28 September 2009

Facebook poll on Obama assassination

The big news over this past weekend was a poll posted to Facebook via its Polls application. Its question was: "Should Barack Obama be killed?" There were four possible answers: "Yes," "No," "Maybe," and "Yes if he takes away my healthcare."

I was first alerted to this question by a friend, who chose to report it to Facebook for offensive content. I immediately reported for offensive content myself. By Monday, the uproar was so severe, not only over the brazen threat on the President's safety, but also Facebook's inability to respond in a timely manner. Only in the later hours of Monday did Facebook shut down the Polls application, by which time the Secret Service was also involved, and questioning Facebook.

The recent trend, as well demonstrated by the September 12th teabagger rally in Washington DC, is that the prospect of a nonwhite President with a foreign-sounding name is simply too much for the far right to take. They smell blood, between the Obama agenda which is about to start undoing three decades of the Reagan-Bush legacy, and an equally frustrated liberal camp which is fed up at Obama's inability to undo that legacy faster. America is polarized as ever, Obama's leadership can never be decisive enough, and all of a sudden, it's fair game to call for the murder of the President of the United States, which has always been a felony.

I'll gladly agree or disagree with Obama based on his job performance and positions, but I have zero tolerance for those who want to harm him and destroy the American democracy. I also have zero tolerance for the media outlets, such as Fox News, which have served to encourage the teabaggers and validate their lies (i.e. Obama being a Kenyan-born Muslim extremist). I would rather see raucous but healthy debates on the future of the US, on more important issues like healthcare reform, foreign policy, and immigration reform, than waste time dealing with the barbarians who seek not to help, but to destroy.

Facebook's slow response also further confirms my suspicions, that Facebook's management is sympathetic to far-right causes. Facebook considers me, in fact, to be the heartbeat of California's Republican ethnic theocracy, and sends me tons of ads asking me to support the likes of Glenn Beck (who is largely responsible for the rhetoric), Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and even Joe Wilson (the Congressman who shouted "YOU LIE" to Obama during a congressional speech). Although I have the ability to indicate that I like/dislike individual ads, when it comes to these far-right ads, they only load even more frequently. Many Facebook friends vow to move on to an alternate, more progressive social networking site should one be founded - and I will gladly be joining them.