Activism 101: Get Your Facts Straight Before Sending the Emails

English: City Hall in Asheville, NC as seen fr...

English: City Hall in Asheville, NC as seen from Broadway and Patton Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a few things in life that disgust me and one of the worst are the people who pass on rumors/half-truths/mis-representations without taking the time to find out the facts.

Circulating now online is an email that lists about ten different things that Congress is doing. I found the email on a forum for a veterans group in my adopted hometown of Asheville, NC in the USA.

The lead in on the email that was posted today says:

“A friend of mine passed this on to me. It makes a lot of sense in my opinion. The Congress and the president seem to be basking in monetary gains which are approaching irresponsibility. And while we are at it, why should anyone ever have life time appointments? The Supreme Court has proven over and over again that they vote politically and as a bloc. This does the country disservice in my opinion. Maybe we really do need a new Constitution…..”

The email then goes on to list some things about Congress that ‘could’ be true and would be believable, only if a person didn’t take time to think and do some research.

So why do emails like this disgust me? By passing along bogus information, only two things are accomplished.

First, it makes the cause of activism that much harder. If you share enough meat-headed information, then how will people know when you are presenting the truth and not just your distorted version.


Second, it paints the sender as a naive individual who doesn’t have the smarts to pour piss out of a boot when the instructions are written on the heel; another reason people will be slow to support chants for change.

Passing along invalid information makes the person sending it look like an irrational reactionary; exactly the type of person others do not want to rally around.

Fortunately there is one voice of reason in this email chain, the final entry reads:

“This email is so full of false information it should be relegated to the trash bin. Congress is bad enough all on their own without us having to make shit up to make them look even worse. Please let’s not waste our time with absolute nonsense.”

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Jerry Nelson is an American freelance photojournalist.  When not traveling, he can be found on the streets of Buenos Aires as Lead Photographer for BuenosTours, the largest private tour company in South America.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.

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