Commentary: An open letter to the electronic right
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2012 - Dear Paranoid, Right-Wing Email Guys: I write to you in the fourth year of the Reign of Obama the First. In keeping with the spirit of the moment, allow me to begin by apologizing. My salutation above is admittedly stereotypical and for that I am truly sorry.
There may be a lot of nutty, left-wing women who annoy their associates with delusional email but I just don’t know any of them. It must say something about my station in life that my electronic posse seems to consist almost exclusively of white men in late middle-age who took early retirement.
Freed from the burden of earning a living, you guys at long last have ample time to fulfill your personal destiny. Psychologists often refer to the enriching experience of truly realizing one’s inner potential as self-actualization. You might paint, write or sculpt, thus etching the imprint of your passion into the collective consciousness. Failing that, you can always play golf or fish.
Of course, this endless summer of unlimited leisure doesn’t play out quite the way your financial planner portrayed it. After all, the charm of getting away from it all entails having something to get away from. Once the gears no longer shift when Sunday night melds into Monday morning, recreation becomes redundant. From what do you escape when you go fishing now — golf?
My Irish grandmother used to caution that an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. Judging from the contents of my inbox, a lot of you folks have demonstrated her point by developing obsessions with internet porn and politics. Given your perspectives on the latter subject, I’m not quite sure which pastime is morally superior.
Let’s get one thing clear up front: Barack Obama is probably not the Anti-Christ. He strikes me as a pleasant fellow with an attractive wife, two cute kids and a dog, who parlayed a thin resume and a gift for oration with a disastrous predecessor to win a trip to the Oval Office. As a south Chicago Democrat, he’s more liberal than I am, but our differences appear to pertain more to the mundane than the metaphysical. And yes, I know he’s black.
As president, he’s enjoyed exclusive control over the launch codes to our nuclear arsenal for the past 3½ years. Shouldn’t the Prince of Darkness have blown us up by now? So far, his most sinister machinations seem to involve the effort to provide everyone with affordable health care. As villainous plots go, that one strikes me as being a bit lame.
Alternatively, if he really is the devil’s disciple, do you really think he’ll surrender power because of an election result? What kind of mischief might he conjure up during his lame-duck period?
Yet, none of these reasonable considerations assuages your suspicions or dissuades you from sending me daily dispatches concerning his alarming hidden agenda and his ominous inner self. Apparently, this atheistic, Muslim commie is determined to destroy the United States. Q: If he succeeds, wouldn’t he put himself out of a job?
As the election nears, the tenor of your missives grows more hyperbolic, which tells me things may not be going too well for your team. Fifty days out, RealClear politics identifies 9 toss-up states worth 110 electoral votes that will decide the contest. Obama is presently ahead in 8 of these, giving him 95 of the disputed votes. If that projection holds, the incumbent will coast to a comfortable 332-206 win in the Electoral College.
In response, one of you sent me a video of a (supposed) former Navy Seal decrying Obama’s willingness to give aid and comfort to our terrorist adversaries. Though Osama bin Laden was unavailable for interview, the polemic was 22 minutes long and all but indicted the president for treason.
This latter day “swift boat” redux, combined the usual unsubstantiated attacks on his parentage, character and religion tell me that you will stop at nothing to defame the man’s reputation. Unfortunately for your side, the gullible souls who are susceptible to this slander are already in your camp. The rest of us tend to be turned off by it — the louder you shout, the less we listen.
Back when we were all working, I don’t remember you guys as being particularly devote. In fact, the subject of religion almost never came up between us. Now, however, you routinely appeal to my Christian heritage to spur hatred and mistrust. Have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount? And while I’m no theologian, I seem to remember a commandment that demanded we not bear false witness against our neighbors. Has that one been repealed for the election season?
Anyway, guys, just a few thoughts for you to consider before the next time you hit the send button. Regards and keep in touch — or not.