I recently received a forward from an old friend and, opened it, so the rest of this story is my own fault.
I typically operate by the policy that the email abbreviation “fwd:” stands for “delete on arrival.”This approach has saved me hours, if not weeks, of time being spared from pondering imponderables, staring at kittens, slurping through syrupy iambs, and puzzling out cheesy GIF animation all of which is supposed to stand-in for a legitimate communication from some specific person to me. But this came from an old friend, who, though he is quite the right-winger, is a wise and kind person. He further has sent me dozens if not hundreds of forwards since he moved away and our real world relationship moved online.
This one had the cutesy title of “What Deer Think.” Knowing my friend to be former military and a gun enthusiast, I expected something along the lines of the occasional scientific thing or some joke deriving from the fun of hunting. Instead I got a purported Ted Nugent quote about how deer weren’t smart enough to think and that, like Democrats they were only interested in what they could eat, who they could screw and if they could get away if caught. As a joke it was but on the same kind of right-wing precepts and memes that fill inboxes across America. Generated who knows where in some Heritage Foundation styled “Humor” factory these forwards fuel much of the daily distain many liberals feel in places where they walk through a sea of conservative aggression.
BTW, people on the right, the left have no equivalent for this on our side, no forward factory of left wing zingers that I know of. It is unsettling to see how entrenched this anti-liberal attitude is as a part of your daily life that you even send each other forwards to laugh at us. I believe the usual response to something like this is something, “har-har.” Mine was:
This isn't the least offensive quote i've heard from Ted. In fact, it's a relatively harmless in comparison i guess to some of the clips from him i've seen; but let me be clear: I am NOT a supporter of Ted Nugent, never really loved his music (didn't buy any albums then when he was popular and I was young with discretionary money) and now I merely find him hugely offensive, largely in reaction to his hateful and violent rhetoric in particular against liberals like myself. Nugent's rock n roll past may make him seem harmless to many a right-winger, but as far as i am concerned i thought he was a dangerous man even before he started sending out hate-speech. I don't know if you are familiar with the speech he gave onstage about Obama and Clinton, but here is the link:
There is much more if you enjoy that sort of thing.
I, for one, do not. ______, in general i hold you in high esteem and think you a well-considered person. I ask you to consider this then: Our country is falling towards a crisis that could lead to out-in-out violence and open rebellion. Many on both sides, right and left, forget political parties here, i mean the real right and left, are increasing their rhetoric and activity.
I myself have become a very active Occupy protester, 1st attending events in various places and now becoming an organizer locally. I do this in fear for and in love of my country. Love, tolerance, and understanding, but most of all peaceful behavior are things that i am promoting. Being on the front lines, both in the press and in person on this issue, i can tell you that those on the right are not championing peace, but violence and hatred.
I fear a violent right-wing takeover of our country since that is the rhetoric they use. I fear i, and people i love personally and some i respect politically, would be their targets; and i have been a good man and done for my country and do so now. I feel it is wrong to want me dead for that, but i also suspect there are many on the right who relish the idea of the deaths of me abd liberals across America. I know because they talk about it often enough. Ted Nugent speaks for a lot of people who bought into that whole "hate the liberal to the point you joke about killing them" comedy merchandise i see all too much of in my redneck of the woods.
Though you are clearly avidly military, i have not thought of you as a person to promote, however tangentially, hatred and violence. Ted Nugent's hostility isn't representative of my image of you, though i feel politically you are probably more aligned to him than me. I ask you think about the importance of peace at this time of crisis.
I have received forwards from you for a long time and enjoyed many. I ask you to respect me enough to skip sending me Ted Nugent material for sure, but all that "hate the stupid liberal" supposed-comedy stuff in general, if you find you must send it at all. I believe i have been polite and respectful to you in this request.
In less than an hour my friend had written back, apologized and foreswore to forego Nugent Forwards, at least to me. Peace can still be made for now, but can we still make change?
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.