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Archive for August, 2008

This is the last bit. At this point I discovered that I’d been volleying with a husband/wife team. The wife tended more towards the “kindness” viewpoint where the husband was more antagonistic.

ANTAGONIST (only to me):

I must set the record straight. I did speak up about the racist email that was sent to us. If you will reread my email below it states: We find it ALSO offensive at the constant attacks on Bush. I find it ALL offensive including the demeaning sexist comments in the media and elsewhere about Hillary Clinton. It has nothing to do with political affiliation, it’s about human kindness, respect, & dignity! Everyone may have the right to express themselves as you say (including emails from the Obama person & Bush person), but I don’t want to hear/read that negativity. Keep it to yourself and leave me out of it! And, I did not send the last email, my husband was quite disturbed in seeing your attacks on my character that he sent the comment. You don’t even know me, and you’re judging me. Lets be kind & considerate to everyone and the world will be a better place.

Contrarian (I BCC’d Partner):

Your repudiation of the Obama email was limited to one word which gave barely a nod to the topic. Your true anger and ire was raised by the jest at the president’s expense and no retroactive posturing will change that. Partner made a joke that you found tasteless, and you chose to publicly reply-all and engage him. By doing that you open yourself up to dissent. Human kindness, respect, and dignity are well and good, but that does not mean valid criticism is off the table. I criticized you, and rather than directly addressing my criticism or further developing your argument, you chose to cry foul, and counter-attack me for being a meanie. I am not cruel, I simply state what I observe, and rather than presenting your own case, you got your feelings hurt.

In the future, if you want to avoid negativity, you might want to consider ignoring it. You lack a thick enough skin to engage in political commentary.

This will be the last you hear from me.

ANTAGONIST:
Up Yours and Your Superior than Thou Attitude. I think you have a severe mental problem!

And here it ends. I learned quite a bit about these kinds of people, primarily that it’s fruitless to engage in debate with someone who feels before they think. They can’t get past their own ire long enough to let someone else’s point sink in. They have a kneejerk reaction, and any criticism is perceived as a personal attack.

I admit I personally attacked them with my jabs at her character. However, I was clear to point out that her behavior speaks to her character, and that my judgment was based upon that. I know I could have handled the whole exchange better, and in re-reading it I come off as rather sanctimonious.

But damn it was fun!

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This is a continuation of the last two posts. Now the emails get personal. Please note I’ve removed references to my personal email. I’ve decided to go with anonymity with this blog, and though anyone on this email thread will likely recognize it, I don’t want to make it too easy.

ANTAGONIST (Reply just to me)
By the way, Contrarian, you should take another look at Thomas Jefferson’s quote since the will of the people elected Bush for two terms. And, it’s all in one’s perspective what tyranny entails. I saw many American’s supporting decisions made after 9-11. You should thank God, or whomever you pray to, that you don’t live in Iraq and are able to criticize the government because you wouldn’t have been privileged as a woman or a citizen to do so. What happened to Human Rights? If you are so found of free speech, why are you in (Redacted – FC) within your email address. Do you know that the links that you sent come up as fraud and unsafe to open….

WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE AND HOW DID WE GET ON YOUR EMAIL LIST! Please remove us from any future ranting of yours!!!!!

Contrarian – (reply to her only)

I think what it comes down to is that I disagree with you and listen to your perspective, while you disagree and tell me to shut up.

That is what’s un-American.

(Redacted – FC) is my email address because that’s what it is. I sign my name to all emails and (Redacted – FC) is not a block or a device to hide who I am, but a simple reference to the fact that I like (Redacted – FC). Whether it ends up in your junk mail is not my concern. My emails get to those who matter to me.

I pray to no one. I am proud to be an American, however I don’t believe that gives us the right to invade sovereign nations because we feel like it.

Oh, and the argument “You should shut up and be grateful you have the right to criticize the government and stop criticizing the government” is patiently absurd. I am not an Iraqi, I am an American. But if I were an Iraqi you can be assured that I would not shut up and hide in my home and hope things get better. I would speak. I might suffer for it, but I would speak.

