Sunday, March 02, 2008

Family Feud II: Revenge of the Stupid

It was just a scant two weeks ago that I got to participate in my family's first knock-down, drag-out, political pissing match ever via email. As some will recall, I gave as good as I got. Towards the end of the reparte, my dear Uncle Moe signed off with, "Please do not contact me about this again." Fair enough, I thought, and told him so.

Well, it turns out Uncle Moe just couldn't keep his thoughts to himself, so I woke up to find this gem sitting in my in-box:

Please no diatribes or response on this...

Scratch Obama and you find Jeremiah Wright, who is connected to Louis Farrakhan. Wright thinks Farrkhan is a great man. Wright has also said that "Zionism has an element of "white racism", and that the attacks on 9/11 were a consequence of violent American policies and proved that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."... People are judged by who their friends are. I for one do not want a president who associates with Jeremiah Wright. Wright is Obama's minister and he is very close to Obama. If Obama becomes the president, Wright gains a much larger stage for his anti-Jewish and anti-White crap.

Now, I seriously contemplated ignoring this. I could have been the bigger man (the irony of having to be the "bigger man" with a man several decades older than me did not escape me). But the fact that he prefaced this tweak with "don't write back" just pushed my buttons- as he no doubt knew it would. So I shot back. I told him I would try to keep my diatribing to a minimum while providing him with a few relevant links:

A- Obama on Wright and Farrakhan.

B- The rather dubious argument that Obama's close relationship with Wright means that he and Farrakhan are BFFS.

C- OMG! Creepy religious nutjobs are endorsing candidates? Really? Wow, that is bad. But presumably it's even worse when they seek them out, right?

(It was really bad timing for Uncle Moe on this one. Doesn't he read the news?)

I also pointed out that he seemed to be forgetting the heart-warming moment where McCain had groveled at Jerry Falwell's feet (eight years after denouncing him and Pat
Robertson as crazy bigots). Did he remember Jerry, I asked?

Let's be clear: I think Farrakhan is a schmuck, and this pastor doesn't seem like such a great catch, either. But it's ridiculous for you to point fingers and talk about "you're judged by your associates" while McCain is bending over for some of the craziest evangelicals this side of the Westboro Baptist Church. Look in the mirror.

Needless to say, this did not go over particularly well. Moe wrote back that I wasn't addressing his points (maybe because I couldn't find them):

Evangelicals are supporters of Israel, they do not fly off to Libya to party with Qaddafi and they do not believe the US deserved 9/11. Maybe you should rethink your definition of a nutjob. Obama's family has a 15+ year relationship with Wright, and Wright is a source of inspiration for Obama's speeches.

Maybe you should join the Trinity United Church of Christ [Wright's church] and create a whole new branch of the family tree. Then not only can you think like Obama, you can be just like him.

Wow, harsh. Among Jewish families, telling someone to "go join a church" is sort of like telling them to go jump in a lake, except the lake is full of piranhas and you're wearing ham underwear. This was also a little ironic, since none of Moe's wives have been Jewish and SG and I go to shul far more often than him.

I tried to take Moe's second salvo slowly, as one might with a large meal, or a very stupid wine:

1. "Evangelicals are supporters of Israel"

From what I have read and observed, the majority of evangelical support is questionable. They have their own agenda, both political and religious (no peace with the Palestinians, no giving up "God's land", regardless of any circumstances- wow, you'd think it was THEIR country or something). I would argue that their ideology (no land for Palestinians ever) is not in Israel's best interests, and am disturbed by the claims to on the one hand love the Jews as God's people and on the other hand believe in an end-time theology that ends up with two-thirds of all the Jews dead and the last third converting. Right now, Israel is content to take evangelical money and sweep the rest of those "minor" disagreements under the rug- an approach I find foolish as well as morally bankrupt.

2. "They do not fly off to Libya to party with Qaddafi"

But some of them support and shelter folks that bomb and murder abortion providers. Is that much better?

3. "They do not believe the US deserved 9/11"

This one was sad. I mean, maybe it's just me, but I was pretty sure that Falwell's post-9/11 rant was pretty much common knowledge at this point. Just in case Moe hadn't seen it, I provided a link and added,

If you'd bother to research Hagee you would find he has made similarly bizarre moral and theological pronouncements. Not Farrakhan, certainly, but from where I'm sitting, pretty squarely in nutjob country.

4. "Wright is a source of inspiration for Obama's speeches"

And McCain, who previously COMPARED Falwell to Farrakhan in 2000, kissed his butt in 2006. But that's ok?

5. "Maybe you should join the Trinity United Church of Christ and create a whole new branch of the family"

I had to give it to him, that was a pretty good zing. It took me a whole five minutes to figure out a snappy come-back:

That's a pretty good idea, Uncle Moe, but Chicago's too far for me to go just for church. But Hagee's megachurch is just down the road from you in San Antonio. Why don't you go join and let me know how it goes. Who knows? Maybe you can shake the hand that shook McCain's- and Falwell's.

Uncle Milt then joined in, but only to tell me that I was "extremely rude" and that if I was his kid he would "wring my neck." (If he thinks I'm bad, he should just wait till his kids hit puberty.) He concluded by saying he wanted me to take him off my email list (which was sort of strange since all I doing was hitting the "reply to all" button). This was kind of sad, especially since not ten hours before he had written a very nice email complimenting my "gift" for writing. Maybe Milt thinks I should stick to fiction?

A few hours later, Uncle Moe wrote that he didn't want me to "correspond" with him, "at any level."

I thought about pointing out that he had written to me, but it didn't seem like the thing to say. I also thought about the irony that this was the most Moe had "spoken" to me in years. I also considered saying something like, "well, ok, but can I trust you to keep your promise this time?," or, "does this mean we won't be seeing each other in church?" but those also seemed like they would just make a bad situation worse. Ultimately I settled for a brief, "Got it."

Abbot Yid also wrote a brief response begging everyone to calm the hell down, and noted that "the good thing is that there's so much interaction going on between us!"- Which is pretty funny, since Abbot's standard view of things is not only that the glass is half-empty, but that "it has dust on it."

So, apparently I'm on several people's shit list for a while. I guess I shouldn't expect any Hanukkah cards from my uncles this year. And all because Moe can't keep his mouth shut. Shame.


sam said...

What bullshit. I'll send you two Hanukkah cards to make it up for your idiot relatives.

Alice said...

Go you!

If your uncles are anything like you, I imagine they (secretly or not so secretly) kind of enjoy this kind of arguing. And hey, it sounds like a substantive debate with evidence and everything, which is a whole lot better than my family's "proof by volume".

But ditto on the Hanukkah cards.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Something tells me they would enjoy it more if I didn't have the bad habit of writing back.

I bet they feel really blind-sided: Who could have known that college and blogging have the effect of making the youngsters form opinions and construct arguments? Poor things.

Sam said...

You give them that much credit?