On Thanksgiving Day, I learned first-hand how horribly divided our country is, how much hatred exists and how truly misinformed many of our citizens are.
On this day of celebration, a seemingly sweet and intelligent woman thought it was a good day to berate President Obama.
When I told her I supported him and politics might not be an appropriate topic for a Thanksgiving gathering she laughed and "forgave" me for being a Democrat and continued her tirade.
She blamed President Obama for the bad economy, "his wars," the Wall Street bailout, the auto industry bailout, the housing market crash, for "ramming Obamacare down our throats" and for all of "his entitlements that got us into this mess."
She referred to Democrats as communists and claimed "Obama's cabinet is full of Marxists." I asked her to name one but she couldn't. Then she told me about Stalin's troops storming the homes of his subjects, killing or imprisoning them and stealing their property.
Then with a straight face she said, "We can't let that happen here but that's where we're headed." Seriously?
I wondered how she could be so misinformed and filled with such hate. She was certainly around when President Bush launched the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001 after the 911 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq on March 19, 2003 after his concerted effort to sell the war to Congress.
I'm also sure she knows the housing bubble burst in the fall of 2008 while President Bush was still in office orchestrating the Wall Street bailout (Oct. 3, 2008 for $700 billion) and the automotive industry bailout (Dec. 19, 2008 for $17.4 billion).
How could anyone in this media-saturated world not know?
Her Obamacare claim echoed Mike Huckabee's deceitful ad; "In the middle of the night behind locked doors they passed Obamacare and rammed it down the throats of the American people."
Sorry, Pastor Mike, but "Obamacare" (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) passed the Senate on Dec. 24, 2009 and the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010. That's how our government is supposed to work.
She talked about Social Security and Medicare as though they were welfare programs. I reminded her that Social Security and Medicare are funded by the premiums (payroll tax) the beneficiaries and our employers have been paying for most of our working careers. It wasn't until Congress started raiding the trust funds decades ago that the programs began to suffer.
The fault is with Congress, certainly not President Obama. Silly me; her mind was set and she was in no mood for facts.
Sadly, this religiously devout woman showed the same contempt for the poor and needy that is spouted by conservative talk show hosts and their followers.
And worse, it mirrored the sentiments of many of the GOP presidential candidates that "the poor are poor because they choose to be poor" and the reason the jobless and the homeless are in such straits is because "they are lazy and don't want to work."
For a group courting the religious right they seem to ignore Deuteronomy 15:11; "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."
I shouldn't have been surprised at her lack of recall of recent history and her disinterest in learning the truth.
There is a huge media mechanism in place to make sure the GOP electorate is fed a steady and repetitive diet of hatred, fear and misinformation.
Unfortunately, that is the only source millions of voters use for their "news and views."
It is a shame that this woman and millions of others allow the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter and their ilk to distort the truth and influence their thinking. I'm OK with having ideological and political differences but reporting lies as truth and ignoring history is simply fraudulent.
As the political war heats up and the blame game kicks into high gear, the talk show hosts won't be able to help themselves. They won't stick to facts. They will opt for lies, deceit, spin and distortion.
Unfortunately, they make their very generous livings stirring up hatred and telling their followers what they think they want to hear.
So, in the spirit of bringing some truth, sanity and civility to 2012, I offer the following; if you hear it from any of the party-leaning "news and views" shows, ignore the sizzle and bluster, question their motives and, most importantly, check the facts.
There is a significant ethical difference between reporting news and brainwashing. So, please leave the lies out of the debate or, as Sargent Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am".
Beauchamp is a retired aerospace marketing director and consultant and a member of the local Coffee Party now living in North Ogden.