I have a confession to make: I did something I'm not proud of today. I...I...I replied to a right-wing e-mail forward. Oh, I'm so ashamed!
I very rarely receive right-wing nonsense in my inbox, and when I do it's always from a family member I don't feel like arguing with. And besides, what good does it do, right? So my policy is usually to ignore and delete.
But today, I just couldn't help myself. Maybe it was because I was feeling extra snippy this morning. Maybe it was because this particular person, my dad's cousin, just wouldn't stop with the e-mail forwards. I have received so many from him, and they're almost always dripping with racism and birtherism and general batshit insanity. Whatever the reason, I snapped today when I got an e-mail entitled "Think about these facts."
Obvious problem right off the bat, because nothing in the e-mail was factual. But I probably didn't have to tell you that. Follow me below the fold, and put on your scuba gear, because we're about to dive into some deep stupidity.
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I clicked on the e-mail (first mistake) and found a list of ten items with the title "Only in America." Brace yourself for this:
Only in AmericaWith every item I read, I found myself breathing harder and my hands trembling, ready to let out a blood-curdling scream. The sheer idiocy of this list was just enough to ruin my morning. I know, I know, I gave him too much power by letting it bother me so. But this was just the e-mail that broke the camel's inbox.
1) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $45,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.
2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black, while only 12% of the population is black.
3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who were in favor of higher taxes.
4) Only in America can we have terrorists kill women and children in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be upset by the backlash.
5) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American citizens.
6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."
7) Only in America could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check, get a library card or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
8) Only in America could people demand governments who take $.45 tax on a gallon of gas investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes in China (Nike).
9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
10) Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income tax dollars be accused of not paying their "fair share" by the 51% of the population who don't pay any income taxes at all.
I was about to delete the e-mail when I decided I was going to respond. With a list of my own. A list called "Only in Republican America." What follows is not some of my best writing, mainly because I was pissed as hell and just banging on my keyboard. But here goes nothing. Hey, maybe this can turn into a left-wing e-mail forward.
Only in Republican AmericaI did not get a reply. Instead, I got another e-mail from him, this time full of racist/birther cartoons and images, among other right-wing masturbatory material. To which I responded with a few images of my own. I then received (again) not a reply, but another e-mail, this time about "illegals." At this point, I decided to disengage.
1) Only in Republican America could a presidential candidate accuse the NAACP of wanting "free stuff" from the government while taking a $77,000 tax credit for his pet horse.
2) Only in Republican America could a Republican Congress that ran on a jobs platform vote 33 TIMES to repeal Obamacare and 0 TIMES on the President's jobs bill.
3) Only in Republican America could African Americans face a 32% chance of ending up in prison compared to 6% for whites, while some whites still claim racism doesn't exist because we have a black President. Guess that fixes everything. Slavery? Lynching? Jim Crow? American history of racism? All solved and atoned for on November 4, 2008! Spread word to the African Americans spending decades in prison for crimes for which their white counterparts would get a slap on the wrist...racism is dead!
4) Only in Republican America could a health care bill propping up the private health insurance industry that was designed by Republicans in the 1990s be dubbed "socialism" by Republicans in 2012. Only in Republican America could a bill that is based on expanding private coverage and making permanent the hold the private health insurance industry has on our health care system be described as a government takeover. Only in Republican America could Americans be expected to be dumb enough to believe that.
5) Only in Republican America could a presidential candidate claim to be in favor of small government and individual liberty while, at the same time, backing a constitutional amendment prohibiting gays' and lesbians' freedom to marry and believing that the proper place of the government is inside a woman's uterus.
6) Only in Republican America could a Democratic President be berated and taunted for using a teleprompter when the Republican presidential candidate not only used a teleprompter at his NAACP speech but actually read "end of quote" from the teleprompter out loud. Seems the real complaint is that the Democrat can read a teleprompter with some level of competence.
7) Only in Republican America could a bill extending health insurance to millions of Americans be repealed 33 times with NO replacement bill. The answer from Speaker Boehner? Trust the Republicans, America...trust the Republicans to replace the important, popular protections extended by Obamacare. Just like you trusted us to create jobs. Hardy har har, now give us your votes, your tax money, your bedroom keys, and unfettered access to your uteri, please.
8) Only in Republican America could Americans be expected to believe Romney is anything but an empty suit, puppet of the right wing, and shameless opportunist who has no actual core values or conscience. Romneycare? Forget it! Flip-flop on abortion and gay rights? Nothing to see here! No position on Lily Ledbetter or the Violence Against Women Act? Hold on, gotta check with the puppet masters...
9) Only in Republican America could a poll tax in the form of voter ID laws be implemented in response to a non-existent voter fraud "problem" and be sold as anything BUT a blatant attempt to keep minorities and youth from the polls in 2012 to strengthen a party already strengthened beyond belief by Citizens United.
10) Only in Republican America could anyone not in the top 1% of income earners defend a tax structure in which they pay a higher percentage in taxes than Warren Buffett. Only in Republican America (or Bizarro World) is this anything but absolutely insane.
Did I accomplish anything? No. Not one thing. I didn't sway him, and he certainly didn't sway me. Did it make me feel better to go off on him? Hell yes. But it reminded me of a lesson I'd learned many times before: With
some most right-wingers, there is just no having any kind of productive dialogue. Better to work on defeating them.