An Open Letter to Steve Elliot of Grassfire.org: Follow-up

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your speedy response to my previous letter. I am thrilled to hear that things are going so well for your organization. I notice with some concern that your histrionic tone hasn't changed much, but clearly you are very excited about your prospects for success re: The Death of ObamaCare. I like a man who stands by his goals.

From the Desk of:
Steve Elliott, President, Grassfire.org Alliance

         After clicking on the link below to watch John Stossel's
         special 20/20 report exposing the truth about ObamaCare,
         take a few additional moments to add your name to our
         national petition:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=21413&RID=14353679

I clicked the link (which appears five times in this e-mail; that seems excessive to me, but that's a personal preference rather than a comment on your letter writing abilities) and watched the clip. I do not think it says what you think it says. 

John Stossel did not, as you put it, expose "the truth about ObamaCare." He did not even mention "ObamaCare"–that is your term, not his. The only time he even refers to Obama is a five second clip where the president is speaking to an audience, suggesting that it might be a good idea if all Americans had access to basic health services. Beyond that, Stossel spends all of his time trashing the Canadian health care system, with a (dis)honorable mention of the British National Health Service, which apparently doesn't have enough dentists to go around. 

That's all well and good. But it doesn't apply to what's going on in the United States at this point in time. Show me anything in the health care proposals being discussed now that attempts to swap our current health care mess for Canada's (or England's) and I'll forward the clip to as many people as I can think of. Otherwise, Stossel is comparing apples and oranges and you are making a leap of faith when you predict that any change in the status quo will produce Canada's health care system.

Anyway, to the bulk of your letter:

Jonathan,

A reinvigorated Obama is preparing for his grand sales pitch to
Congress and America on Wednesday night where it is expected he
will throw down the gloves and demand citizens fall in line!

Not citizens so much as congresspeople (who, I admit, are also citizens), but God, I hope so. It would be the first real sign of balls he's shown in a while. He needs to (as Maureen Dowd put it) "let Bartlet be Bartlet," not make nice with the freaks at the extremes.

Well Americans aren't falling in line. In fact, citizens by the
hundreds are flocking to sign our petition saying no to
ObamaCare every hour!

Hundreds? Every hour? That's . . . well, that's nice. Not really jaw-dropping, but a good effort. I think most of the folks who wanted to sign your petition have already done so. Maybe you could borrow Dick Armey's FreedomWorks mailing list. They should be receptive to this kind of knee-jerk logic.

         Jonathan, I noticed you haven't yet signed this
         important petition opposing government-run health care,
         and wanted to give you one last chance to do so before
         our historic delivery on 9/12.

I'm not going to sign. I'm morally obligated not to sign. I'd sign it if it denounced the current situation in favor of, say government regulated health care, which is where Matt Miller thinks this should go. But government-run health care is Medicare, which my mother and in-laws have, and Medicaid, which my godson has. Why do you want to kill my parents and kid?  (And you should watch your text blocking.)

         But before you sign, take a moment to watch an
         incredible video by ABC News' John Stossel about
         what likely awaits us should ObamaCare become
         a reality.

Click here to see the video:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=21413&RID=14353679

I clicked. I saw. I responded. Let's move on.

++ 45,000 Petitions Needed For Friday Delivery!

That's 15,000 signatures per day for three days. Possible, but I don't think you're getting to half a million by then.

Regardless of Obama's antics on Wednesday evening, Grassfire
team-members will be delivering petitions REJECTING OBAMACARE
to EVERY Senator on Capitol Hill on Friday–
letting each one know that Americans aren't falling in line.

Good to hear! But I cringe at your selection of the word "antics" in this passage. There's a lot to unpack there. A lot of minstrel imagery, especially. But you are busy and so am I, so let's just call this another dangerous foray into the realm of racism and leave it at that.

Already more than 95 team members have registered to deliver
petitions–ensuring this will be a historic event!

It's an historic event, but who's counting grammatical errors? Just out of curiosity, which states are the hold outs? Wouldn't telling us where the holes are be instrumental to filling them?

But we are 45,000 petitions shy from reaching our goal of
half-a-million petitions, and we need your help over the
next 24 hours.

