By Joe Campbell
March 10th, 2010
I expect to see right wing propaganda in these emails. And over-the-top propaganda that pushes the limits of credibility. Oftentimes, propaganda that is then adopted by more mainstream right wingers. (See this graphic illustrating how “ObamaCare=Gov’t funded abortion and euthanasia.”) Although sometimes not. (See Chuck Norris claiming that health care reform is actually about socialist jackboots forcing their way into your home to “educate” your children.) Such claims frankly seem a bit idiotic and conspiratorial for me to respect anyone who pushes them.
And TownHall.com and its advertisers apparently agree, as they also send out blatant scams and get-rich-quick schemes. At least once, they combined the political propaganda with the get-rich-quick scheme leading to the actual headline: “How a Ruthless Government Conspiracy Could Make You $97,500 Richer by March 2010.”
But today, I just received the first email that gave me a sense of foreboding. I have nothing against guns. I believe in the right to bear arms. And sure, it bugs me that right wingers use the term, “patriot” as a synonym for right wing. And yes, once again, TownHall.com is using its hallowed patriotism to make a few quick bucks. But given the grand conspiracy theories being fed, like some sort of psychosis-inducing drug, to the readers of TownHall.com readers, is this email anything other than a call on its readers to be ready to use violence in some civil war against Obama?
Especially the two headlines: “Millionaire Patriot Wants YOU Armed and Trained!” “Because he wants every responsible American citizen prepared for what is coming…”
The right wing has abandoned any serious attempt to develop ideas on how to govern. Now, the right wing merely excites its base by turning news and politics into the plot of a thriller. (I call this plot the Unified Theory of Obama.) If you watch Fox News, they can provide you with the ominous background music. All the morally-polarized archetypes are there. The foreign-looking men in dark lighting. The weak-kneed liberals ashamed of America who apologize for how we defend ourselves. The many who have been duped by a charismatic leader who, once the shades fall from their eyes, will look with newfound respect upon those who saw this coming all along. And of course, the few, the righteous vanguard of freedom – the patriots. During the Bush administration, the story was simple: George W. Bush was a patriot who was being undermined by the liberals determined to coddle the terrorists who were on the verge of destroying America. Bush’s fellow patriots just needed to keep voting Republican, and all would be alright.
But then things got more complicated. Now according to this plot, a possibly foreign man, possibly a secret Muslim, but at least someone sympathetic to terrorists and socialists has taken over. He even promised to “stand with the Muslims” when things turned ugly! He is jamming socialist bills down the American people’s throat! He is taking over the entire economy: the financial industry, the auto industry, and soon the health care industry (Government takeover of one sixth of the economy!) and then the internet (Net neutrality is the government takeover of the internet!!) and energy (cap and trade).
“What is coming” is clear to all red-blooded Americans: a civil war. The threat is so imminent that a growing group of men and women have taken an oath not to obey certain orders from the federal government involving shooting at non-violent citizens.
Given this context, this theory of Obama, the message is clear: All patriots should get guns before Obama, like Hitler before him, tries to take them away, so you can be “prepared for what is coming.” And you won’t be alone. Because this patriotic millionaire has put aside some handguns he will give you for FREE, if only you pay the reasonable fee of $1,000.00 for some training. But that’s not all, all you good patriots will get a free DVD! So, do your duty, support gun rights and protect capitalism: Give “Dr.” (aka Chiropractor) Ignatius Piazza your money!
Nothing wrong with making a few bucks on people’s panic. That’s the great thing about the right wing: Even when calling on citizens to get armed for the coming civil war, capitalism always comes first.
The full email is below the fold…