The Internet is sometimes a double-edged sword. It’s undoubtedly been one of the biggest inventions in all of human history. Right now I can send a message all the way to China instantly with just a simple click of a button, or look at my friend living in Germany eye to eye via Apple’s FaceTime video call on my iPhone. The nerd in me still gets fascinated by technology that we’ve been using for years.
On the other hand, the Internet has also made it much easier to spread lies, misinformation or absolute nonsense. It’s also made privacy almost all but impossible and I personally believe our over dependence on cyber communication and interaction (text, instant messages, photo sharing like Instagram) is also having a very dangerous effect on how we behave as a society. For example, I believe many people have become much more narcissistic and we’ve become desensitized to how we treat other people because it’s so easy to be rude or mean to some via the Internet.
But one thing about the Internet is, it’s almost just as easy to be duped by something as it is to avoid being duped. Typically a simple Google search can save you from looking like a complete fool by citing something (a story, quote, stat, etc.) that isn’t real.
That’s a lesson Ohio Governor John Kasich might want to learn the next time he tries to use a quote supposedly said by one of our nation’s most revered presidents.
While speaking with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, the proposal President Obama has pushed for that would provide free community college to Americans was brought up and naturally the Republican governor opposed any mention of raising taxes on the rich to pay for it. But instead of simply using the typical right-wing rhetoric to defend the wealthy like most Republicans use, Kasich apparently felt like trying to sound intelligent by quoting Abraham Lincoln.
“You can’t build a little guy up by tearing the big guy down,” Kasich said. “Abraham Lincoln said it then, and he’s right.”
There’s just one slight problem – Lincoln never said that.
The first rule of quoting anyone is to identify the proper context of that quote. Just because someone says something that sounds as if it might fit a particular narrative you’re trying to push doesn’t mean that the actual quote itself applies. Even had Lincoln said this, considering he would have said it in the mid-1800’s chances are he would have been speaking about a much different scenario than what we’re dealing with in this country currently as it relates to our national debt, taxes and the best ways to maintain a society.
But, again, Lincoln never said those words.
Besides, just because Lincoln was a Republican, doesn’t mean the modern day GOP is the “party of Lincoln.” Anyone who cares to take just a few minutes to use the aforementioned Internet can easily look up our history and learn about how the ideological stances of the parties began switching around the 40’s and 50’s, rapidly changing with the emergence of the “Southern strategy.”
So the next time Kasich wishes to quote Lincoln to try to defend the rich, he might first want to know the context of the quote he’s trying to use, then make certain that Lincoln actually said it. That way he doesn’t look like a complete fool using fake quotes on national television.