The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Lives On: Examine Your E-mails
by Christine Bowman
Democrats, examine your e-mails. Has disturbing stuff been popping into your inbox? (And I don't mean Viagra offers.)
Whether you're for Hillary or Barack, it's time to quit reading the junk that comes your way. It's emotional, it's scurrilous, and it's not designed to help you pick the best Democratic candidate.
It's not paranoia, but sensible skepticism, to assume that those emails aim to affect the vote count not in the primaries, but in November. The senders don't care which Democrat you vote for in a primary. They are just getting the jump on their Swiftboating for the general election. Wedge politics, pure and simple.
Turn up your racism radars, Democrats; and your sexism radars. These rumors, smears and exaggerated mischaracterizations are a tried and true, right-wing, divide and conquer strategy. Please, recognize the junk you are receiving, whether in e-mails and Internet talk boards (anonymous), or in the airwaves (dominated by conservative infrastructure), as the manipulative misinformation and misdirection that it is.
Have you read any of the candidates' books? That could help you decide who gets your primary or caucus vote, and inspire confidence come November. Their books describe a lifetime of values and service.
Have you watched their many speeches? That could certainly help. Their speeches, by the way, avoid personal slurs while presenting a pathway out of the Bush conservatives' dismal era.
Have you visited their campaign Web sites? That will tell you how the two candidates differ on policy and in general outlook.
Have you seen them debate? The candidates have been describing policies, plans, and their personal values in the debates. That could help you choose the one closest to your values and your priorities.
Have you, yourself, researched their votes on any bill you care about? That's easy to do if you go right to the Senate Web site (for roll call votes) or to the Congressional Record (to read their arguments, pro or con). Don’t take some anonymous source for their positions. That could help.
But if your e-mails try to link Barack Obama to Louis Farrakhan, delete before reading. It just ain't so. It is a racist fear tactic to try to insinuate that a progressive, pro-unity, Protestant, multiracial presidential contender is secretly a black separatist Muslim.
And if someone rips Hillary Clinton apart for her "cackle," describes her as the devil incarnate, or says she had Vince Foster killed after having an affair with him (that made the rounds when Clinton was running for the Senate) – duck and cover! This stuff is crap, and it isn't coming from any Democrat.
Democrats, ask not, whether that stuff could be true. Ask, instead, who would want you to wonder?
If you have seen hate-filled, unfair reports on your candidate – and we all have – don't assume it's from the other Democrats' camp. Both our candidates want unity. They both want a landslide Democratic win in November. Both candidates represent a huge threat to the extremists on the other side. They both represent hope and change compared to the misery we've endured under the conservatives' anointed choice, George W. Bush.
Think about it. The extreme right wing has nothing. Divide and conquer is their last hope.
So go out and register your support in our Democratic primary. But base your vote on knowledge and on your progressive values. That's what Democrats are about. Not fear. Not ignorance Not racism. Not sexism.
Let's be proud of our votes, for whichever Democrat, and proud of our record number of voters. And then in November, let's show the racist, sexist fear-mongers that Americans are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Make yours a vote against the "vast right-wing conspiracy"* that fueled Bill Clinton's impeachment and crippled some of his administration's most ambitious initiatives. And stand strong together for a positive new era to come.
* "I do believe that this is a battle," the first lady said. "Look at the very people who are involved in this. They have popped up in other settings. The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president," Mrs. Clinton said. [1/27/98]
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.