No, you are 45,000 signatures away from creating a single petition to be hand-delivered to 95 (hopefully 100) senators tonight. Right? Or are we e-mailing our individual petitions to our own congresspeople? But if we're doing that then which document are the 500,000 signatures going to reside upon? Really, you must slow down, this is becoming confusing.

Click here to have your petition opposing ObamaCare delivered
to your Senator this Friday:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=21413&RID=14353679

        We only have about a 24 hour window to reach our goal,
        so after signing, forward this important message to 30-40
        friends urging them to watch the video and sign our petition
        in time for Friday's delivery by clicking here:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=21413&RID=14353679

I have given you my requirements for signing and/or forwarding your e-mails in my previous letter. There's no need to repeat them here. By the way, how are you verifying the e-mail addresses and names people respond to these e-mails with? Just curious.

This is our last chance to reach our goal of half-a-million
petitions before the 9/12 event on Capitol Hill, and I want
to mark the events of that day with an exclam
ation point
saying NO TO OBAMACARE!

I wish your event well. Say Hi to Beck from me. Tell him not to cry this time, it makes him look like a pussy. His lunatic shrieking on the phone was much more enjoyable. I'd like more of that, please. If you could arrange it, I'd be grateful.

Thank you for taking immediate action with Grassfire!

Steve Elliott, President
Grassfire.org

No, Steve, thank you.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Frater

P.S: After signing our petition, make it a personal priority to
forward this message to 30-40 friends. Urge them to watch the
Stossel video and sign our petition by clicking here:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=21413&RID=14353679

*sigh*

An Open Letter to Steve Elliot of Grassfire.org

Dear Steve,

I'd like to thank you for keeping in touch the past few months. Really, I had no idea that I was living in a fascist state, so I appreciate your setting me straight on that matter. I notice that the tone and substance of your e-mails have been becoming increasingly hysterical since last November, which concerns me a bit; the last thing an organization like Grassfire.org needs is an obvious lunatic at its helm.  That said, I had no choice but to take issue with some portions of your most recent missive. I'm sure these are the innocent misunderstandings of a man under deadline writing to persuade, but they needed to be addressed.

Anyway, the text of your latest e-mail (edited for space) and my responses are as follows (your text in italics):

From the Desk of:
Steve Elliott, President, Grassfire.org Alliance

Jonathan,

Forget about the separation of church and state, these are desperate
times for Democrats who are suddenly embracing all things holy to
pass ObamaCare!

         Attempting to moralize the health care debate,
         Obama had the audacity to spew that those opposing
         ObamaCare were "frankly, bearing false witness."

         He pressed on, casting his perfect pro-abortion record aside
         saying passage of health care reform is "a core ethical and
         moral obligation: that is, that we look out for one another;
         that is, I am my brother's keeper."

It's interesting to see that you only approve of bringing religion into a public speech when it's spoken by a politician you like or delivering a biblical point of view you agree with. I don't know which Bible you've been reading but it seems to have misprinted the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-4:12):

4:3 At the designated time 9  Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering 10  to the Lord.
4:4 But Abel brought 11  some of the firstborn of his flock – even the fattest 12  of them. And the Lord was pleased with 13  Abel and his offering,
4:5 but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. 14  So Cain became very angry, 15  and his expression was downcast. 16 

4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast?
4:7 Is it not true 17  that if you do what is right, you will be fine? 18  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching 19  at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” 20

4:8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” 21  While they were in the field, Cain attacked 22  his brother 23  Abel and killed him.

4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” 24  And he replied, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s guardian?” 25 
4:10 But the Lord said, “What have you done? 26  The voice 27  of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!
4:11 So now, you are banished 28  from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
4:12 When you try to cultivate 29  the ground it will no longer yield 30  its best 31  for you. You will be a homeless wanderer 32  on the earth.”

The lesson is pretty clear here: Cain was his brother's keeper, and his jealously and rage at his brother's apparent success (as well as his own apparent failure) was both unjustified and destructive. There is no other way to read these passages as far as I can tell. Conservatives speak often of "the politics of envy" within the liberal heart, but how little room there seems to be in your own for those Jesus called "the least among you." Surely those Americans with no access to even the most basic health care fall into that category.

Doesn't his brother live in a tiny box somewhere in Africa?

