Yesterday, the mainstreet media informed us that the Secret Service was investigating a person who created a Facebook survey asking people if President Obama should be assassinated.
You can find many thousands of user generated surveys out there on Facebook today.. Most of them of course deal with “hot topics” that serve to excite, upset, enrage or engage. Some of the most popular right now are: “Do you support our President’s healthcare plan?” and “Should the word ‘God’ be removed from US currency?” While these are most certainly hot topics to be discussed around the water cooler, neither jeopardize the democratic form of government we all hold dear.
My question, are we teaching our children in school today the very core principles we seek to educate foreign nationals seeking US citizenship? Are our public schools educating our children in how to be a good citizen? Certainly Title 18 of the US Code has been around for a long time and is seminal to the protection of our democracy. Do our kids know that:
“Whoever knowingly and willfully … threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
While facebook polls certainly allow us to advance our individual beliefs into public discussion and collect non-scientific metrics about public sentiment; our core passions should not interrupt our responsibilities as US citizens to protect and defend the form of government that has assured us peace and tranquility that we have come to expect.
So what do you think? Is a poll that encourages murder of a public official a taboo topic for you? If not, what risks are there to our democracy when open threats become reality? Come on social media gurus out there. Speak up!