Democratic Underground

Scary Things, Halloween, Annie-Get-Your-Gun Coulter, and The New Patriotism
October 27, 2001
by Elayne Keratsis

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"We absolutely CANNOT go to the mall on Halloween!" an email from my friend Brenda began. Hmmm, I thought. We never go to the mall on Halloween. We do the trick or treat thing. Four hours of sticky, crying kids, runny make up, torn costumes and pounds of questionable candy. The penance we pay as parents. No rest for the wicked, no mall for moms. I read on. "A friend of my friend was dating this Arab guy who said that there will be terrorist attacks in large, suburban malls all over the country on Halloween night."

Thankfully it turned out to be another urban legend, because that plan had to have been hatched by the Terrorist Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight. How many people are going to be at the mall anyway? First of all, any self-respecting trick-or-treater knows that the mall shops give out the most heinous candy and precious little of it at that. As for shopping, in the present state of affairs, there isn't too much serious malling going on. Sure, there is a component of upscale, upwardly mobile types who still have money to burn at Banana Republic and the Pottery Barn, but let's face facts. There are more of us then there are of them. And we'll be out on the streets begging for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and gas masks.

The mall rumor doesn't scare me. If I were a retailer, however, I would be absolutely petrified. Halloween is the second largest retail holiday with retail sales in excess of $3,000,000,000 annually. The national tragedy we are living through remains foremost in our hearts as we think of the victims and survivors, rescue-working heroes, and unemployed brothers and sisters. On the heels of grief comes the fear of the future and how we will protect our country, our lives and our children. But in the trickle down theory of economics, we know it runs downhill and the retail economy is swaying near collapse.

Even that doesn't scare me...much. My fear is more personal. It rises up from the deepest, darkest part of my mind. That dusty file cabinet where you thought you had locked away all of the Stephen King clowns and Night of the Living Dead Zombies. The place where the nagging fear of a tinny scratching sound against a bedroom window pane on a rainy night may not be just a tree limb still lives.

It is those kind of fears which haunt me now as Halloween creeps closer. And one huge fear leads the pack.

I am scared that some trick or treater will arrive on my doorstep resplendent in this season's most horrifying scare attire - the Ann Coulter Mask. Complete with a stringy mane of toss-able bleached hay, this mask strikes fear into the heart of any free-thinking person; no matter their race, creed, religion, and/or political affiliation.

You know Ann Coulter, I’m sure. The wacky talking head, author, self-appointed Clinton-evisceration specialist, and poster gal for the Way-Out Right Wing recently dismissed from her position as contributing editor of The National Review Online. Annie submitted a column revealing her views on the best way in which to deal with Islamic terrorists "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Her bosses rejected her next column and she responded by labeling them “girly-boys.” It all fell apart after that and this year’s scariest mask was given the boot.

This is a face that Jason Voorhees of Friday The 13th fame would shrink from, a mug that Leatherface, upon viewing, would undoubtable abandon any thoughts of a chainsaw massacre and run home screaming.

As faces go, one cannot say that simply by viewing a still photograph of Ms. Coulter is enough for one to break out in a state of hives, or feel immediate retching start to rumble in the belly. Despite Annie's confidence that "I am emboldened by my looks to say things Republican men wouldn't" (TV Guide 8/97}, it's really just an average sort of face. But conditioned like Pavlov's dogs, we now know (as does The National Review) that when the lips on that particular face begin to twitch, a spew of bile will spring forth, acidic as pea soap during an exorcism. And like the pea soup, it's just for shock value.

Like the priests who shunned Linda Blair as the green river started to roll, such is the response of certain people seeking news and commentary when verbiage like that of Ms. Coulter's begins to bubble, and that is inherently scary.

Right about now, you may be thinking "Yeah! Great! People will turn away from her in droves! That's a good thing."

No. It really isn't. Commentary like Annie's is to be read and digested, even though the taste is less than palatable. The leaky baggie full of squirming worms she offers up is the real sickness of what is happening in many pockets of our country now and I thank God there is someone out there in such a psychotic rage that she cannot formulate her opinions into public offerings which may actually sway readers to agree. It's a mantra trying to bubble to the surface of mass hysteria under the thinly disguised moniker of "The New Patriotism."

In these days of "The New Patriotism" (what happened to the Old Patriotism? My grandfather Eddie Hart, a hardworking blue collar Dem from the days of old, instilled it in me decades ago. As kids, he would make us stand at attention in the living room when "The Star Spangled Banner" was blaring out of the RCA television during a ball game! And if the truth be told, I still do it today although I don't insist my son does. I loved my country prior to September 11th and I love it today. Nothing new there). At any rate, In these new and frightening days, free speech becomes more and more limited. To merely differ with the administration in a public statement, never mind question, on any level is akin to treason. My own mother, a lifelong Democrat, sent me an email this evening that read, in part, "Please no more talk of George W. unless it is in good taste. He is our President and must be respected."

Ari Fleischer, as we have heard many times over the past weeks, mused Americans, "should be careful of what they say and do." Yikes Ari! You editorializing or setting policy over there? Caution or you too may get your own Halloween mask.

This is The New Patriotism (TNP, for short) as touted by Annie. The basic five point requirements for participation, as I see it unfolding, are as follows: 1. Sign an emotional affidavit certifying you will not, under any circumstance, question, criticize, or comment negatively on any member of the current administration or the Republican Party. About anything at all. This covenant is an all encompassing umbrella covering any and all issues from September 11th until the end of time. To break the covenant will result in your forehead being stamped "UN-AMERICAN!"

