If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen many of these memes. I’d like to point out some of the ones that I’m not much of a fan of. Take this one from Elder Ezra Taft Benson.
On the one hand, it seems to be intended for conservative leaning folks, those who can’t seem to stomach Donald Trump’s overt racism, and those who think Hillary Clinton is a perpetual liar. So, you seem forced to choose the lesser of two evils, so the quote from Benson makes sense. Voting for evil is still evil, right?
Here’s the problem with the meme.
Benson’s record on race relations isn’t exactly any better than Trump’s. Did you know that segregationist George Wallace wrote 2 letters to President McKay in 1968 asking for Benson to be his Vice Presidential running mate, and Benson wanted to run? I can’t think of a more evil candidate than George Wallace, and that sure doesn’t look very good that Benson was willing to team up with such an awful presidential candidate.
Furthermore, when Jack Welch of the John Birch Society called former President Eisenhower “a tool of the communists,” Benson (who had served as Eisenhower’s Secretery of Agriculture) refused to condemn the remarks, prompting Idaho Senator Frank Church to call Benson on the carpet for refusing to support President Eisenhower. The lack of appreciation for President Eisenhower is truly astonishing to me.
But if you don’t want to vote for either Clinton or Trump, please note that Mitt is endorsing Gary Johnson. Maybe you can vote for Johnson as the best of the other 2 evil candidates? http://www.timesofisrael.com/romney-says-may-vote-for-libertarian-gary-johnson-who-is-rising-in-polls/
Then there is this meme about President Lee.
This one seems directly squarely at those liberal members of the church who seem to disagree with the Church’s politics on topics like gay marriage and female ordination. The meme seems to be saying, “Get in line with the prophet! They know what’s going on! Not you!”
What’s the problems with this meme?
Well, President Lee was against civil rights for black Americans, and, as historian Michael Quinn tells it, responsible for keeping the ban in place when the Quorum of the Twelve voted to end the ban in 1969. According to Quinn, “Lee persuaded the Twelve to rescind its vote.” (Extensions of Power, p. 14) I’d say his politics were wrong on that issue, so I don’t find a lot to celebrate with this quote. In fact, I’d find the quote to be a sad tale of him standing on the wrong side of history.
But lest we think that conservatives are the only ones with bad memes out there, alas this problem affects liberals as well, and perhaps much worse. Some liberals flatly make up memes with no basis in fact. Consider this meme.
The problem? Trump never said those words. Ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand Trump, but these words are a flat out lie. According to Snopes.com,
Despite People‘s comprehensive online content archive, we found no interview or profile on Donald Trump in 1998 (or any other time) that quoted his saying anything that even vaguely resembled the words in this meme. Trump appeared somewhat regularly in the magazine’s pages before he came to star on The Apprentice, but the bulk of the magazine’s celebrity-driven coverage of him back then centered on his marriages to, and divorces from, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.
Along with the meme were these words.
If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.
According to Snopes,
Notable about the image’s apparently spurious Trump quote is its purported reference to Fox News in 1998. While the Fox News Channel was rolled out across major American news markets between 1996 and 2000 (and thus isn’t entirely chronologically out of place in a circa-1998 quote), the network wasn’t nearly as prominent or widely watched until the 2000 election of George W. Bush, the September 11th attacks in 2001, and the start of the Iraq War in 2002. Before that time, although Fox News was making its way into living rooms across the United States, it was not exceptionally well-known (or particularly regarded as a right-leaning outlet) in 1998.
What bad memes are you aware of? Have you ever shared a meme you found out later was completely false, or severely out of context?
Memes are the enemy of wisdom, including ones I agree with. They all oversimplify complex topics to the point of obstructing any deeper understanding.