I'll spare the names of those who forwarded this thing -- because they are not public officials -- but I think it's worth sharing some of the discussion about an email that circulated the other day to many Bristol people. This is what it said:
WARNING FROM Pakistan
This morning, from a cave somewhere in Pakistan, Taliban Minister of Migration Mohammed Omar, warned the United States that if military actions against Iraq continues, Taliban authorities intend to cut off America 's supply of Convenience Store Managers and possibly Motel 6 Managers. And if this action does not yield sufficient results, Cab Drivers will be next, followed by DELL and AOL Customer Service Reps. Finally, if all else fails, they have threatened to send us no more candidates for President of the United States!
It was sent to many people whom I know, including Mayor Art Ward and two former mayors, as well as other municipal leaders. I got one, too, but only saw it today as I tried to catch up on things.
Only one recipient wrote back to the group who received the original email, to say, amidst some utterly obscene language denouncing it, that the message made him "want to puke."
"And to think - American soldiers are dying so that [f--ing] Assholes can produce this pigshit under the guise of free speech!!"
To which, yet another person on the long list responded, "Yeah, and they are dying so you can talk like that... what a waste!"
"Hate speech is ok in your book??" fired back the first angry recipient, the one who wanted to puke when he read the original message.
Ward then wrote "To sender of this E-mail - I don't appreciate the language and inferences of your E-mails. Whether or not we are in agreement with either all or a partial of these messages is immaterial; it can be done with more civility. If that is not possible then I request that I not be forwarded/sent anymore communications from you."
That caused the initial person who complained to say, "I'm sorry about the language but I feel that it is a fitting reply to this incessant hatemongering coming from this group ! As long as bigots masquerade as God loving Christians sending out 'Christian Value' crap I will continue to object to their hypocrisy and hate! Why aren't you - a mayor - objecting to this - don't you represent All of the citizens of Bristol? Muslim as well and Christians? Or do you just think their rights are just a matter of opinion?"
Dodging that issue, Ward wrote back to him again, saying "I am only asking that the discussion be approached and delivered in a civilized manner with respect to those to whom you are sending your message and if you don't feel that you can comply with my request then I respectfully ask that you not include me in your list of E-mail recipients."
I find it curious that only one person among aboput 30 who received the "Message From Pakistan" thought it was worth raising an objection to it.
What's truly obscene is that someone would write, and others apparently endorse, a racist piece of garbage basically accusing one of our two major presidential candidates of being an agent for the Taliban.
People can vote for whomever they like. They can object to candidates' positons and personalities. But when they spew racism and portray a man who may well be our next president as a Taliban plant, they're undermining America and everything our country stands for. No patriot should stand silent in the face of such hateful drivel.
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Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com