My top ten “opinions” that might get you fired

 

The head of National Public Radiohad to resign this week because one of her fund-raisers told some prospective donors that many in the Tea Party were “seriously racist.” The donors were actually plants and made the statement public.  Oops! It was clearly an unwise and impolitic thing to say, especially as NPR was facing a funding vote in a Republican led Congress, but it was hardly a lie.   There have been well documented examples of racist rhetoric and signs at Tea Party rallies, and some of the animus against President Obama seems racist.

A survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality examined the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. Their conclusion:  “The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”—25 percent, to be exact—“of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”
And last July the NAACP told the Tea Party movement to repudiate the racist elements in its midst.  So the statement, while imprudent, was not without some factual basis.

So all this got me ruminating, and I decided, as yet another one of my high minded public service efforts, to share some other “opinions” that could get you in trouble:

  1. Having civilians walking around with handguns is really dangerous and bad for society and should be regulated.
  2. Evolution is the best scientific hypothesis to explain the change over time in the inherited traits found in populations of organisms.
  3. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, and never lived in Kenya.
  4. President Barack Obama is not a Socialist (in fact, he is a Democrat).
  5. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
  6. Drilling for deep oil in the Gulf of Mexico poses a serious threat to the environment.
  7. Global warming is real and caused by humans.
  8. The Bible was written by people and has a literary history and needs to be interpreted (the same is true of the Constitution.)
  9. The health care bill was not a government takeover of health care, and never contained plans for any “death panels.”
  10. The earth is not flat.

As the late great Daniel Patrick Moynihan is reported to have said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. ”   If you want to get your facts straight, here are a couple of good web sites:  http://factcheck.org/  and http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

Washington Post reporter David Broder died yesterday, and he was known to be a strict fact checker.  Would that there were more like him.

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