Checking the Hate Mail Bag

by

The Texas Freedom Network’s efforts to keep politics out of social studies classrooms this year has attracted the usual batch of right-wing hate mail. We also heard from folks who didn’t like our opposition to a State Board of Education resolution attacking Islam and falsely claiming that social studies textbooks are anti-Christian and pro-Muslim. Let’s take a look at some of the mail:

“It’s time for you left wing nuts to get out of public schools and open your own private schools, like the Catholics and Lutherans did decades ago.  That way you can indoctrinate your offspring in your silly religion and leave the rest of us alone.”

The number of anti-Muslim e-mails picked up this fall. This writer seemed to be trying for some sort of poetic structure:

“Kathy Miller, you should get you a towel and wrap it around your head if you like the

Damn Islam f***heads so much.  You and your bunch better get with the program

Against Islam  or we all will be wearing towels, you are so stupid your kind see

What is coming.”

From another writer:

“You may say that ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has reached fever pitch’–but don’t you think that pro-Muslim rhetoric in the country has reached fever pitch also?

Maybe the extremists in the religion perform terrible acts–but don’t the moderate Muslims need to condemn them the loudest of all?  I do not see the massive condemnation of the extremist Muslims by the moderate Muslims.  And that tells me that maybe the point of view of the so-called extremists aren’t that far away from the point of view of the majority of Muslims.

We do not need to go out of our way to make Muslims feel good–they need to go out of their way to make us feel good.  And they have not been doing that.

Keep the textbooks fair and balanced as far as religious views.  Stop overcompensating with positive remarks about Muslims because you want to be seen as level headed.  It is their turn to reach out to us and accommodate.  Maybe you should be calling for Muslim countries to allow churches, synagogues, Bibles, etc. in their country.  There’s an idea!”

Another:

“I agree with the complaints against the large number of pro-Muslim entries. It is time to put their existence into proper perspective and quit over emphasizing their importance or influence in our country. They are a part of this country but that is where it ends. This country was founded on Christian fundamentals and beliefs, not Muslim ideas, Try to build a Christian church in most all of the Muslim countries and see what happens. Try to teach about Christian values in most Muslim countries and then hope you can escape with your life.

Sorry, but I agree with these people.”

This e-mail was both complimentary and critical. We’re not sure it would qualify as “hate mail”:

“Thank you so much for your input on the Texas textbook issue. People like your organization try very very hard each day to bring a positive unbiased point of view to differing points of view. However you and your organization are but a small portion of the steady decline that this nation is trying to overcome as you attempt to rewrite History in such a way so that the immoral are just and the moral are vanquished. Before you attempt to rewrite history, I would suggest you do your research on a group of individuals who would like nothing more than to subdue you and then murder you.”

And one writer accused TFN of engaging in vote fraud this election year. We give him credit for at least coming up with a new criticism, regardless of his e-mail’s factual problems:

“If you can’t get what you want honestly, you are prepared to take any method you can to destroy this State and the United States of America?

Gee you must be marching today in Washington with the Communists/Marxists/Socialists intent on the destruction of this country.  Congratulations.”

8 Responses to “Checking the Hate Mail Bag”

  1. Edd Doerr Says:

    It just happens that Catholic school enrollment has declined from 5.5 million students in 1965 to about 2 million today. And that is because the vast majority of Catholic parents find public schools quite acceptable. To recap: We elected a Catholic President in 1960 and a Catholic vice-president in 2008. Government-sponsored Protestant prayers and Bible reading in public schools were stopped by the Supreme Court in1962 and 1963. The Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 liberalized the Catholic Church. The Vatican’s 1968 condemnation of contraception led to widespread dissatisfaction with church schools. Catholics joined with all other Americans in over 25 statewide referenda defeating various plans to divert public funds t0 faith-based private schools. In other words, the Texas Freedom Network is very much mainstream. — Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, http://www.arlinc.org

  2. Charles Says:

    The general ignorance of the American people is appalling, as reflected in your hate mail. This is the kind of widespread ignorance that public schools were supposed to fight throughout our history. How and why have they failed so miserably? I have a possible example in my own house—a 16-year-old daughter. She is very smart and capable of making straight As in her high school, but she does not. She attends one of the best public high schools in the United States, recognized as such nationwide. However, I can tell that she is not really learning anything like I did—not really. If I were to ask her who the 5th President of the United States was, she would not have a clue. I asked her history teacher who the 8th President was, and he was immediately able to tell me it was Martin Van Buren. Teacher incompetence is not the problem at her high school.

