are seeing renewed interest and increased traffic. People are beginning to remember that politics is THEIR responsibility and are educating themselves about it. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, all are alive with political activity as people once again realize that they can shape the very course of their own country. To be honest, it’s rather inspiring.
So while it’s easy to simply deride the creator of this Facebook page and, by extension, the originator of the Governor Cristie memo, people really should take a moment to think about their outrage over this. Those who call for immediate bans and boycotts… are they any better than the very people that they cry out against? After all, aren’t these the same people who complained during Bush 2’s “Free Speech Zones” insanity? So why do they suddenly want to enact the very behavior they railed so loudly against?
Personally, I think the page should stand. It’s not as if these people are proactively planning to kill a sitting President (or Governor). They are merely expressing frustration over what they seem to feel is a bad political season. This is normal and, in the end, won’t have any lasting effect. And besides, think of it this way: the louder they scream, the easier it is to know exactly where they are.