Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Authenticity


The word that has been going through my brain lately is authenticity. The definition in which I'm particularly interested is this one, from Merriam-Webster online:
3
: not false or imitation

I keep getting a lot of emails from one particular person (none of you, and as far as I know, she doesn't know my blog exists. If she does, then so be it). These emails are never personalized in any way; they are simply forwarded crap, mostly of a political or religious nature. Mind you, this person is neither particularly religious nor politically savvy. She never checks out whether or not the contents of the email are factual. Mostly they are sensationalist and just plain wrong. If she took two seconds go to Snopes, she would know that. (For anyone who thinks Obama is the anti-Christ, consider whether or not there are any figures more deserving of that title, like Hitler, for example). As my hubby points out (and he's not religious), the Bible says that the anti-Christ will be well-liked, popular. Hubby thinks he'll probably be a Republican (sorry - his words!)

If she even took the time to write her own thoughts, comments, or even hellos up at the top of the forwarded email, I might take her a little more seriously. Instead, she just blindly forwards everything she comes across. Indiscriminately.

Some of the things I've learned from her emails, besides the fact that she thinks Obama is the anti-Christ, include the following:
  • Jesus wants me to profess my belief in Him by forwarding the same tired email to 10 of my friends in the next 10 minutes, including the one who sent it to me!
  • If I forward this other email to enough people, Bill Gates will send me money. (How does he know where to send my check?)
  • Sarah Palin is adored by everyone in Alaska (uh...)
  • If I forward another email, I will get a surprise in my inbox! (The real surprise would be if it automatically blocked the sender from ever bothering me again).
  • If we vote for Obama, we are voting for a Muslim president who will overrun us with Islamic extremism. (Does this mean the terrorists will have won?)
My problem is the inauthenticity of this person (and of most of the people who send me such messages). Her political rantings are based on false* information, not facts. Getting these emails from her is all the more irritating because she -- as far as I know -- isn't a registered or active voter. This makes her politics imitation*, does it not? I mean, put your money where your mouth is.

As for her religious devotion via emails, the only time I know of that she has darkened the door of a church in the last, oh, twenty years, is for funerals. Does this not make her religiosity somewhat false*? Her deeds are not the deeds of someone dedicated to Christ, so I'm not sure if her 10 forwards in 10 minutes make a difference. She doesn't walk the walk, but she sure talks the talk - at least through other peoples' words in emails that originated God knows where. Heh, get it?

To top it off, she has accused my dear hubby of not having a conscience because he is voting for a Democrat, and Democrats don't have consciences. They are all baby killers, you know. We...that is. I wish I could tell you more about the conversations they had, but in the interest of having a little class on this site, I don't want to out and out reveal her identity in a back door way.

The thing is, she wants to claim she is pro-life, but ... okay, again I'm having to bite my tongue. Let's just say that she hasn't always been so pro-life. I understand that people who are pro-life want to make sure that every child has a right to come into existence once it is conceived. That's a good thought, in theory. But many of these same people believe in the death penalty, so aren't their beliefs at odds? Aren't they inauthentic? So, you'll fight to give someone a right to life, but then you think it's okay to kill them when they're older? You'll be okay with an "abortionist," that is, a doctor who will give a woman a safe, clean place to have a safe, medically sound abortion if she needs it or chooses it, being shot to death outside his clinic?

And what of the kids that are born unwanted, addicted, or damaged from fetal alcohol syndrome? Will you adopt them? Will you make sure they have the medical, social, and psychological resources they need?

My problem is, if you believe something, I want you to really believe it. I want you to put your money where your mouth is. I want you to walk the walk. I want you to be authentic. With me, what you see is what you get. I won't shove my views down your throat or blindly forward emails. If I forward an email to you, I'll include a respectful note at the top with my own thoughts on the piece, and I'll check it out first to make sure it is authentic and factual. I walk the walk. I detest hypocrisy.

This person is in serious danger of permanently damaging the relationship she has with us, and it doesn't seem to click with her. Her vitriolic rantings are like poison, destroying whatever she comes in contact with. It's hurtful to her own mental and physical health to go around so bitter, angry, and - well - wrong. I don't know how she sleeps at night. I'm very bothered that she has decided to start dumping on us.
It bothered me for quite a while today, and then hubby said something that made me realize that one of the events involving us and this person from the distant past has never been forgiven nor forgotten by him. I never realized it stuck with him the way it did. I had tried to let it go. When he mentioned it, I thought, "Yeah. That was really painful and goes against everything she professes to believe now." Inauthentic. A big part of my heart swelled with happiness that he was so protective of me as to hold onto that memory for all these years. It made me realize how deeply he loves me.

And that makes everything worthwhile. I love having authenticity in my life. How about you?
(*refer back to the definition of authentic)

Peace - D

20 comments:

david mcmahon said...

Authenticity is my credo, too.

Hilary said...

Well-stated. Some people just don't think they're being offensive by sending those emails. Some just don't think before they hit "forward." Some simply don't think at all. Why not filter her message to the junk or trash file?

RiverPoet said...

David - It is one of the most important things, isn't it?

Hilary - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, she really doesn't think. She finally apologized to hubby last night, but it was so hollow. I currently don't filter her - well - because she is family. But I suppose I need to do that.

Peace - D

the walking man said...

Until you wrote this I didn't realize that it has been quite awhile since I got any of those "If you don't forward this in 10 minutes..." e-mails.

God bless the person who wrote the code for the delete button.

Dianne said...

what a thoughtful post - and so kind toward the kind of people I just don't have patience for anymore.

I have very recently ended a friendship with someone who can't control her send finger. endless hateful crap about Mexicans being the source of all our economic woes and pretty much all the e-mails you described. BTW - don't forget - St. Theresa loves you and will reward you but only after you forward. I assume there is a giant server in heaven monitoring all this traffic!