    It is instead widespread student, “I just don’t care about all that education crap. Instead, I want the things in life that are really important—that really mean something.” I can tell you what those things are. She wants the coolest cell phone. When do I get my first new car, and who is going to buy it for me? I just have to have exclusive clothes. She spends her whole day texting back and forth to her friends? Will I get a really good guy? Will my first sexual experience be high quality? She wants to find a way to make some money of her own. She wants the best TV shows. She wants a TV as large as one wall in her room. She should be able to paint and redecorate her room every few months. She wants plenty of money. The list goes on and on and on.

    The last thing on her mind is education, and she seems to see no relationship at all between an education and meeting all of those wants. She could not give a flying intercourse if James Monroe were the 5th President of the United States. She never mentions politics or American government or American history because they are, in her view, absolutely irrelevant to her existence, as is church. She only goes there because we insist and because her friends are there. She is totally absorbed in the gospel of American corporate-driven consumerism. My daughter is wholly a product of the free enterprise system and its advertisers, an industrially stamped creation of free enterprise high priests like Don McLeroy.

    No Christian fundamentalists. She did not learn those wants and needs from her parents. Mom and I buy frumpy, cheap clothes for ourselves from Wal-Mart. My car is a 12-year-old Honda Civic with the paint starting to come off. I don’t even like cell phones. We still have an old standard TV set. Our house is falling down around our ears from put-off maintenance work—not enough money when we really need to fix things.

    Look at an old time intelligence bell curve. Most Americans are not very bright and not very knowledgeable. They are, quite frankly, mostly ignorant and stupid people who know almost nothing outside of their own narrow little realms. “Yep, I know how to do machine tooling, and I drag my knuckles when I walk.” That’s about it folks. Anywhere in back of that 97 percent line on the bell curve is a rapid slope to nowhere, and most Americans are sledding down it. Worst of all, the ignorant people want to run the greatest country on earth. They want to be in exclusive charge. They just don’t understand that it is like turning the steering wheel of your car over to a 3-year-old.

    It was never meant to be this way. This is not what the founding fathers intended. The founding fathers believed that “we the people” would forever be the well-educated, fairly wealthy, prim and proper, land-owning “we the people” people that they were. While Jefferson hated European-style genetic aristocracy, he firmly believed in what he called the “natural aristocracy” of smart and capable people who should run the country and its businesses. How does that translate today? Well, if you install vinyl-clad aluminum windows for a living, take two baths per week, and appreciate a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, you can bet your bottom dollar Jefferson was not talking about you. If you know who the 10th President of the United States was right off the top of your head, appreciate a Beethoven sonata, and sip a fine claret while reading a 19th century novel on a stormy Friday evening, Jefferson was definitely talking about you.

    What? You doubt it? This country started going to Hades in a hand basket when your (and my) smell-ridden pioneer ancestors started hiking through the Cumberland Gap into the lands beyond the 13 colonies. Quite literally, the vision of Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, and the whole lot were lost to a large degree with their plodding steps. We shifted from the Republic the founding fathers created in Philadelphia (1787-1789) to a Greek-style democracy that the founding fathers found deplorable. When Andrew Jackson was on the rise, Jefferson and Adams were still alive and were absolutely horrified at the prospect that the western rabble could elevate such a man to high political office in the United States. Historical records confirm this. The founding fathers would have been equally horrified at the Tea Party, far right Republican extremists, the November 2 election, and the so-called “common man” in the United States. I think Jefferson would ask this question if he were alive today, “I am amazed at how my country has advanced, but why are there so many ignorant people who have not advanced with it?”

