It’s a very different life when you wake up one morning and see that people are very publicly posting on the homepage of your organization’s website that they are going to murder you and those who support you as well as all those who happen to share your ethnicity, culture and/or religious faith.
I founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) in the early 2000s and, in so doing, became a thing that is called a “public figure.”
Now, if you are a professional athlete or Hollywood entertainer, being one of these “public figure” creatures can, I assume, be really cool.
But if you do what I do as a civil rights advocate leading a large civil rights organization, it’s not quite that way.
It’s far more lonely, dangerous, brutal, and expensive.
It’s taken many, many years for me to get used to being in the public eye, and not all of it is bad. But a lot of it sure as hell can be. The constant hate is almost indescribable.
I get it.
As I’ve said many times before, my job as a national civil rights advocate is NOT to be the “pearl in the oyster.” Rather, my job is to be the IRRITANT in that oyster that causes the pearl to form.
When you start being such an irritant to the powers that be, especially where we do it in the U.S. armed forces, the VA, and the Intelligence Agencies, there WILL be perpetual backlash and much of it is personal, ugly, and hurtful. This blowback comes with the territory, and we all here at MRFF accept that fact and do our best to acclimate to it.
But over the last few weeks, and especially since the gruesome bloodbath at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 of this year, we have suddenly seen a new type of brazenly public hate attack. This new version is beyond what we’ve experienced in the past when such onslaughts of prejudice and bigotry usually arrived via phone, e-mail, or snail mail directly to me and some of our key MRFF staffers, or sometimes directly deployed at my residence.
Now the attacks are prominently posted on the MRFF website for everyone to experience (specific MRFF supporters named in these comments have been redacted):
(The phrase “anudda Shoah,” or another holocaust in a mocking Yiddish accent, is an anti-Semitic slur that became popular among white supremacists in 2014 and increasingly thereafter. Read more here.)
In this post, the red commenter name is a link to a vile white supremacist extremist site called The Right Stuff:
I’m not going to deep dive/delve into the reflective and poetic analysis of what such heinous comments mean for the ramifications of American society or democratic polity. I’ll let you all do that for yourselves.
Those of us with rational and reasonable brains know very well that the United States of America is not what it used to be, even recently, and why.
Innumerable opinion editorials and countless daily media news stories have detailed our rapid descent into the abyss of bigotry, prejudice, and hatred wrought mainly by far-right, extremist Christian nationalism all too well.
But I just wanted to let you all see, reflect, and cogitate on EXACTLY what this precipitous fall looks like to one guy, his family, his civil rights foundation, and all who support us.
How would it make YOU feel to be told in a very public manner that you and yours have been specifically and deliberately targeted for murder?
What can we do, you may ask?
There is one thing above all others:
VOTE TO STOP THIS DISASTER IN NOVEMBER ’22 TO PROTECT OUR CHERISHED AMERICAN DEMOCRACY!
WHILE WE STILL HAVE ONE.