Conspiracy theories and self-serving politicians are always dangerous, and unfortunately, both abound in a time of crisis like the one we all are living through today. You could say they're the most dangerous viruses of all.
Panic levels are high, people are looking anywhere they can for answers and cruel, heartless individuals and right-wing groups are ready and willing to stoke their fears. It is no different, and probably a lot worse with the current COVID-19 pandemic magnified by social media and YouTube.
Yesterday my cousin in Florida, who is not in the same political camp as me, sent a link to a YouTube video with the title “Crime Watch Dr. Buttar Links Fauci & Bill Gates Sponsoring China Wuhan.” (Note: I am not providing a link to it because I don’t want these people getting lots of hits on it.)
The video was posted by a group called “Bad News” who said this is a “Must See: Anthony Fauci M.D. illegally contracts Wuhan Lab to create COVID-19 and warned of pandemic outbreak in 2017.” Based on this information I, of course, responded “FAKE!”
I didn’t even have to look at the video.
My cousin’s response was “I guess you’re going to get the chip put in.” That must have been prompted by recent fake stories that the government is developing a vaccine containing a chip to track everybody's movements.
After I stopped smacking my head, I told him that this tagging people theory has been around for decades. I remember my sister-in-law in the 70’s believing the conspiracy theory that barcodes on grocery items would lead to all of us being barcoded or chipped so the government could control us.
Didn’t happen then, not happening now.
“So why is Bill Gates involved?”, my cousin asked. I had to explain it was because he’s one of the good guys, not because he was trying to take over the world by creating a pandemic to crash the economy and make people vulnerable so he can implement his evil plans.
Fear Is Going Viral
The bottom line with my cousin, like so many millions of Americans, is that he is scared. This was eventually revealed during our Facebook Messenger exchange. He fears for the future of his children and grandchildren. He doesn’t know what to believe and he just wants assurance that everything will be alright. He doesn’t trust any politicians.
To which I replied, “I don’t either, except maybe Justin Trudeau and only because he’s hot. lol”
Lightening the conversation seemed to settle him down a bit and he said he prayed that I was right and he was wrong. I have been talking several of my loved ones off of emotional ledges lately.
When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, millions of us feared for our country. Millions of others are now finding out why we felt that way. Sometimes you have to hit people where it hurts the most to get them to see what is obvious to others.
Unfortunately, there are vultures out there preying on people’s heightened fears by spreading conspiracy theories intended to undermine and slander those who want to help or implement changes so this type of situation doesn’t happen again.
My Two Cents
This was my final piece of advice to my cousin. Don’t watch the news and don’t believe everything you hear or read, especially if it sounds fantastic. The more outrageous it is, the more fake it is.
Don’t vote for the politician who, last time, promised you’d see some financial gain from a big corporate tax break and it didn’t happen. Or the one who promised to give you a better healthcare plan than the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and instead wants to take it away with no replacement. Or one who talks about a booming economy that is only important if you have a million-dollar 401k or are heavily invested in the stock market.
My cousin has seen no trickle down from the corporate tax cut (his company cut much needed Christmas bonuses last year), is still on the ACA paying more than he should for family health insurance and he definitely does not have a million-dollar stock portfolio.
I recommended he vote for someone, regardless of their political party, who promises to do something that will personally benefit him and his family. If they win and don’t follow through, don’t vote for them a second time.
We the people have the power to end the real virus in this country – self-serving politicians who care nothing for people like my cousin. As for the conspiracy theorists, they will always be with us.
Too bad they can’t be voted out too.