For a good ten minutes today I was left gasping for breath by an e-mail that I had received. It was astounding in both the scope of its ignorance, and the breadth of its cognitive dissonance. It was a perfect storm of wingnuttery. And I was amazed that it had found its way to my inbox.
In the past, I've told you about the Corporate Dog Method for removing those unwanted and unsightly conservative e-mails from your sight. If you haven't heard of my patented and award-winning technique, then I suggest you click on the link and read about it now. It's brutal. It's punishing. It takes hostages, and has no qualms about executing them if demands aren't met.
Until now, I've been able to promote my program (on 10 cassettes or 30 convenient 8-track tapes) as having a 100% success rate. But that was until it went up against my mother-in-law.
Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George did everything he humanly could, in order to get fired from his job with the Yankees? And how, at each step of the process, Steinbrenner interpreted George's acts of insubordination as some sort of character-building exercise for the organization?
That's how antagonism is parsed by my mother-in-law. I could give her the ol' Scalia chin flip, and she'd just smile and shrug it off with a, "That's my son-in-law! Such a character!"
The Corporate Dog Method generally works. But when my foul-mouthed rants are met with a stoic, "I can always count on you to separate the wheat from the chaff!" it's time to try a new tactic. As Bruce Lee once said, "All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns."
And the e-mail that my mother-in-law sent me this evening was most definitely a problem in need of an adaptable approach. I'll spare you the text, suffice to say that it was a Newsmax joint, praising the heroism of Scott Walker, who stood up to a grand army of socialist fucksticks, and died for our sins on a cross made of union steel.
In order to salvage his good name (and once again bring freedom to the galaxy) The League of American Voters was hoping that they might be able to trouble you, the e-mail reading public, for a donation. Nothing big: just a few bucks for a radio ad on Wisconsin airwaves, a sizeable chunk of your soul, and your help in spreading the Gospel According to Koch.
What made this e-mail a virtual monument to cognitive dissonance, is the fact that my wife (her daughter) is a teacher, and in previous offline discussions, she'd LAMENTED the situation in Wisconsin. It was clear she had no idea who Walker was, or why he was anathema. She just latched onto the anti-Democratic vibe she got from the e-mail, and decided to take it for a ride.
History tells us of an ancient Shaolin monk named Xol'bert (or in some texts, Ching Chong Ding Dong) who mastered a technique of feinting, mimicing the movements of his opponent, and then striking once they were lulled into a false sense of security. He died, tragically, after attempting to use his technique on a marauding bear.
But I felt confident that his style would work in this situation, and I replied to my mother-in-law using the ancient forms that he pioneered:
Thank you for sending this out. I think it's critical that EVERYONE know what type of job Scott Walker's been doing as the governor of Wisconsin.
He and his Republican-controlled state congress voted to strip the public unions in his state (including those lazy, overpaid, good-for-nothing TEACHERS) of their collective bargaining rights. This means that state employees in Wisconsin no longer have a union to help negotiate their salaries and benefits. They no longer have a union to ensure that working conditions on the job meet certain safety requirements. And they no longer have a union to protect them, in the event that an administrator decides to arbtrarily fire them for reasons unrelated to actual job performance.
Walker also forced public employees to pay more into their own retirement. Which I think is good. Because if there's ANYONE who makes too much money, it's teachers, and janitors, and guys who work on road crews for the DoT.
You know what Walker was able to do with all that money he saved? He said he was forced to put his budget policy into effect to shore up a state deficit, but he's just being modest. He was able to give Wal-Mart and McDonalds and other multinational corporations that do business in Wisconsin $140 million in tax breaks! Which I think is good. Because if there's ANYONE who doesn't make enough money, it's Wal-Mart and McDonalds. The Walton family can send their kids to college now.
It also spurred hiring in his state! Walker was able to hire the son of one of his biggest campaign donors (Brian Deschane), for a job at the state commerce department, making $81,000 a year! This is despite the fact that this 27-year-old kid has no college degree, little management experience, and two arrests for drunk driving:
He was also able to hire the 26-year-old former lobbyist/mistress of a Republican state senator (Randy Hopper) for a state job, making $11,000 more per year than the person who previously filled the position:
At any rate, I know firsthand just how great Walker's policies are, because New Hampshire Republicans are trying to do exactly what he did in Wisconsin. And let's face it, MIL: your daughter is the EPITOME of a lazy, overpaid, and good-for-nothing state worker! If New Hampshire Republicans are able to do exactly what Walker did, she could be fired at-will, with no recourse for an appeal or review. I don't know about you, but I think that's FANTASTIC! She could trade in that job where she does nothing but drink wine and get massages all day, for two or three retail jobs. I think that might be sufficient in order to keep a roof over your grandchildrens' heads, and food in their bellies.
In short, if you think my wife is lazy and overpaid, by all means, donate to Governor Walker, as my dear MIL asked that you all do! He's got money rolling in from the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Koch Brothers, and other wealthy donors, but you know, your $5 will certainly be put to good use. He always needs toilet paper, after all.
On the other hand, if you think that the wealthiest fraction of a percentage of corporations and individuals in this country SHOULDN'T be able to buy a second fleet of yachts, then maybe you should consider donating to the Wisconsin Democratic Party:
They're trying to collect enough signatures to force a recall of the Republican Senators who voted for Walker's union-killing bill. And they need funds to do that.
At its core, this isn't about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about the rich versus everyone else. They're trying to kill off the middle class. And if you support the sort of unconstitutional, undemocratic tactics that Walker and his thugs forced on the people of Wisconsin, then YOU'RE helping them succeed.
I've heard from a few random people who were copied on my response. One was a teacher who applauded me. Another responder expressed amusement, and thanked me for the information.
I also heard from my brother-in-law. He lauded my overall point, but said that he didn't appreciate the tone I took with his mother. It seems that even when I'm TRYING to be a kinder, gentler Corporate Dog, I can't help being somewhat of a prick.
I told him I was actually trying to keep things as light as possible, but he had to appreciate the fact that this was my family (and his sister) in the crosshairs. Money that's used to support Walker and his ilk, is money that's used to attack us directly. And that's just not cool.
I have yet to hear from my mother-in-law. Hopefully she's reflecting on this, and accepts it with the same teflon optimism that's kept her from taking offense at any of my other political screeds. It doesn't happen very often, but for one brief moment, it was actually my goal to inform, rather than attack.
Update: The rec list? I hearby take back anything bad I ever said about DK4. DK4 is magic. And love. It's a hot, steaming, magic/love burrito.
Update #2: The mother-in-law speaks. I'll spare you her exact words, because they were disjointed and I didn't fully understand them. But she said she supported teachers, and wouldn't want to see her daughter fired. I believe her on this. Like I said: we've talked about Wisconsin in the past, and she said she didn't like what was happening there. It really boils down to a "Forgive her, Lord, she knows not what she does." scenario.
But then she claimed that she sent the e-mail, in order to illustrate how nasty politics can get on "both sides". There was a chunk of the original Newsmax e-mail that talked about "Obama allies and their way of doing business", which I guess is what she was keying in on? You're asking me to to comprehend something translated into Esperanto, from it's original Moon language.
If her intent was to generate discussion, I question why she didn't make any comments on the Newsmax article. She just sent it. Which makes it read like a request for donations. Which is what it was.
She went on to tell me that she had several polite, respectful discussions with other teachers that were copied on her e-mail. Which is just wonderful. Good for them. But I'm not them.