Tom is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, single father, and long time resident of Oak Creek, who writes regularly about human interaction and perception as it relates to social issues, value fulfillment, and introspection. Tom encourages and challenges the reader to engage new perspectives; believing that through open and honest evaluation of all sides of a debate, conflicting parties can communicate with greater efficacy and more productive outcomes.
The amount and popularity of misinformation being spread is becoming more dogmatic, malicious and innacurate than ever before. This is particularly true on the social media outlets with pictures containing some clever little quip or condescending tagline that brings emotional value to an illegitimate statement or premise.
We've all seen them. They are most often politically motivated, but are doctored in an almost satirical way to appeal immediately to the target audience's emotions instead of their minds.
Most of these pictures or statements can be debunked in less than five minutes. In today's world, with the same benefit of the Internet that can sow these dangerous seeds of misinformation, we can use the tools of the Internet to seek the truth of what we see in less time than it takes to reboot a computer.
The reason why this type of propaganda spreads so quickly is easy to understand; it appeals to an emotion which people immediately tie to a personal value.
The danger of this type of misinformed and inaccurate propaganda is the continued severance of American unity.
It takes a mouse-click to spread those messages in the same way we'd contract a virus and then sneeze on the person next to us, maliciously or ignorantly infecting them with something they don't need or deserve.
What most people don't realize is that they've been duped, and in being duped they've had their intelligence insulted, not just by those who propagate the information, but also by the perception of those they then spread the misinformation onto.
When you see this information, and spread it on without first seeking the facts, you become either irresponsibly, ignorantly, or maliciously a part of the problem of divisiveness that we live in more now than ever before.
If you refuse to fact-check and pass this propaganda on, you are irresponsible.
If you fact-check and become unhappy or uncomfortable that the facts don't line up with how you wanted them to, and still pass the propaganda on, you are ignorant.
If you fact-check and realize the information is false, but don't care that the propaganda is inaccurate and still pass it on with its shortsighted intent, you are malicious and dangerous to our democracy, and lacking any measure of integrity.
You can see, read or hear something a thousand times. No matter how badly you want it to be true, wanting alone does not make it true.
Be responsible in what you share; fact-check. And then, spread the truth.
Any behavior short of this makes you a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.