    Here. Alistair Cooke can explain it better than me. View the videos and hang on his every word to get my point:

  3. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    No doubt the failure of the Teaparty to understand the constitutional framework of the United States is scary, but much of their confusion is egged on, for example, by “separationists” who continue to also misrepresent what the Constitution says. For example, the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. It is a “religious” test which shall not be required, and it is “religion” which shall not be established. The word “religion” is in the Constitution and includes the entire subject of religion. Argument over. Debate ended. The witch from Delaware, Glenn Beck, and the Teaparty are then exposed as obviously dishonest and uninformed as to what the Constitution actually says and commands.

  4. Ben Says:

    Consider this comment love mail.

  5. Gary Cooper, McAllen, Texas Says:

    That’s a mighty intelligent bunch of correspondents you have there!

  6. Charles Says:

    Hi Gary. I loved your work in “High Noon.” Aren’t you supposed to be dead or something? I know Grace Kelly is.

    Well. I have to tell you. These extremist dudes that got elected on November 2 are already screwing up, just as predicted. They have already abandoned jobs and the economy, as I expected because of their party plank that says the economy is an untouchable sacred cow. How can you massage anything to health when you are not allowed to even lay your hands on it?

    Then there was that false $200 milion dollar per day story about the Obama trip to India. We learned this afternoon that that it originated with Mike Huckabee, former Southern Baptist preacher, governor of Arkansas, and media priest of the Religious Right. He is now backing off of this false story publicly on the air and cable ways.

    “He’s a child of Jesus. How could he have been wrong about that trip? Weez believes everthin he tales us jist causa that.” Right. Get smart. Maybe that “former” Baptist preacher has some deeper meaning? Ever thought of that? If your friend Jimmy jumped off a cliff just because the guy urging him on dropped the name “Jesus”, would you do it too? Think about that while Mitch McConnell takes away your unemployment insurance check. We’ll just see if the Tea Party was worth living on canned tuna and pinto beans. Y’all be sure and write and tell us what it’s like.

  7. Cytocop CT(ASCP) Says:

    Charles, I always enjoy reading your long essays and the videos you contribute. And you couldn’t have chosen better than the late great Alistair Cooke!

    I only have this to add to your essay: I’m not sure America was ever a Greek-style democracy. I understand a Greek-style democracy as being a direct democracy rather than representative. Be that as it may, what it is NOW is far closer to an oligarchy or plutocracy. The Corporate-bought Supreme Court jettisoned the last remnant of democracy we had when they decided the Citizens United case last year. Now, those who have the most bucks have the loudest voice. It’s always been that way; the Supremes just made it official.

    The America I once knew is rapidly fading from view. I’m beginning to feel like a stranger in my own country. OK, with an appropriate nod to Alistair Cooke and the facts, I AM the descendant of English colonists. But I am 13th generation American, and I don’t recognize my country anymore.

    That letter from the person who began by complimenting TFN, then trashing TFN must have been written by a multiple personality. Genuine multiple personalities are a rare phenomenon in Psychology but I think we have an example of one right here. The rest of the letters are written by people who do not exhibit very much intelligence, probably most of them conservative Christians. I can tell by the level of their ignorance and venom.

    TFN is allegedly “prepared to take any method” it can? Like what? A blog? A blog is going to “destroy this State and the United States of America”? Remember, the First Amendment applies to TFN too, not just you! And unlike you writers, TFN cites its references and supporting evidence.

    And no, buddy, sorry to disappoint you, but I am not marching in Washington D.C. I’m always working at my job, and I haven’t the money to get to Washington anyway. Besides, I didn’t know there were any Marxists/Communists/Socialists marching in Washington D.C. Who are they? And why has the news media not covered their marches? One would think the media would cover such an event, since the media is so “left wing” and socialist and all. One would think the socialist media would want to broadcast such a historic event as a Marxist/Communist/Socialist march.

  8. Ruthie Says:

    Recently read Susan Jacoby’s “The Age of American Unreason”. It answered a lot of questions about the rise of the religious right and the decline of intellectualism. There is a connection. In case you wonder: I am a member of a moderate Christian tradition and came from a family of well educated, religious people. Because of that, I can’t agree with an awful lot of what is going on in today’s political, religious and educational world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: