In the wake of the attacks of September 11 (which of course we consider to be a hideous stain on humanity), we've gotten quite a bit of hate mail. Let's share a few gems:
Comment: "In a 30 minute address to a united country, last night, Bush nulified your site and all its content. You are out of a job, buddy. You and those losers in Berkley can go back to reading their copies of Lenin and wait for your next crackat putting a socialist in the whitehouse."
Name: "Yu Bloe"
Comment: "We can't wait until your site is restricted and then we'll load your IIS server with a NIMDA II virus and sing songs about your demise."
Name: Tim Horton
Comment: "This site and all those who contribute to it are an embarassment to themselves and all Americans. George W. Bush is our President. Live with it! At this sensitive time in our history, we should all stand behind our leaders. You would be clamoring for just that if Al Gore had won the election (which he did not). So stop all the juvenile name-calling and sour grapes whining. Use your efforts and your resources to help all Americans deal with the tragic situation we are currently involved in--and the long struggle ahead."
Comment: "I can't beleive you made a site for this. Have him try in 4 yrs. After we beat the rag heads Bush will be in for another 4. You Sore Looser... Sore Looserman"
Comment: "With the exception of socialist shit-holes like Berkeley, and leftwing socialist campuses like Cambridge and UCLA, you have no safe place to protest. Try moving out of your socialist bunkerand move out to mainstream America. Protest there and burn your flags. See how far you get. And make sure you get a lot of protection from the crowds too. You’ll need them."
Name: Angela Lynne Farritor
Comment: "Our President immediately halted air travel and did everything he immediately could to protect all of us, even whining snivvling people like you who have nothing better to do than gripe about other people instead of cleaning up your own act. Whether you believe it or not, there is a God, and one day you will die as all of us will, and one day you will stand before him and one of two things will happen to you in that very moment. He will either take you in His arms and say "Welcome my good and faithful servant", or He will turn his back and say "I do not know you". As the Bible says "He that acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father in Heaven, He who does not acknowledge me before men, I will not acknowledge before my Father in Heaven". The ironic thing about you is this: On the day of your final Judgement when God turns his back on you, you will wish that you had been like George W. Bush and acknowledged the Father. For this I truly pity you. Sincerely, Angela Farritor P.S. your comments about abortion, why don't you come on over to our Church, and we will perform a new procedure on you..."
The comments go on and on like this, but you get the idea. In general, they seem to fall into three categories:
Now, we've gotten the first two varieties of comments for some time, so let's just let them be. Besides, it's kind of fun to get the capitalist Word from self-appointed Prophets of the Lord. More worrisome are the third and fourth categories of comment.
It's quickly becoming fashionable to say that the "rag head" comments are only made by a very small, very marginal and mostly irrelevant minority. But just last week, Republican Congressman John Cooksey remarked, "If I see someone come in that's got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over."
Now, Rep. Cooksey didn't just toss this comment off to his aide when the mike was turned off, and the quote wasn't hearsay from some fella who used to be his friend. He said it on a widely broadcast radio show! And it wasn't some kooky sideshow powerless nobody who said it. This is a United States Congressman, a politician, a man who has built his career on saying the careful, inoffensive, popular thing. If a seasoned political operator feels comfy referring to Muslims as diaper-heads and arguing that they should be detained and searched as a group, how many must be standing behind him?
Cooksey's not alone among the muckety-mucks of the pro-war camp. When Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott openly calls for reduced civil liberties and conservative spiritual leader Jerry Falwell holds secular humanists and the ACLU culpable for the terrorist acts of September 9/11, it's time to read the writing on the wall. History teaches us something, and it ain't pretty. In the past, when Americans have felt threatened, we have been quick to react with bigotry. Looks like we're at it again.
An even louder call than the bigoted "rag head" chant is the cry to "fall in line." When wartime comes, the argument goes, it's time to fall in line behind our national leader, support his position, and do what he says to do. If we disagree, tough nougat: the patriotic thing to do is go along.
At this point, may I offer a hale and hearty "Bullshit!" to that line of argument? For one thing, all rhetoric to the contrary, we are NOT at war. Show me a declaration of war. T'ain't none, my friend. Problem is, we don't actually have a nation to declare war against. What we've got going on is a bunch of people in high places using the word "war" to persuade a lot of people to shut up, so they can go ahead and pursue their agenda without debate.
The funny thing is, I thought this was a "democracy." You know, that system of government where the people are trusted to make decisions about their own welfare? And I took it from Bush's latest big speech that we're defending "freedom" here. You know, that idea that says the best solutions come from allowing people to publicly disagree? Now, call me nutty, but I've got a sneaking suspicion that our hate-mailers don't actually like democracy or freedom very much at all. If we're fighting a war to defend democracy and freedom then maybe, just maybe, the real enemies of this idea we call America lurk within.
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