You get these too, right? An email arrived a while ago. I didn’t recognize the sender’s email (though I now know who sent it.) It was sent to me and a nine others. Judging by what followed below it had been forwarded many times to dozens or hundreds of people. Of course it was untrue!
“I am honored to do this (and pass it on).” That was the subject.
The word “honored” was being used in a most patriotic sense. The tease to the reader was it’s possible to be patriotic and honorable and right a terrible wrong with absolutely no effort beyond pushing send! It’s an offer that’s tantalizing.
Illustrated with patriotic and poignant images the email went on to tell a sorry tale of the ACLU and their fight to remove Christianity from bereaved military families. Horrendous. Cruel. Unfeeling. Tragic.
Except, it’s not true!
If I’ve ever gotten an email chain letter that was true it’s been so long ago I don’t remember! Snopes and other urban legend websites have gone through these claims. Snopes conclusion: “FALSE.” The others concur.
The ACLU itself says, “Not only is this untrue, but the ACLU position is exactly the opposite.” On their website this is in bold type. No need to scream here. “[T]he vehement attacks on the ACLU claiming that gravestones and markers at federal cemeteries, including Arlington Cemetery, are in danger is patently false and misleading.”
My guess is the people forwarding this email had no idea what was in it was b.s. Neither did the earlier folks who’ve sent this around. Many people are too intellectually lazy to check out what they send. The upstream originators depend on this.
Unfortunately, somewhere at the beginning of the chain is a person or organization (or both) that does know this is false… who crafted this emotional email from whole cloth to elicit just the kind of response it’s received. And the noise from this massive viral campaign has mostly drowned out the truth!
This is subterfuge. The ACLU may be a target, but it’s not the target. This is bigger. The email’s real reason is hidden as are its originators.
Make no mistake about it, this is hate mail pure and simple. It’s made to appeal on the emotional level because framing these arguments on a truthful intellectual level wouldn’t work. It is masterful because it undoubtedly gets the intended reaction!
That’s also why it’s so sad.