Hate and Bigotry Burried on the Surface of the Internet

I am accustomed to getting emails that had been forwarded by a friend or relative covering all sorts of subjects that they feel worthy of passing along. After all, it’s just one easy click of the button to share something that they think I would either be interested in or something that they think I should know.

Usually I do a quick read and then I hit the delete button. It’s just as easy as hitting the forward button when I consider how grateful everyone else would be on my mailing list if they new they weren’t getting chain mail from me.

But this election year is different. For two years now I have been receiving the ordinary chain mail that is expected, mostly political. But what makes it different is the sender (my family and friends) have been adding their own opinions to the head of the email with the intention adding credibility to the information at hand. This has been doing the trick. I do spend more time reading the email…not just merely scanning them…and I have been taken aback by what I have read.

These emails are quite disturbing in their own right. Most of them (in fact 99% of them) are based on falsehoods that are rarely verified by the countless forwarders of the email. The intent of the emails have been to show support of the war in Iraq, John McCain, the Republican Party, what it means to be “Patriotic”, etc. I would like to say I receive other topics, but I don’t. In fact, if you do a political study of all of my friends and family, the senders are all Republicans with an agenda. That is to convince me that I am wrong in my beliefs and that I have been “duped” by an idealist/radical/Muslim/terrorist/what have you. Am I scared? They tell me I should be.

But what I find even more disturbing to me are the personal notes that are attached to these emails. My own friends and family members have shown me another side to them that are full of hatred, bigotry, and naivete that I have never seen before. They tell me personally that they “will pray for me” and that I will be held responsible for the future of our children if Obama is elected president.

I would like to say that this finding came with the onslaught of the Obama references at the recent McCain/Palin Rallys. But I cannot. Ever since September 11, 2001, a fear has been fermenting below the surface of good decent people. People who I always considered rational and intelligent. People who I thought could easily discern the truth from the lies. But I’m not so sure anymore. I can’t find any rational argument to their fear except that it has been bread by our current administration with manipulation and scare tactics. And it is now being capitalized on by the Republican Party.

Is this a strong statement to make? Yes, it is. I know that. But I can’t help but be concerned that the people I love are losing themselves within this fear. I find it ironic that these good christian people are becoming the people who spread hate and lies without any truth or verification. They believe what they read in these emails at face value? And when I confront them with the facts, they just send me more emails.

Now John McCain is having to defend Barack Obama against these accusations that are made by his own party against Barak Obama. Even after Obama’s citizenship and religion was verified, a Republican Rally attendee stood up and declared Obama an Arab. A man said that he was in fear for his unborn child with the prospect of an Obama Presidency. Is this the christian way? Why do we have to turn an opponent into a devil in order to win the argument? Can’t the argument stand on it’s own?

For a party who is pledging unity across party lines, they are doing an awful lot to divide the country. Are McCain’s efforts to right a wrong going to be enough? Judging by the emails that I recieved today, I don’t believe it is.

What do you think?