Since the president's half-brother, George, is not a bullfrog or a praying mantis I assume you're referring to the incident described here. (If
I'm wrong, please correct me.) I'm not sure what your point is, however;
I can think of a few different ways of parsing that line about
"living in a tiny box in Africa somewhere." To me it sounds vaguely
racist to assume that the guy somehow deserves to be in a Nairobi jail cell for possession of a roach (if that is the case), but that's just me.  It's not on a par with burning a cross on the White House lawn or
shouting "Die, Nigger, Die" (certainly not on the same page as  that wacko Randall
Terry who is apparently threatening to blow up congress
if all abortion everywhere is not banned immediately), but likely in
the same realm. To be honest if you wrote me an e-mail with the subject
line of "Just Get That Nigger Out of Office Already!" I'd have a lot
more respect for you. It would be more honest on Grassfire.org's part
than any of the other e-mails I have received so far.

No matter. Obama and the Democrats are pulling out the stops– Bill
Clinton and even the Al "Gore-acle" showed up at events waxing
inspirational and calling passage of health care reform a
"moral imperative."

In fact, this Wednesday (Sept. 9), Obama will address the nation
during a joint session of Congress where I'm certain he will announce
that he has personally partnered with the Almighty to pass health
care reform!

Certitude is nice but generally misguided. Unless one of Obama's staff or God himself actually told you or one of your staff of this, I'd have to conclude that you're making an assumption, and an ass of yourself in the process. (When you ass-ume . . .) Also, Steve, the debate is a moral one, regardless of the fact that you don't like more than half the country's moral position.

500,000 Petitions Opposing ObamaCare!

In terms of purely political activism, that's a worthy goal. In terms of 1% of the population attempting to make sure the 15% of the country that currently has no health care never gets health care, well, that's pretty immoral in my book. Planning your own little "Death Panel," are you? Nice.

Jonathan, we have the momentum, and I refuse to allow Obama
or anyone else to moralize this debate in such a way as to undermine
what we've been able to accomplish so far.

All right, then: how would you like Obama or anyone else to moralize the debate? You don't specifically say, but the wording of your sentence suggests you'd be fine with it if Obama just let you have your political way.  For the record, he's been doing just that on a number of issues. So I don't get why you're so damn scared of him. Is it the Black thing? Is it those sleeveless dresses that Michelle favors? Help me out, here, because I got nothing.

That's why on Wednesday–just hours before Obama takes to the airwaves,
I want to announce to the nation that grassroots opposition to
ObamaCare is on the rise!

Good for you. It' good to want things.

Right now we are only about 60,000 signers shy of reaching our
monumental goal of half-a-million citizen signers who, like me,
refuse to be bullied or intimidated into silence!

"Intimidated into silence"? You make so much noise we can hear you from two states away! I'm sorry to hear you are being "bullied," but that gives me another question to ask: don't you ever get tired of being a victim?

Congress and Obama are desperate. We have the momentum, and with your
continued help we will continue to grow the resistance against
socialized health care.

Someone is certainly getting desperate (project much?) but I doubt it's congress, since this is not an election year. Anyway, Steve, here's what I am willing to do, one American who wants what's best for the country to another (so you say). You don't like socialism? Fine. Discard it. Publish a legal document (signed and notarized) in which you waive your right to every socialized program currently in use in this country at every level of government. Sign away your right to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, the home mortgage deduction, the whole gamut of government programs. Give them all up. Get others on Grassfire.org's mailing list to do the same. Live by the principles you espouse. In return, I will personally forward this e-mail (sans my comments) to everyone I know. It's easy, just write and sign the letter, have it notarized then convert it to a PDF and put it on the web with a link that I can use to see it. That's all I'm asking of you. For a great patriot like yourself it should come easily. If not, well, I'll have no choice but to assume you are merely another greedy, racist windbag.

I think that's fair.

By the way, this conversation that Senator Al Franken had with a group of concerned Minnesotans at the Minnesota State Fair is what an actual debate on health care looks like. Pay particular attention to the redhead with the Tea Party t-shirt. Besides speaking the name "Obama" in the same tone a Florida redneck from 1953 might say another word for a black man, once the information flows and the discussion really gets going, she has absolutely nothing to contribute. Rather like your fellow activists on Grassfire.org.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Frater

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