From yet another person, I’ve just received one of those supposedly curious emails about Barack Obama. But wait, what’s wrong with simply asking questions about our next potential president? Isn’t it about a free and open discourse, that quintessentially American trait?
Well, here’s how you test it. When you see “Muslim” replace it with “Jew” or “Christian” (or any number of other affiliations) and ask yourself how you’d feel about receiving an anonymous e-mail with purple, tortured grammar, asking questions that are all fairly easy to answer with Google.
My sample below is Jewish, because I received a version of the email from a Jewish listserv. This was my response along with a short note: “We Jews, of all people, should understand that fear of ‘the other,’ whatever category or color, is very dangerous. ‘Never again’ is impoverished unless it’s never again for anyone, anywhere.”
Now, sit back and enjoy [photo below, of Barack and his NICE WHITE MOTHER Ann Dunham, courtesy of BlackAmericans.com]…
HIS FATHER WAS AN ISRAELI, A JEW, AND OLIVE-SKINNED—WE SEEN ALL THOSE PICTURES OF HIS NICE ISRAELI FAMILY.
HIS MOTHER IS KANSAN, ATHEIST, AND WHITE. SO—WHERE ARE ALL THOSE PICTURES OF HIS NICE WHITE MOTHER AND HIS NICE WHITE GRANDPARENTS—THE ONES WHO RAISED HIM ALL THOSE EARLY YEARS?
HIS FATHER DESERTED HIS MOTHER AND HIM WHEN HE WAS VERY YOUNG AND MOVED BACK TO LIVE WITH HIS FAMILY IN ISRAEL (THAT’S THE ONES IN THE PICTURES).
HIS WHITE CHRISTIAN MOTHER THEN MARRIED A NEW YORK JEW AND TOOK HIM TO THE CITY OF BROOKLYN WHERE HE WAS FIRST SCHOOLED IN A JEWISH SCHOOL.
HIS MOTHER THEN MOVED TO HAWAII AND HE WAS RAISED BY HIS WHITE MIDDLE-AMERICAN GRANDPARENTS THERE.
UMMM…NOW HERE’S THE HARD PART FOR ME (HEP ME OUT HERE, IFFN YOU CAN):
SOMEHOW, SUDDENLY—HE WENT TO THE BEST HIGH DOLLAR PREP SCHOOLS IN AMERICA, AND LATER, HE GOT INTO A TOP IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE AND LATER, INTO HARVARD LAW SCHOOL—HOW? WHO SPONSORED HIM? WHO PAID FOR ALL THAT SCHOOLING? (HAVE YOU LOOKED AT TUITION EXPENSES TO ATTEND UNDERGRADUATE YALE LATELY? HOW ABOUT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL? SOMEBODY PAID A LOT OF BUCKS FOR THIS KID’S IVY LEAGUE EDUCATION…….) WHO?
A SENATOR’S SALARY IS NOT THAT GREAT, BUT THIS YOUNG MAN AND HIS YOUNG WIFE PRESENTLY LIVE IN A $1.4 MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE THAT HE ACQUIRED THROUGH A “DEAL” WITH A WEALTHY FUND RAISER.
WHAT SORT OF “DEAL”?
RIGHT OUT OF HARVARD LAW, HE “WORKED” AS AN ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE ACTIVIST IN CHICAGO.
HE THEN ENTERED POLITICS AT THE STATE LEVEL AND THEN MOVED TO THE NATIONAL LEVEL—WHERE HE SCRAMBLES TODAY WITH VERY MINIMAL EXPERIENCE IN ANYTHING—WHILE OTHER PEOPLE WRITE HIS SPEECHES FOR HIM.
IN ALL HIS TIME IN THE STATE AND NATIONAL LEGISLATURES—HE’S NEVER LAUNCHED ANY IMPORTANT LEGISLATION WHATSOEVER. MOSTLY, HE’S OUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.
HE CLAIMS TO BE “PROUD OF HIS JEWISH HERITAGE.” BUT IT SEEMS THAT HIS ONLY CONNECTION WITH ISRAEL THAT HIS ISRAELI FATHER GOT A WHITE GIRL PREGNANT AND THEN DESERTED HER.
UMMM….WHERE IS THE PRIDE IN HIS CHRISTIAN HERITAGE? AFTER ALL—IT WAS WHITE GRANDPARENTS THAT RAISED HIM!
HE IS PRESENTLY A MEMBER (FOR OVER 20 YEARS!) OF A “PRO-ISRAEL” SYNAGOGUE IN CHICAGO THAT HATES MUSLIMS, HATES CHRISTIANS, AND BLAMES AMERICA FOR ALL THE WORLD’S FAULTS.
HE REPEATEDLY COVERS UP FOR THAT RABBI AND THAT SYNAGOGUE—SAYING THAT HE CAN SEPARATE THE RELIGION FROM THE POLITICS, WHEN HE HEARS A CHRISTIAN-HATING SERMON.
HE CLAIMS THAT HE IS SIMPLY UNABLE TO CONFRONT HIS PASTOR OF 20+ YEARS ABOUT THE PASTOR’S DEMONSTRATED UNAMERICAN BIAS, BUT HE WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT HE CAN CONFRONT NORTH KOREA AND IRAN, WHEN THE TIME ARISES TO TAKE AMERICA’S SIDE.
YEAH—WITH THIS BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE, HE “HOPES” THAT HE COULD BE A UNITER AND BRING US ALL TOGETHER;
BUT—I THINK THAT THE REAL “HOPE” IS, THAT HE REALLY HOPES,
THAT NO ONE WILL PUT ALL THESE PIECES TOGETHER, UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION.
What’s most frustrating about bigoted screeds like this one isn’t really that it’s a bigoted screed. What’s most frustrating (to me anyway) is that the inspiration behind these smears is the understanding that the right questions aren’t being asked, that the level of discourse in the media is two grades below Speak and Spell, and that, in early 21st-century America, facts are always contingent.