Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let Me Tell You About An Exciting New Money-Making Opportunity

Somehow I got on the e-mail list for VisionAmerica, Rick Scarborough’s conservative Christian organization known for its “Take Back America” and “War On Christians” conferences. The subject line? “A.C.O.R.N. Stopped!”

Funny that some supposed Christians would be interested in a purely political story like ACORN. But whatever.

Like so many of these things, if you click on the link you are presented an opportunity to blast-fax the entire U.S. Senate, stating your opposition to your tax money going to ACORN. Oddly, it also says you “oppose the Jennings nomination”--WTF? I’m guessing this is a typo, that they’ve just recycled a previous blast fax e-mail opposing “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings. Clearly they were in a hurry and why not?

They charge $29 to blast the Senate! And for $54 you can blast the Senate AND make a donation.

Again: WTF?

I get dozens of these things a week. No legitimate advocacy group demands a donation to blast-fax the U.S. Congress.

But the folks at VisionAmerica don’t see it that way. They see a politically-driven story like ACORN as a terrific money-making opportunity, and clearly they wanted to strike while ACORN was still all the rage on Fox and right-wing radio. Don’t wait, act now! You won’t want to miss this amazing chance to fleece a bunch of gullible Fox News watchers suckered in by the latest Glenn Beck/Sean Hannity wingnuttery!

They aren’t the only ones. TPM alerts us to this “Birthermercial”, an infomercial running around the country questioning President Obama’s legitimacy and hawking $30 bumper stickers plus this awesome opportunity:
For a $30 contribution, viewers also get a fax sent in their name to the 50 state attorneys general and Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that President Obama produce his real birth certificate.

Hilarious! I can’t imagine they’ll get too many offers (though those behind the group say they generated "something like 1500 to 2000 faxes" their first week. Let me be the first to call bullshit on that one.)

If there’s one thing I hate most about our political discourse these days it’s how both right and left use the daily uproar to raise funds. On Friday Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) got kudos from the left for her “your mama” retort to Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); less than 24 hours later I get a fundraising e-mail from the DSCC with Stabenow’s name attached and the subject line “Yesterday.”

While the left might not be quite as obvious about it as the wingnut right--I haven’t yet received an e-mail from a liberal organization charging me money to blast-fax Congress--they still make money off of the outrage du jour.

In America today, the populace is sharply divided (or at least, our media tells us we are). Manufactured stories, from demonizing ACORN to the latest wacko nonsense to emanate from Michelle Bachmann’s mouth, are quickly dissemninated across the mass media via Twitter and blogs, then further dissected on cable news and talk radio. When the public is thoroughly riled up, the fundraising e-mails go out. It’s a reprehensible exploitation of people’s very real fears and concerns.

In short, like everything else in this country, our political discourse has been reduced to just another money-making opportunity.

God help America. We’ve been infected with the money bug and it's destroying us.