The end of the friendship came when I didn't delete an especially disgusting attack on Barack (yes we're on a first name basis) but instead I researched it point by point, wrote up the response and sent it to every single person in her FW trail.

That got the reaction that finally just ended what was a bad friendship with a toxic person.

I'm learning that it is OK to detox from people and it is OK to close and forever bolt a door.

Celebration of Life said...

I get those too and either ask the person not to send them anymore, delete them or send them to junk mail and let the "junk mail fairy" take care of the crap.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Come back, anytime!

Jo

Mental P Mama said...

Very well put. I have had to set two people straight already this week about the vitriolic emails they send me. I don't even want to click on them. I would drop this person like a hot potato. And the anti Christ? I think it will be a strident Republican female. Hmmmm. Wonder who that might be?

Daryl said...

Oh Doris, I am so in agreement of everything .. but most especially Snopes .. and your 'imitation' remark. I am SO uptohere with those who are running for office and promised not to demean the election with personal attacks and slander ... yet they do

I had a similar pro choice vs. pro life vs abortion conversation with someone close to me who is 'trying to stomach the whole abortion thing' and vote Democrat for the first time in their voting life.

It ain't easy.

:-Daryl

Jay said...

I"m with you. I hate inauthenticity and hypocrisy, and though I won't claim to be perfect, I do try to grow, and leave things behind me if they are parts of me that I don't like.

I had to lose a friend this year whose behaviour had become more and more manipulative. Basically it was all about her. She would do whatever she wanted to do, and in a disagreement, she'd expect everyone else to back down.

This time, when I responded in the only way I considered possible, without compromising my own ethics, she laid into me with such anger... I tried to reason, and explain my position, but there was no way she was going to apologise or accept my point of view, so regretfully, I wished her well and we parted.

I simply don't need the stress of trying to maintain a friendship which puts such a strain on my own personal beliefs.

But I will say that I learned something about handling disagreements and the dynamics of friendship - which can be far reaching within a circle of friends and acquaintances.

Moannie said...

Lord amercy Mabel...you really don't need this.

I must admit that I feel a little nervous around people who are fanatical, who are so convinced of the rightness of whatever it is that is obsessing them. Always been afraid of madness...and that is what it is, any obsession that drives someone to bombard others with their own convictions, and to chastise them when they don't fall about in gratitude, is mad, or, being kind to them-deluded.

Family or not dear girl, you must block her emails. You have quite enough to contend with.

Bless hubby.

Akelamalu said...

I hate those emails that are just forwarded on, and on, and on, like a chain letter. I just delete them. :(

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Sounds like this person wouldn't get anything you said to her. She probably wouldn't get the simple phrase, "We don't want you in our lives any longer." And I have to feel sorry for her and others like her because her universe, her reality is obviously so small and so black and white with no shades of gray allowed.

I've tried arguing "If you're pro-life then why are you pro-death penalty" with some fundamental Christian friends of mine. They give me the deer-in-the-headlights stare. Oh, well.

Maggie May said...

I absolutely hate those forwarded messages of complete drivel too.

RiverPoet said...

Walking Man - Amen, brother!

Dianne - It seems you have a lot in common with others here. Read on... And this person also forwarded me those hate mails about Mexican immigrants and illegals until I pointed out that her son-in-law is Mexican and her granddaughter is 1/2 Mexican. She finally stopped those emails.

Jo - I've set my filter to dump her emails right into the trash folder, but that doesn't help me during the day when I'm on the webmail client. However, the delete key works nicely! :-)

Daryl - Huh, she is trying to "stomach" it? I think the religious right has done an amazing job of painting an image onto Democrats that is thoroughly unearned and thoroughly wrong!

Jay - It's funny, but the more I learn about codependency, the more I realize how many toxic friendships I've had over the years, just because I was the type of person these folks needed in order to get their validation. Weird.

Moannie - Yep, I blocked her emails today. Set the filter to dump them straight in the trash folder. If she needs to reach us that badly, she can call.

Akela - I know. They are like the virus that requires input!

CMGD - Yep, deer in the headlights. It's like they never thought of it! And you, my dear, are well aware of how screwy our families can be. This one is - well - a bit of a nut.

Maggie - They're going in the trash. Funny how it's only family members that seem to do this to me.

Peace - D

leslie said...

Ditto...just received two of them today, as a matter of fact. And I won't argue with opinionated people. Instead, I just move on.

Lavinia said...

How about being a little frank with her and hitting reply with history and writing at the top "I find stuff like this offensive/derogatory/unfunny (whatever). Please do not send me anymore and please remove me from your distribution list. Thanks"

SandyCarlson said...

Ah, those political forwards. I know a few folks who just love to send the rabid stuff. They must feel very righteous when they press the Enter key. So tedious. I glance at some just for a laugh. Irony is an important daily mineral, right?

Jo said...

Fortunately I haven't received any of those particular e-mails, but I do receive occasionally that says I will get a blessing from Mother Teresa or something, if I forward it to 30 of my closest friends in the next 5 seconds. Arrggghhh.

Lavinia is right. You should ask your "friend" to remove you from her distribution list, for the sake of saving your friendship.

Politics and religion can cause a lot of problems if people are not in complete agreement.

colleen said...

I guess she hasn't seen this video of people protesting Palin in Alaska: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk6_odKcjXI I have the same question about the majority of people who say they are for pro-life. Most were for our policies in Iraq that caused the deaths of a million children.

Employee No. 3699 said...

I sent a nice email to a group of about six people requesting they don't send me anything political. I got so tired of the anti-Obama crap. One of the people on that list was my mother-in-law.