Everyone knows I live in Southern California and it's supposed to be this liberal haven of the country. I've been rehabbing my nerve damage so I can't move around too freely, but my car hasn't had an oil change in a very long time. There's a Goodyear dealership that did a good job the last time I went there. Plus I can actually walk home from the place while the work's being done. So I went to get the long-awaited service. I was helped by the owner of the place and after we chatted about what I needed, we went inside so he could write up the order as my car was taken inside and put up on a lift.
As we were at his computer, finishing up the input of our transaction, I saw that Fox News was on his TV and I jokingly said, "Oh, you have Fox News on?" He said, "I didn't put it on, but so what? What's wrong with it?" I said, "It's a propaganda network." He asked, "People can tell what the truth is, so who cares even if there is only ten percent of the truth?" I pointed out that for most people, it's hard to know which ten percent is the truth. That was my first mistake. There were a few other customers behind me, but that didn't faze the owner, as he then launched into a profanity-laced tirade against politicians and of course, the cancer of our society, the unions.
"Those fat bastards are making $500.00 an hour and taking my money and stuffing it in their pockets while they sit on their fat and useless asses." I was kind of stunned by his tantrum, and I know I should have kept quiet and just gotten out of there, but instead I replied: "You know, less than 1% of the country is unionized, so I think it's a little more complicated than that." I'm used to debating people about politics all the time either on the radio, online or TV, so it was like an instinct, even though I only wanted an oil change.
He went ballistic and started to scream to me the historical meaning of President Obama's first (Barack) and middle (Hussein) name and finished off by saying, "...and why won't he let me see his f*&king birth certificate? Have you seen his birth certificate? "
"Yes, I have."
"You're f*&king brainwashed. You can't see the truth!"
A man behind me said, "Can I get my car please?" I turned to him and said. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize this would happen."
The owner kept on screaming about the f*&king scum of the parasitic unions and walked away from the counter after trying to explain in some form of right-wing gibberish why this country is in the toilet and left in a huff. The words that echoed were, "It's not Bush's fault."
Another employee had came over by that time and inputted the order and printed up my oil change request. I looked at him and he said, "I hear this all the time."
"All I wanted was an oil change."
"I'll call you when your car is ready."
How did I end up at a Birther-owned a Goodyear auto place? I realized yet again the influence of the right-wing noise machine and Fox. It's sad and very disturbing when you take it out of our political world and see it alive in Americana. When I got the call a few hours later to get my car, I had printed out a copy of Obama's birth certificate (at the top of this post) and wanted to hand it to him to see what would happen, but I realized I wanted my car back instead.
Should I bring him a copy of President Obama's birth certificate just to see if actual evidence will make him change his mind? Or is the study posted in the Boston Globe correct, and actual evidence will only make him believe even more firmly that Obama is not born here?
For the most part, I'm joking on this poll, but I remembered this great article I read in the Boston Globe that probably proves it would be a waste of time: "How facts backfire":
In 2005, amid the strident calls for better media fact-checking in the wake of the Iraq war, Michigan’s Nyhan and a colleague devised an experiment in which participants were given mock news stories, each of which contained a provably false, though nonetheless widespread, claim made by a political figure: that there were WMDs found in Iraq (there weren’t), that the Bush tax cuts increased government revenues (revenues actually fell), and that the Bush administration imposed a total ban on stem cell research (only certain federal funding was restricted). Nyhan inserted a clear, direct correction after each piece of misinformation, and then measured the study participants to see if the correction took. For the most part, it didn’t. The participants who self-identified as conservative believed the misinformation on WMD and taxes even more strongly after being given the correction. With those two issues, the more strongly the participant cared about the topic — a factor known as salience — the stronger the backfire.
In a way, I'd like to test the theory on him, but he does have my home address.