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When I wrote that first opinion piece after my nephew Chase was killed in Iraq, I naively believed my words could make a difference, would prevent others from hearing the sentence of death, “We regret to inform you.”
Jeez, I’ve written more than 600 articles. And I’ve received many reader comments, both supportive and critical. Then there’s the OTHER category, hate mail. One among the venomous provided a friendly subject line greeting, “HELLO.” I opened this to read, “Fuck you, cunt.” There’s also Mark, email@example.com, who wrote, “Thanks CUNT” (popular term of offense) with boasts that he’s “The 1 Percent,” I’m a “pathetic loser,” and that he drinks Dom Pérignon. In March, he wrote, “I hear Bradley Manning has AIDS!”
Another reader responded to one of my widow articles. His paragraph of stunningly executed hillbilly dialect was sexual and disturbing—really a visual of what he could do for me. I was visiting son H at the time. Showed him. With a little Google search of the man’s email, H discovered a website, photograph, and a bio. Wow, a watershed preservationist. H asked if he should handle this for me. I told him no. We ignored.
This week, while sorting through papers, I found feedback I’d printed, from Stephen, with the subject line: “Missy, look what you have done.” This was followed by:
You have robbed us of the benefit of dealing with the lesser of two evils. Your actions and the actions of all those like you have placed us in the hands of the greatest of two evils. The Democratic win has emboldened the Islamofascist terrorists.
Missy, that is the threat we face. The Islamofascists can destroy our economy. That is our threat, and you have put into power the party that will remove every obstacle between us and the terrorist’s ambitions to detonate a nuclear bomb in some strategic area that is certain to destroy our economy.
I lived in NYC then, and he referenced this in his reproach:
Think of that, Missy, You live in NY. Think Manhattan. Imagine one square mile of downtown New York vaporized. Missy, guess what?
That will destroy our economy. That will end freedom for all. That will negate our ‘liberties.’ That will render null and void our constitutional protections. I suggest that you rent a storage unit and fill it with rice, beans, cornmeal, and gasoline. Thanks to all your essays and the people you have affected by them, you just might need it.
This was cyber’d in late 2006, after the election and just before Democrats took control of the House in 2007—when there was a smidge of hope that Iraq war critic Nancy Pelosi, soon to be Madam Speaker, would use her influence to end war. Many thought she might possibly hold George Bush accountable even though she’d told The Washington Post that Democrats wouldn’t impeach Bush. But she’d teased a bit with “you never know where” investigations might lead.
Obviously, Stephen was unaware that the Democrats and Republicans are on the same blood sport team owned by multinational corporations. That they conspire to fund actions inspiring acts of hatred. And that it is now passé to speak of the lesser or greater of two evils, when it’s the system itself that’s depraved, has ruined the economy for the majority, has destroyed our rights with the establishment of a surveillance state. And that the crimes committed by Christo-fascists and Zionists against human beings in Muslim-majority countries have produced a cycle of violence and fear.
But Stephen also gave me credit that’s undeserved. My words have influenced few. Here’s recent proof from Tony, responding to my last article:
You don’t get it. No one is reading you. You’re [sic] words aren’t… look, I love you. Give your money away. Live as I do. Be broke.
You’ll love murder and rape and theft. You’re a rich white woman.
No one cares what you say. Stop being the problem.
I may have defended myself to Stephen. Don’t remember. I didn’t reply to Tony, and not because I am apart from the problem. There’s just something creepy about his message. I could have told him I admit my complicity. That I think about this, look for answers that include withholding taxes that fund war and donating that portion to peace and justice organizations (something I’m exploring as an act of conscience). BIG GREED however will continue to mortgage imperial carnage.
I also could tell Tony that since he sent his repudiation and advice from an Android, he’s part of the problem, too.
Missy Beattie can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org