Back in the day, we corresponded chiefly by postal mail; nowadays we call it snail mail — and it’s no wonder. Technology has equipped us with fast ways of communicating, what with email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. (Perhaps this is the reason the U.S. Postal Service is going broke.)
Like many folks, I’m inundated with email. I receive a good amount that pertains to my work and the rest can run the gamut, from hilarious to downright disturbing. It’s the latter I wonder about.
I suppose it’s because we’re fast approaching election year 2012 that the same hate-filled emails that circulated in 2008 are beginning to go viral and infiltrate my in-box. Surely I can understand why one may not support President Obama, but why put forth such blatant misinformation? It’s the same old unsubstantiated rhetoric that calls into question the president’s religion, patriotism or country of origin. (And let us not forget the birth certificate brouhaha.)
In August 2011, a claim circulated that President Obama wasn’t wearing his wedding ring in observance of Ramadan. (Ramadan in 2011 was from Aug. 1 to 29.) The email stated in part: “So it’s just a coincidence that Muslims are forbidden from wearing jewelry during the month of Ramadan??? (Think about that one.)” More blah, blah, blah, then, “And how convenient to be on vacation in Hawaii over Christmas so he doesn’t have to have a Christmas photograph of him and his family attending Christmas service.” I received this email at least three times, but who’s counting!
When I lived on Staten Island, I worked with a Muslim physician. We spoke recently and he informed me that Islam has no rule prohibiting the wearing of jewelry during Ramadan. Incidentally, my neighbor was killed in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, so I get it; but I also get that adrenaline-pumping emotion is a dangerous thing. We’ve got to bypass destructive emotions and think rationally: All Muslims aren’t extreme radical terrorists; likewise, all Italians aren’t cold-blooded Mafioso killers. You get my drift.
I received another gem attributed to historian and author David Kaiser. The email compares the United States to pre-Nazi Germany. It states: “The savior at the time was Adolf Hitler, who also proposed change; how coincidental that President Obama’s platform was change.” Mr. Kaiser notes in his blog, “History Unfolding,” that he didn’t pen this piece.
There’s no law saying we must like the president, so why obsess about his religion or whether he wears a flag lapel pin? Instead, we need to focus on substance and delve into the heart of the challenges facing our nation. And if you don’t agree with this administration, unlike the Hitler regime, we’re free to give our elected officials the boot. Why spend time worrying about nonsense?
Speaking of which, I received an email titled “Spend Wisely.” The message asks us to imagine that a bank would deposit $86,400 in our account daily. We are the only ones who can spend it, and what we don’t spend would be taken away from us. Each morning we would get another $86,400 to spend, but the bank can end the deposits without warning.
This magical bank is time. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us. What we haven’t lived up to that day is gone forever. Each morning our account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve our account at any time, without warning.
The sentiments expressed in the aforementioned email are quite sobering and hit me where I live. In reality, I squander a lot of time. Not only did I forward this thought-provoking email, but I read it daily.
But, funny thing, this lovely piece, to date, hasn’t gone viral. In fact, I received it only once. Something to ponder, eh?
Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.