The Jefferson quote is not about elections, it’s about free speech, and the rights of people to speak up if they don’t like the way the country is going. Freedom of expression is a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights, our Constitution’s first amendment, and is vital to our character as a country.

I am on the same email list you are on. I didn’t ask to receive the Obama email and it was your choice to engage Partner in discussion of his joke. By replying all, you opened the door, don’t have another tantrum because people out there dare to disagree with you.

ANTAGONIST – (private reply)
I’ll pray for you. Your tantrum ends here…goodbye….

ANTAGONIST – (a later private reply to my last public response)
Seems to me that you are politically aligned, too.

Contrarian – (private)
I’m sorry, I thought you were done.

I made no secret of my political affiliations, but again you miss my point and ignore the argument. My point is that you ignored a baseless and racist attack on Obama in order to defend against a humorous jab against Bush. You ignored one attack because you didn’t care about the attacked, and counter-attacked another because you were politically affiliated with the target.

My entire reaction to the Obama email was to second Step-Aunt’s request not to be included on that sort of email because, like her, I find it offensive. That was all.

This whole flame war got started because you chose to take Partner’s attempt at humor to heart and launch into a mini-tirade about how people are so mean these days. I found it ironic that you were prompted to speak up over a joke but not a genuine racist attack, which in my mind is a far greater offense. If someone had implied that Bush was unfit to be president because he was a “cracker/honkey/white devil” then I would have been equally offended, because that is racist and inappropriate. Since, however, he was merely called a “turkey” I don’t see why it’s worthy of such an outcry from you.

The bulk of my argument against your position comes from your apparent desire to silence everyone who disagrees with you. I come from a position that the first amendment is sacred, and that everyone, including you, has the right to express their opinion. I have the right to publicly criticize the president, just as you have the right to publicly support him. I find your “sit down and shut up” mentality offensive when applied in the context of a simple satirical joke. Satire and criticism are appropriate, and often welcome in political discourse. Racism and lies are not.

This is where I stand. I don’t expect to change your opinion, but I ask that you respect mine. You will not hear anything further from me, as I believe this conversation has played itself out.

Partner (reply-all in a public parallel thread)


I’m sorry to have caused offense or ill feelings to anyone, but I must speak my mind…

I see nothing good in this turkey. For far too long, he has lived in the lap of luxury. While decent people work hard every day of their lives, he has had everything he ever wanted handed to him, freeloading off of the good, hard working people around him. If you mentioned “Earning a living” to him, he would probably just cock his head to the side and look at you funny.

He struts around caring very little about how his actions affect those around him. He’ll do whatever pleases him and expect other people to clean up his mess, and oh what a big mess he leaves. He’s well known for putting his nose in other people’s affairs while maintaining the attitude that those affairs trampled his nose. He’s simply callous and uncaring, and there’s no way to convince him of the errors of his way.

You can’t even carry on a coherent conversation without him making some rude and often obscene gesture. Some say it’s due to lack of intellect, but that’s a matter of opinion.

My only consolation is that our good president has dealt with this menace in a manner suitable to his kind… with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Now that that’s settled… What’s all this fuss over President Bush?

ANTAGONIST (reply all)
WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE AND HOW DID WE GET ON YOUR EMAIL LIST? I have never heard from such insensitive and uncaring people in my life! You should be ashamed of yourselves. You were so upset over Obama, but you have no conscious over destroying the reputation of another human being that you don’t even know except through the media. Oh, and we surely believe everything the media hands us on a silver plater. You should all thank your lucky stars that you are Americans and not Iraqi’s because you’d probably all be in jail or worse if it had remained under the rule of Hussein. I’m proud to be an American–Love It or Leave It.

Antagonist

Partner (final public response)
… I was talking about the bird… it was a joke. I was tried (and obviously failed) to lighten the mood with an extended play on words.

