I sometimes judge the impact I'm having on the world by the amount of hate mail or threats I get. It's a way of making something that could be disturbing into something positive.
I've always been surprised by people's need to contact others directly and threaten, demean, or attack them. It seems like a lot of effort for little return- but maybe I'm just lazy.
So imagine me surprise when I open my inbox to find myself deluged with over 30 nearly identical pieces of hate mail from different people around the country. Obviously I have pissed off some right-wing blogger or website who sent the knuckle-dragging hordes after me. Yet this one was a little different from the "die fag" fare I usually get.
These emails had a Tea Party flair to them.
I've written about some of the doozies I've gotten in my inbox before, from the Ex-Gay Faux "Intellectual" Conservative drivel to demands that I stop caring about Human Rights to the always enjoyable, barely decipherable religious-based attacks to the occasional anti-gay twitter stalker. They all build a wonderful picture of the fringes of society that come out from under their rocks when they feel they have the anonymity of the internet to protect them and their bigotry.
Dear Mr. Hudson-
You should shut up. You look like a queer...
I always appreciate the warm openings of hate mail: "Dear... I hate you." Also interesting how they go right for the way I look. It's almost like they wanted to pull a Jay Leno and ask me to show them my "gay face."
And using looking queer as an insult? Sounds more like a compliment to me. The fear that fringe fundies have of men that look "too soft" or "not manly enough" is always amusing to me. It says so much about the insecurities and deep misogyny of these right-wing letter writers.
This latest missive is by far one of the more tame ones I've received. During and after the anti-gay death threat airport fiasco in Fort Lauderdale, we got tons of hate mail, both at home and at work- much of it very violent. It peaked again when we helped lead the charge against the former Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, the bigoted Jim Naugle, moving from not only letters, but also phone calls and people coming to our house to threaten us. With my husband's campaign and election, we again got calls and mail, some threatening to bludgeon us, others calling us the "scum of Oakland Park". So being called a "queer" (which I don't mind- I actually like to identify as that) isn't too big of a deal and pretty common when you speak out about LGBT issues.
But the really interesting part came after what looked like the suggested text that all the emails started with. The next lines all had some weird tea party, wildly misspelled bent (misspellings verbatim from the emails):
You shuld go back to Kenya with fag-loving Husen Obama...
Stop asking for special rights from your big goverment...
Mind youre own buisness and get out of my face...
Maybe Obamacare can cure your faggness...
And the list goes on. Of course, they were all signed "A Concerned American."
The tea-bagger angle is something interesting (although not at all surprising). I've tried to track down the initial source- an email, website or something that had me listed as an "enemy of freedom", but to no avail. I think it would be interesting to see what I've written about or said that evoked this response.
The current, popular media meme is that the Tea Party are just "average folks who care about overreaching, over-spending government." Tea Party goddess Sarah Palin always scoffs at claims of racism or homophobia in the movement, despite signs with crazy racist rants or anti-gays slurs hurled out of crowds. Yet this blending of the socially conservative "moral majority" of years past and the new energy of of the aggressive anti-government Tea Party show that they are simply two sides of the same wildly conservative coin.
So what set them off enough to copy and paste some hate mail to me? Who knows. But it certainly shines a light on them and their movement (not to mention their spelling skills).
And it makes for a great laugh in the morning.
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