hate mail

Like everyone else, I get spam, and because I’m in journalism, I get a lot of spam that is political, after a fashion.

I’m on a couple of far right wing pitch lists, and am forever being encouraged to book guests onto my talk show (we don’t have any) that will explain this week’s variation on the ‘Plot To Destroy America That Obama Is Hatching.’  Often, they can’t even show the President the courtesy of calling him ‘President Obama’ on first reference. Most of the time, the pitch is from a back bencher of the radical right trying to align himself with some meme that Fox and Rush are pushing. It’s third rate, but professional.

The one I got Friday is different: it was a loose rant directed at Jews. It was old school anti-semitism, (the school being Germany circa, say, 1938), with the underlying texture being that Jews, who are second best at everything, are secretly manipulating greater, better, nobler peoples to war so that they can profit/take over.

Sound familiar? Absolutely, but even so, in all my years of seeing strange things delivered by email, I don’t ever remember this. And I can’t help but wonder how much the far right – and in particular Glenn Beck – has opened a very ugly door.

In general, conservatives tend to be reflexive supporters of Israel, so I’m on thin ice here. But then, the majority of conservatives have tended to favor America intervening across the world, having alliances, in general behaving as we have for a long time.

But with two difficult wars under our belts, there are signs here and there of a new isolationism from the right – the Ron Paul wing in particular. And once you’re absolved of looking beyond your borders, there’s an almost reflexive need to find the enemy within.  Beck’s strange attack on George Soros qualifies; even as he intimated that Soros was somehow anti-semitic, Beck described a Jewish puppetmaster,  manipulating people, money, whole nations to achieve…uhhh, profit and power. If I were a disc jockey, this would be an oldie.

(Let me do for Beck what he would not do for Soros, and point out that Beck has said Soros being Jewish is irrelevant.)

The question is – how will this sprout of anti-semitism play out? My impression is that the ‘far but one step this side of terminally far’ right primarily likes Israel because it believes Israel plays a role in the larger (read ‘Christian’) plan for the end times. It’s a powerful meme, but so is ‘everything sucks, it must be somebody’s fault.’ I’ll be checking my email for updates.

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