I never slandered our president, I merely found a humorous photo of him with a turkey. He obviously thought the situation was funny also, otherwise he wouldn’t be pulling that face.

I’m sorry for the confusion, but just to be clear, in all instances when I said “turkey” I was referring to the bird. When I was relating how this turkey had never worked a day in it’s life, I was again referring to the bird. When I first responded and mentioned that I didn’t like this turkey in the whitehouse… I was referring to the bird in the photo taken somewhere near or around the whitehouse.

Again, sorry for the confusion, apparently, humor is not a laughing matter, so let’s end this.

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In our previous installment we discussed what happened when my partner’s much loved, yet very Republican grandmother sent out a very negative email about Barack Obama.

I was, naturally, appalled. But I had no idea the drama that would spring from this.

First, Partner’s step-aunt replied-all…

This is racist and a disgusting kind of email….!!
Please don’t send me these kinds of email.

I thought this was all that needed to be said, so I simply replied-all with “Seconded,” and I thought that would be the end of it. Partner tends towards humour in order to deal with prickly situations and so replied-all with:

For a little context, I think this is where that photo probably came from…
http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/familytree/545465,BSX-News-wotreew09.article

and here are some his family photos… along with some adorable ones of him when he was a child.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=512430&in_page_id=1811

but as for my own humble opinion, I’d rather have him in the white house than this turkey…
http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blbushturkeypardon.htm

What a turkey!
What a turkey!

This sparked the following exchange. I’m in plain and Antagonist is in bold. Later emails from Partner will be in Italic.

ANTAGONIST(reply all)
We find it also offensive at the constant attacks on President Bush! He is a man of integrity and honor. To each his own, but keep it to yourself. Try a CHANGE and be kind to people!

Contrarian (reply all):

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
Thomas Jefferson

Click Here All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it?
Thomas Paine

It is your opinion that Bush is “a man of integrity and honor” but it is mine that he is a tyrant, chipping away at our civil liberties, actively denying civil rights to others, and promoting an unjust and illegal war of aggression. Some may argue that we were threatened with attack, and I have no quarrel with the decision to invade Afghanistan. Iraq is a different matter, and we have entrenched ourselves in a quagmire that will be incredibly difficult to extract ourselves from honorably.

We have a difference of opinion on this matter, and we both have a right to speak out. As Americans it is our right and our duty to express our positions and to openly and actively criticize where we see injustice and/or poor governance.

That said, I didn’t see you speaking up when Obama was unjustly criticized for a photo taken with the African side of his family 20 years ago. The implication was that his dark skinned relatives would run amok in the White House and influence policy like the Clinton family. Putting aside that these people were being judged for the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, it also ignored the context of a photo of a young man being reunited with a family he’d never known. All it did was make judgments based on appearances.

This is a far graver offense than Partner calling the president a ‘turkey” and including a humorous photo. Satire is alive and well and vital to a healthy democracy, no matter who it’s directed against. To go off on a “Shut up about it” screed and have a temper tantrum when a far more grievous attack is on the table, shows a peculiar misalignment of priorities which speaks more against your own character than anything anyone else could say. Feel free to speak up.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Voltaire

-Contrarian

ANTAGONIST (reply all)
Give me a break. I didn’t send the “Obama” e-mail, we were a victim of the poor judgment of mass forwarding. Perhaps, you should go back to the source. But, does it make it a more honorable decision to criticize the cruel intents of one e-mail with another slandering our President? I still mean keep it to yourself–I don’t want to see any negativity about anyone unless it’s productive. Name calling is not productive!!! Yes, President Bush is a man of integrity and honor, even though you may not agree, many Americans do! Only time will tell if Obama, Rodham-Clinton, or McCain if elected President will live up to your standards of honor…..seems like you’re the one having the temper tantrum.

Contrarian (reply all – Last public reply)
My point was that you ignored a slander on one person and spoke up over a joke about another. The fact that you are politically aligned with one is what prompted you to speak up in his defense, even though the other attack was more negative, more insulting.

