When it comes to Politics, I have been on both sides of the political fence. I have always voted for the candidate I honestly felt would do more for the nation. In the 80s, I went with Reagan. In the 90s it was Clinton. A registered Republican for years, I worked for a member of the Kennedy family on his environmental efforts. I am now a registered Democrat who was a staunch supporter of both our local Republican mayor and President Obama. I think I even checked out a Ross Perot rally once, but it was for the school paper. Then again, maybe I’m a little schizophrenic. Who knows? I guess I always just followed the advice of my war veteran uncle. Don’t vote party lines, vote for the best candidate.
As you may have read in an earlier post, I started using twitter as a networking tool. I would post links to my blawg, suggest 140 character law tips and even an occasional quip about daily practice. I eventually noticed a discussion of politics started seeping into my “tweets” as stories of death panels killing grandma, long form birth certificates and communism started permeating the internet. I decided to do my political tweets under a separate account.
It was a great stress reliever. I poked fun at the “birther” movement led by a dentist / lawyer / real estate agent with some amazing conspiracy theories. I argued with posters who sincerely believed President Obama was a Kenyan born Muslim communist who wanted to set up concentration camps and death panels to kill the elderly. Others who shared my interest in politics chided or supported me depending on their own politcal leanings. Overall, the conversations maintained a certain humorous tone. People may have disagreed, but it was done with civility And with a limit of 140 characters to each “tweet, ” I found myself being more concise. It even helped my daily writing style. My briefs seem to be more concise and on point. (Although the judge did admonish me for using LOL and ROLFLMAO as a counter argument)
Unfortunately, a lot of twits tweet on twitter. I started noticing some really extreme comments coming from some posters. There were some I assumed were pulling my leg. Did they really think Obama was secretly creating concentration camps and death panels. (The rumor started from a National Guard ad seeking internment specialists for relocated prisoners of war and language in a House proposal that wanted Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling for things like living wills.) Did they really believe the government was planning mass sterilizations? What happened to common sense? I took the challenge to educate the masses. I had a handful of nutty clients. I could handle these guys.
In an argument about the Constitution, I stated that I agreed with Justice Brennan's view that the genius of the Constitution rests not in some static meaning in a world that is dead and gone but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs. A blogger from Florida countered that I was a liberal communist troll and demanded that I show him a copy of that Kenyan's long form birth certificate. Granted I did enjoy an occasional Cuban cigar, but I did not think of myself as a communist. I soon learned my wise ass humor did not sit well with some of the more feverent posters.
I encountered a guy from Montana who suggested we should start stockpiling weapons, join a militia and become sharp shooters. A sampling of his comments included:
- Ted Kennedy may he die in his sleep has killed more people with his car than I have with a gun”
- I think OBAMA will call in foreign troops to control the United States. Nostradamus refers to a MABUS wearing a blue hat as the anti-christ!
- Obama claims to have a law degree..has anyone ever seen this paper or any paper concerning the school records of this fraud..ans NO!
- The left wing doesn't want you to know Obama is building internment camps all over the south west...yes it another Red Dawn in the air!
- Obama is a false flag pres elected by a minstrel show of uninformed racially protective idiots backed up by left wing media!
- Nordyke v King No 07-15763 9th Cir states that 2nd am is in the Const to protect against tyranny. A call to arms Obama is a dictator!
- Obama has declared war on our citizens...answer the call by keeping informed and stockpiling food, firearms, water.
- People of the US.train yourselves in the proficient use of firearms become sharp shooters and survivalists, join a local militia.Slaves noneFor those of you in the Armed Forces inform your commanding officer you will not participate in military activities unless Obama shows a BC
- OBAMA Reagan would wrk in the oval office w/his coat on,Clinton w/his pants off and now you with your head spilt open and your mouth adrift.
- We spotted Russian troops driving duece 1/2 trucks at Roundup Mt no insignia speaking Russsian. What up funny man?
- OBAMA seeks to destroy this country...if your not deaf, dumb and blind pay attention...Hitler is back and he wearing a headscarf!
- Obama just like Hitler will execute the funny men or place them in internment camps they are now building.
- I’ve got some “n words” for Obama: narcissist. nutcase. narrow .numskull. nefarious Where your birth certificate chimp?
- OBAMA want to turn this into planet of the apes...genocide, internment, ex-post facto laws...you must agree with this black bum or else!!
Oddly enough he followed it with a link to Grace Kelly and Ginger Rogers dancing cheek to cheek. He lamented that he wished it was 1935 again. I guess he had a softer side that enjoyed romantic movies. I suggested that 1935 was not the best choice of a year. Not only was it the year Hitler rearmed Germany and the Great Depression, it was also the year traffic lights were invented. So basically, this racist militia member had a thing for Grace Kelly dance numbers. Talk about a unique demographic.
In fairness, most of my return posts referred to him as a crazy old racist koot. I am not exactly sure what a koot is, but I am confident he is one. Sadly, he had followers that shared his views. One enterprising pair singles out anyone who supports healthcare reform. The word is then spread. “Block this guy. He’s a Liberal Troll.” The group then sends links to members on how to respond and where the next town hall meeting is. The modus operandi is always the same. The posters are glorious mimics. Each basically says the same thing. If you are liberal you are a troll, or drinking cool aid or drive by media, etc..
Whatever side of the debate you are on, it’s important to remember we are all Americans. I am sure some of my readers support healthcare reform and some are against it. It should never lead to hanging people in effigy, shouting down differences in opinion and threatening violence. My Montana “friend” obviously has some issues of his own. Besides the obvious racist rhetoric, I was also flabbergasted at some of the odd rumors he believed. Quoting Nostradamus, the guy is preparing for the Armageddon because Congress is proposing a public health care option. Obviously you have the right to believe what you want. As a lawyer, I value the freedom of speech and all our Constitutional protections. If you want to believe that Unicorns exist, the world is flat, WWE wrestling is real, it is your right as an American citizen. But masking threats of violence with the freedom of speech is not freedom. In my day we called it nuts.