Can an Email Propagandist Be a Good American?
"I mean," continued Judiciary Pag, gazing round the ultramodern (this was ten billion years ago, when ultramodern meant lots of stainless steel and brushed concrete) and huge courtroom, "these guys are just obsessed."
This, too, was true, and is the only explanation anyone has yet managed to come up with for the unimaginable speed with which the people of Krikkit had pursued their new and absolute purpose—the destruction of everything that wasn't Krikkit.
THIS IS THE FINAL INSTALLMENT in a series about a propaganda email which claims that a good Muslim can't be a good American.
The email gives ten "reasons" for that very strange conclusion, all aimed at getting some good Americans to be fearful, suspicious, and even hateful toward other good Americans.
If you want to start at the beginning, read each of the ten reasons, and see how each of them would apply equally to a good Christian, go here.
That's not to say, of course, that they really apply to a good Christian (the title of this series is intended ironically), but that it would be just as silly to believe them of a Muslim as it is to believe them of a Christian.
After presenting the ten reasons, the email goes on to drive its conclusions home, and motivate readers to pass its poison on.
It concludes with four additional observations and exhortations:
"Therefore, after much study and deliberation.... Perhaps we should be Very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. - - - They obviously Cannot be both 'good' Muslims and good Americans.. Call it what you wish it's still the truth.. You had better believe it. The more who understand THIS, the better it will be for our country and our future."
"Therefore, after much study and deliberation...."
Well, not much, really.
Virtually every claim of importance was a lie, and what wasn't untrue was presented in a way to be misleading.
Above all, the entire presentation depended on an uncanny lack of common sense.
"Perhaps we should be Very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country."
Perhaps we should be very suspicious of this email.
What would you say to an email that argued "perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL CHRISTIANS in this country"?
You might think that someone was trying to incite people to prejudice, and hateful attitudes toward Christians.
Trying to see if they could stir up some trouble and ill-feelings?
"Call it what you wish it's still the truth.."
This is a clever little twist, subtly aimed at any internal prejudice the reader might have.
"Others may call it prejudice, but it's still the truth..."
You're justified in your hate, dear reader...
Pretty nasty stuff, neatly buried in the middle of a paragraph.
"The religious war is bigger than we know or understand. . ."
See what I meant about stirring up trouble?
The religious war?
The email names it as though it exists, but of course it doesn't.
Are some of the terrorists doing it for Allah? Yes, in the same sense that some of our home-grown terrorism is done in the name of Jesus.
Crazy and dangerous people can be religious—they can even justify their behavior by using their religion, but that doesn't mean that Christianity and Islam are at war.
Unless, of course, propaganda like this manages to start a religious war.
Because that is obviously the intent—spreading these lies to inflame the prejudice of Americans against their fellow Americans.
Whoever wrote this is not a friend of America; can you imagine the chaos that would result in this country if this kind of propaganda were successful—if American Christians started hating and fearing American Muslims, and American Muslims began to return that hate and fear?
"Footnote: The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within.. SO FREEDOM IS NOT FREE."
Actually it wasn't "The Muslims" who said that.
It was a Russian leader during the cold war.
And even if there is a Muslim somewhere, or even Muslims somewhere, who say that sort of thing, it's like saying "the Christians have said they will kill all Muslims" because some Christians, somewhere, said it.
Common sense, folks.
Don't confuse the angry fringe with the great mass of well-meaning people who just want to attend their church, or mosque, or temple, and get on with building a life for their family.
"THE MARINES WANT THIS TO ROLL ALL OVER THE U.S."
Again, (sigh) common sense.
What could that possibly mean?
"The Marines"? Every single Marine? They're Americans, remember? I'll bet you can't find one political position that every single marine agrees on.
Perhaps it just means that it's the official policy of the Marines, taken by their leadership.
You know better than that.
This final shot, designed to push the reader into forwarding the email, sums up the attitude of the author toward truth—complete disinterest.
Invoking the Marines might have the desired effect, so he or she invokes the Marines.
Never mind whether it's true .
So is there any truth in this email at all?
There's always a tiny kernel of truth in any propaganda.
Should we be afraid of the average Muslim?
No more than we should be afraid of the average Christian, or even the average fundamentalist.
But we should be a bit concerned about extreme fundamentalist fanaticism, whether Christian or Muslim (or any other religion) which sees anything other than itself as the enemy, which believes that its truth is the only truth, and would like to see everything else extinguished.
Remind you of the point of view in this email?
And we should be even more concerned about anonymous writers of emails, whose motives we do not know, who attempt to use that legitimate worry to pit good Americans against other good Americans.
All good Americans—which includes good Christians, good Muslims, good Jews, and even good atheists—should be very suspicious of this kind of hate speech, which threatens to first divide, and then destroy our country from within.
The person who wrote this email is not a good American.
And we should have the common sense not to listen.
At least, that's what I think today.