Hoo boy… It looks like them Duke Boys have gotten themselves into quite a pickle! It only gets better from here. The next few emails will be from a personal exchange, as I decided to stop replying to the entire thread. No need to flame innocent bystanders.

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VP Fever!

I admit it, I’m totally sucked in to the media shit-storm around the VP selection. I keep hearing rumors that Obama is going to announce his pick Wednesday morning, Saturday afternoon, the day before the convention> I want to know! Eeesh! And I really hope it isn’t Milquetoast Bayh. That conservative dickcheese would really earn my ire if he were on the ticket. Really, Obama would have to come out with a deep seated affection for National Socialism, or a hobby of kitten torture to lose my vote at this point. And I wouldn’t even vote for McCain if Obama was revealed to be a Sharia-touting baby-raper, simply because McCain’s policies on choice and gay rights are deal-breakers for me

So, I’m voting for Obama and his choice of VP is immaterial. But in a perfect world, who would be my choice?

Kathleen Sebelius.

Seriously, I know she’s been under the radar until all the VP hoopla got started, but she’s got a lot going for her. She’s the governor of a Republican state (Kansas), she can help heal the rift with Clinton supporters due to her ovaries, and she’s not enough of a shining star to diminish Obama’s glory. Obama needs a solid backer who won’t draw too much fire and attention, and Sebelius can provide the bump of an outrageous candidate (XX chromosome) without the baggage. Granted I wish she had some foreign policy cred, but she is a two-term governor with a (metaphorical) hard-on for public education, health care, the environment and balanced budgets*. We’re going to need that kind of leadership to put this country back together after the disaster of the last eight years. Our focus needs to be on getting out of Iraq and rebuilding America, and I think this Heartland governor would be an ideal partner to Obama to get us back on track

Oh, and I reckon McCain’ll pick Lieberman. I hope he does, it’ll lose him the evangelical vote and, should the unthinkable happen, give us a pro-choice president when McCain’s elderly ticker gives out.

*See Sebelius’ website

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Evidence for the FSM?

It is a well known fact that the true cause of global warming is the decrease of pirates operating on the high seas.

We see here that as the number of pirates decreased, the global temperature has increased. I now present some supporting evidence.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08/slow-freight-joins-slow-movement.php

As stated in the above article on freight by sailing ship:

Transportation by sail has one-seventh the carbon emissions of a container ship. (Why that much? Because they have generators for the navigational instruments and diesel for maneuvering in port or down rivers.)

By His Noodly Appendage! Pirate ships, which didn’t even have generators, must’ve been almost carbon-neutral. Their only contribution would be the slow decomposition of their wooden hulls! We must encourage this shipping by pirate-like ships!

Ramen

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From time to time (daily) my partner’s grandmother sends out emails of a political nature. Grammy is a lovely woman and I adore her. She’s fiercely loyal to her family, intelligent, responsible and funny. She has an amazing strength of character and I’d be honored to be as awesome as she when I’m her age.

However, she and I are not remotely politically aligned. She’s Republican, Christian, and socially conservative, and her emails reflect that. Most of the time I glance at them, roll my eyes and try to forget about it. Every once in a while one comes along that I simply can’t ignore. i have to say something.

I love to argue a point, and when I get into a discussion about something I often forget that many people see dissent as personal attack. Even when I’m ferociously defending a position I almost never lose sight of the fact that I’m arguing the validity of an idea, not defending myself or my own integrity. In this first exchange, I allow myself to get a little heated, and found myself making a few personal digs at my antagonist. In subsequent incidents I make a point to be less confrontational and more genial. I want to be a Friendly Contrarian after all.

I’m going to do this in pieces so it’s not overwhelming.

First, the email that started it all:

THE OBAMA FAMILY.

And how many more relatives will be coming from Africa ??

So that happened. Next we shall see the shitstorm that ensued…

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