I have a very strange email relationship with a certain somebody in North Dakota. This person, who I’ll call Mr. Anti-Mex, is a family friend of some sort that I’ve never quite figured out (my dad’s side of the family hails from the Dakota farming town of Colfax). Ever since he first heard that I wrote about immigrants, he’s placed me on his long list of email contacts and regularly sends me diatribes against immigrants. Most are simply forwards of forwards of forwards, often screaming in ALL CAPS with various fonts and colors, usually with plenty of spelling errors and a call at the end to support our troops. Overall, nonsensical.
Over the years it’s become clear that Mr. Anti-Mex has taken me on as his special project for conversion. I’m likely the only non-hater of Mexican immigrants on his list, and I’m sure this burns him up inside. On Saturdays, I’m guessing that he and his buddies get together to recap the stories of the week on Fox News, and can imagine him explaining his conversion project with pride. (I’m going to assume they talk in the same fabulous style that they email.)
Setting: Basement somewhere in North Dakota. Sean Hannity blasting on TV. Bud Lights in hand.
Nearest Undocumented Mexican Immigrant: 150 miles.
Anti-Mex: “I’ve got this bleeding heart guy in New York who supports the invasion of aliens that is going on RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Buddy #1: “I know that INVASION OF ALIENS!!! What is his problem???!!!
Anti-Mex: “The RECONQUISTADORES!!! I haven’t figured out how yet, but they’ve got him brainwashed.
Buddy #2: But why allow him to see our SPECIAL EMAILS with their SECRET information about how this country is being DESTROYED by AMNESTY FASCISTS????
Anti-Mex: “Don’t worry, I’m setting him straight. With each note we are chipping away at his PRO ILLEGAL ALIEN AGENDA!!!”
Wife of Anti-Mex, peering down from upstairs: “Why are you all shouting when you’re sitting next to each other?”
Anti-Mex: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN????? WHO’S SHOUTING???!!!!
I do have to admit that I almost always read the emails in their entirety. At the very least I figure they keep me up to date on the sort of trash that is being passed along within the anti-immigrant fringe. Every now and then I actually respond to Anti-Mex and his followers, which usually elicits a bunch of comments against me, which I enjoy reading even more. But if I’m in a rush, I just check out the email’s credibility on Snopes, learn that it’s a hoax, and email the list the Snopes site. My little good deed for the day.
However, my tactic of attempting to debunk conspiracies and hoaxes was recently revealed to be entirely pointless. A few days ago I got another juicy email from Anti-Mex, entitled “Shotgun Preteen vs. Illegal Alien Home Invaders.” (As you can see from the email titles, it’s very hard not to open these up).
The email chronicles a story of an eleven-year-old girl in Montana who, when home alone and faced with a break-in by two immigrants, shoots them to death with a shotgun. It concludes: “Ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC news…an 11 year old girl, properly trained, defended her home, and herself…against two murderous, illegal immigrants…and she wins.”
Within two minutes I found that the email and events it describes was a hoax, and sent the link to the list. I got an immediate response from Mr. Anti-Mex himself.
“We are getting tired of telling you the same thing over and over…there are times the massage [sic] may technically not be 100% right, but, DO YOU EVER JUST GET IT??????????????????? Also, have you ever heard and if so, do you believe, SNOPES leans WAAYYY left.”
It’s a priceless email in understanding the psychology of the rabid anti-immigrant fringe. The fabricated story is not “technically 100% right.” Still, it’s lack of basis in reality should in no way prevent me from “getting it,” the “it” being the obvious truth that undocumented Mexican immigrants want to invade the homes of white girls (and, no doubt, rape them). Of course, the fact that the story never happened might explain why it was never covered in the media, but why think about that fact when you can just throw a dozen question marks behind a screaming ALL CAPS sentence? Logic has no place in a shouting match.
As the battle over immigration heats up, and we continue to see lots of positive news for folks in favor of comprehensive reform, I’m expecting to see a dramatic uptick in the number of emails I receive from Anti-Mex. I’ll likely read every one of them, maybe even save them as my own personal monument to a shrinking and angry group being brushed aside in favor of an America that values compassion and diversity over bitterness and racism. And if and when a good reform bill is passed, I’ll send out an email congratulating him on having fought a good if losing fight from his computer. I’m already looking forward to his response.