It is a world without context.
I got an e-mail Saturday morning. It was a forward and that should have tipped me off but it was from a friend who is usually OK about e-mails – she sends great animal pictures or some silly joke.
The subject line of this e-mail was ‘Where is the American flag’. Yet another warning but again I decided it was most likely some lovely series of photos – you know, the flag created by colored crystals on the beach or a hot air balloon all red, white and blue – drifting across the majesty of the Northwest.
We have become fixated with the flag and not in a good way. Since 9/11/2001 flag waving has turned into a way of communication and a way of self-righteous judgment. It has gotten so out of hand, this meaning that has the wrong meaning, that I took down the flag that flew above my home. It no longer stood for just simply being proud. It said you supported Bush, it said you hated “them” – all of them. Those who are not Christian, those whose skin is darker, those who have different ways of loving people, those who speak different languages…
So I open the e-mail and the first line is:
This has been verified by snopes
Ahhhh – they have learned that if you give people the idea that you did a little homework …
If you claim to verify they will believe. The field of bullshit.
Under this is a picture of Senator Obama’s campaign plane.
Under that a picture of the plane before the Obama campaign had it refurbished.
And then a tiny paragraph – the highlights are:
he decided to remove the American flag from the tail...
Obama is such a despicable human being.
Please forward this if you're not ashamed of our country and our flag & if think this is a disgrace.
If Obama is elected president of the United States we are in trouble. If you think the Liberals can lead our country just look what Pelosi and Reid have accomplished for us.
All of this is in font size ranging from 14 to 18 pt and in red, blue, and green. Yes green. I guess they couldn’t figure out how to do white on a white background and they didn’t know how to change the background.
The bad grammar and missing words are verbatim. Can’t really stop and fix things when you’re in the grips of flag fever.
The thing is – all they’ve done is redo (badly) the original e-mail – origins unknown – and then sent it out into the world claiming it had been verified. They didn’t actually show the verification.
The photo of the Obama plane is taken from an angle that obscures the fact that there is indeed an American flag on the plane – right next to the plane’s call letters.
The flag he removed – personally I suppose while dressed as a Muslim terrorist – is actually the logo of North American airlines – the corporation he got the plane from.
The full snopes verification also shows McCain’s plane – no American flag in sight. Which is fine with me since I do not suffer from flag fever and prefer to choose my President based on ideals and policy, not airplane décor.
I also wish they could explain how the US will be in trouble if Obama is elected. Will flags everywhere just suddenly disappear on Inauguration Day? Oh – and we’re not in trouble right now?
Then there is the ‘L’ word.
No not Lesbian although that is a close second.
Liberal. We soldier hating, flag destroying, gay loving, illegal immigrant worshipping – uh – um – infidels. That’s the ticket. And what could possibly be more American than calling people who don’t agree with you names and casting doubt upon their character. And trying to frighten people into hating the same people you hate.
I will give them one thing – Pelosi and Reid have accomplished nothing for us. Well maybe raising the minimum wage for the first time in ten years. And Pelosi did recently explain clearly that there is actually land/water set aside to drill in but the Republicans don’t want to drill there first because the oil companies won’t make a fortune developing new drilling sites.
Has the war stopped, is Bush and Cheney and Rove in jail, has torture stopped, are those being held without a voice freed …
And we come full circle.
The Democrats are afraid of looking like soldier hating, flag destroying … you get the picture. So spreading fear and lies works. It’s a lot like – what’s the word – oh yes – terrorism. But now I’m confused. Aren’t we fighting terrorism? I guess we are, just not in our own backyard.
Taken on its own this e-mail is nothing to get all riled up about. It’s nothing compared to “secret Muslim” and constantly saying ‘Osama’ instead of ‘Obama’ and then claiming to have had a brain fart. It’s nothing compared to showing Cindy McCain looking like she just baked a dozen cookies while showing Michelle Obama looking like she just ripped off the head of a white baby. Since Michelle is animated and engaged she is usually shown with her mouth open and her eyes all afire. Cindy, bless her heart, always looks so composed. I wonder if she takes the same meds that Laura does.
So why did this e-mail get me going? Going so that I found the entire SNOPES ARTICLE and sent it to every single e-mail address in the original.
It came on the same morning as did the last time I will ever allow someone to tell me they won’t/can’t vote for Senator Obama because they “don’t trust him”.
As the white mother of a black son I speak the code. If you “don’t trust” a black man and you can’t explain why then it is simply because he is black. I have watched my son being watched in stores. I once had a salesperson confide to me, snickering, that they were watching “that big black kid” because “you can’t trust them”. I was too disgusted and weary to enjoy watching the top of her head explode when the untrustworthy big black kid turned and called me Ma.
I am better than this, many of us are better than this. I don’t care how exhausting it becomes. I don’t care if it forever changes friendships (as it has with the person who sent me the Saturday morning e-mail). I absolutely believe that we are fighting for our lives. I don’t want my future grandchildren to go to Iraq as part of the 100 year war. I don’t want to see any more abandoned homes in my neighborhood. I don’t want to feel sad about the way we look to the world.
And I don’t want to be silent when an honorable, accomplished, decent man is disrespected because of his name and his skin color.
I imagine my future grandchildren running for office one day.
My future white/black/Christian/Jewish/French/Irish/Russian/Greek/African/Native American grandchildren.
I will open a can of the fiercest whoop ass known to humanity on anyone who plans to block the path.