E-BOOK: 2008 Email Wars
(written-edited by Tom Ersin)
Terrifying account of one man’s personal battle for critical thinking.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in 2008 when Facebook was preschool age, and Twitter a toddler, the preferred social media platform for anti-Obama, anti-PC ditto heads to spew their disinformation and vitriol was email — good old low-tech email. You might have found your address on a long list in the “To:” window. Or, like me, you might have commandeered and disrupted others’ racist, xenophobic email threads to do rhetorical battle.]
The 2008 presidential election pitted African-American Democrat Barack Obama against Caucasian Republican John McCain. In the preceding months I received several right-wing extremist political emails that would have made Michelle Malkin blush. Even John Stossel thinks they went too far. They were variously racist jokes, libelous rumors, faux thoughtful opinions, rants, and outright fabrications. They all had two purposes: to sway independents and preach to the far-right-wing choir. Ultimately, their emails became increasingly frustrated reactions to the inevitability of their guy losing — or should I say: their worst nightmare winning. And when the nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue Street came true, their music stopped — or, at least, slowed temporarily. They retreated to Rush Limbaugh listening rooms across the country to lick their wounds.
I initially responded to several of these emails with my usual fair-minded civility and critically thoughtful tone. Then it occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be fun to wrestle with these characters in the same rude, bigoted, bullying, logically fallacious, ad hominemistic way THEY do? What follows is the rough-and-tumble, back-and-forth answer to that question.
Naturally, I took the coward’s route and used a fake name, the androgynous Pat (though, I really look more like a Brad). Whenever I received one of these emails (filled with addresses in the “To” and “CC” windows), I’d write a scathing pseudonymous response, then gleefully click “Reply All” to ensure maximum saturation of their right wingnut email lists.
Most of their responses were angry — angry that I had their email address and angry that I was a liberal; although, two of my respondents and I became semi-friendly after tousling with each other in several point-counterpoint exchanges. But alas, we had a falling out after I became drunk with moral righteousness and went too far over the top. I made several attempts to apologize, but they refused to take my bait anymore. Max and Laxspine665 (666 was already taken), I miss you.
[think musical theme for the 1960s TV show “ Dragnet ”]
“The emails you are about to see are real. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty (and the profanity has been tempered).” There is an assumed (sic) at the end of each misspelled, fallaciously reasoned, grammatical train wreck of a screed. To paraphrase Ann Coulter and Wayne Campbell: If right wingnuts had any brains — and monkeys might fly out of my butt.