Thursday, February 07, 2008

I Don't Approve

A heap of non-factual, semi-factual and otherwise distorted paranoia landed in my email yesterday from someone I know, all about how this person is in a twist because of (whisper the word) "Mexicans."

The massive numbers of non-facts, the furor of fearfulness and my low threshold of tolerating hoo-ha yesterday made me actually write back to refute the info. This person who sent the original email is not a "bad person", but that email pretty much reeked of dangerously bad ideas.

Here's a sample of the email sent to me:

"I have been hammered with the propaganda that it is the Iraq war and the war on terror that is bankrupting us. I now find that to be RIDICULOUS. Now, I hope the following 14 reasons are forwarded over and over again until they are read so many times that the reader gets sick of reading them. I have included the URL's for verification of all the following facts.

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year."

My response to that, from the very article cited, was that law prevents any such aid being given to "illegal immigrants". To legal immigrants, yes, aid is given. I'm not linking to the article cited as I am not eager to drive web traffic to that site.

And I also commented that the funding for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan comes from borrowing money, not from existing tax revenue streams. The response I got to that was the following:

"Do you sense we are being overrun? It's not easy to know know who is legal and who is illegal. Hang out at DHS some day, or the Health Department and just observe. I felt like a foreigner when at the Health Department for a T.B. test last summer. There was not one local in the waiting room, but it was filled with Hispanic people who did not speak English - or let's put it this way, they were not speaking English in my presence. Take a walk through our elementary schools and see even more. And there are days, when crimebeat makes my eyes pop!! I know several legal Hispanics and have a couple that good friends from Puerto Rico and one from Guatemala - so it's not that I dislike these folks, I don't, but it looks like if we continue the way we're going, one day, our local government will look a whole lot different. Hey! That might be a good thing! tee hee"

So I am sadly left with the realization the email was not meant to start a discussion - it was instead an unhappy emotional reaction to having non-whites in the neighborhood. Other problems are obvious in those comments, too.

I know I'm not the only person who gets ramped-up, half-truthful email screeds on some "vital topic" of the moment. And yes, responding to such is fruitless. But if I did not respond, then perhaps my silence could be taken as approval. And I don't approve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joe, it has been my experience that the most xenophobic among us cannot be reasoned with. No matter what you present to them, it is fear that prevents them from considering any solution that does not remove those different from them. Any attempt to bring undocumented people out of the shadows so that we might identify them, and remove the criminals, is seen as amnesty. There are a number of great ideas out there regarding comprehensive immigration reform, but there are few elected officials willing to lead, and take a gutsy stance. I understand wanting to respond to this kind of rhetoric, but refuting their "facts" is the best you can hope for. Thanks for posting this.