TNP differs from The Old Patriotism slightly. Prior to The New War, Annie had already gotten her gun. It is reported in The Washington Monthly that on August 2, 1999 Ms. Coulter commented on Rivera Live "[Clinton] masturbates in the sinks." Apparently a mere two years ago, some believe it was perfectly fine to announce as fact that the sitting President of the United States...well....you get the picture, yet now it's all different. Could you imagine what would happen to the hapless soul who might suggest that THIS president defiled the very appliance where one rinses their vegetables and strains their pasta? And in the grand scheme of things, who cares? I doubt either gentleman will be coming to my home for dinner in the near future.

2. Sign an emotional affidavit certifying you will not, under any circumstance, question, criticize, or comment negatively on the President. If you reach way back into the ancient history of the past decade, you may recall Annie declared to George Magazine in July of 1999 of the sitting president "If you don't hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don't love your country." And if said president doesn't seem to espouse your particular beliefs, feel free to put words into his mouth. This new ruling must be especially designed for conservative psychics, as Annie told the Washington Post in August of 2000, "The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals."

3. Swear to uphold and defend without thoughtful question any and all military action. Any transgression will result in being branded "someone who does not support our young men and women defending this country." Please note this ruling has also been revised with the advent of TNP and overrides the previous norm as laid down by Trent Lott. Lott, failing to support the President during the Kosovo crisis had previously ruled "We can support the troops without supporting the President." This, it seems, will no longer be allowed in this all-or-nothing-at-all proposal.

I've got a news flash for proponents of this point. I support every single cop, fireman, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine personnel who bravely goes to the ends of the earth and the depths of the rubble to protect and defend. And should I ponder out loud, in the hours and days after the attacks on our country, who, when, where and how military action would or should be taken, it was out of the Old Patriotism and my concern for those very people. Didn't Annie, et al, ever attend kindergarten? "Stop look and listen, before you cross the street, first use your eyes and ears, THEN use your feet."

4. Under no circumstances, resist or question efforts to drill for oil in any spot on this planet, natural preserve or not. The Bible according to Annie reads "God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" (Hannity & Colmes, 6/20/01). I would like to inform all of you readers that I did speak with God last night and He was less than thrilled with that little missive. He asked that I make a special point to mention that if you actually needed clarification from Him on exactly what He intended when He created the Earth to feel free to give Him a jingle.

5. This one speaks for itself. When traipsing up and down neighborhood streets October 31st with your preschool daughter in hand, the child you hope may someday grow up and be President, a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut, or a responsible voting citizen, you must be on the alert to avoid anyone wearing mask of the woman who was proud to say “I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote." Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01. And as you stroll through your culturally diverse community, try to remember this public statement from "Politically Incorrect" in May of 1997: "I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don't need any more." How far back, Annie? "Well, before the New Deal...[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start."

Are you scared yet?

OK, OK calm down.

You shouldn't be. No seasoned/reasonable adult of any political party or belief will read commentary above and agree. And it is that very "special" brand of skewed commentary which sounds the alarm and demands people stand up and take notice...and question just how far the present sentiment in our country is going. And in which direction.

It also makes one wonder where such "philosophy" as Annie's springs from, what are its origins. I do not know the woman. I have a theory though, and it's a good one, tried and true, a formula which works year after year for Hollywood. Perhaps its based on truth.

Once upon a time, the best looking guy in school came to forsake his fabulous girlfriend and invited to the prom instead the lonely wallflower. Plain and unfashionable, maybe even "dippy" as we used to say, the grateful girl got herself all dolled up. Maybe she had a fleeting moment of self-doubt, wondering why the captain of the football team would be interested in squiring her to "the" social event of the high school season, but she was young and naive. This girl may have had the time of her life up to a point, and when the evening turned ugly, as these sort of situations almost always do, the girl turned too. She turned into Carrie, the telekinetic revenge wreaker. And we all know how that story turned out.

Couple this tale with such comments as:

"Clinton is in love with the erect penis."

"We're now at the point that it's beyond whether or not this guy is a horny hick. I really think it's a question of his mental stability. He really could be a lunatic. I think it is a rational question for Americans to ask whether their president is insane."

And my personal favorite for a big laugh at parties: "It's enough [to be impeached] for the president to be a pervert."

Add 'em up. Do the math. I think this story is pretty self-explanatory.

Back to Halloween.

FDR's famous quote regarding the state of fear is oft quoted and seldom in its entirety. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the entire quote "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

This then, Gentle Readers, is the rub. The terror inspired by the kind of malicious silliness Annie burps up can possibly have a crippling effect on young voters, or those merely young to voting. It may have a shunning effect on citizens who, after living through this national nightmare, heard the call to public service, and want to become involved. Or it can have an entirely different effect.

Many of us worked tirelessly to convince all unregistered citizens that their vote will count. Whenever you write a letter to the local paper, or an article for a website, and your words appear in print, the proof is evident. SOMEONE is listening and you can make a difference. Yet when individuals read "The swing voters---I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don't have set philosophical principles. You're either a liberal or you're a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster" (Beyond the News, Fox News Channel, 6/4/00), that may make more of an impact than one hundred workers going door to door. It's just too enticing not to disprove. That should be the real New Patriotism. Fight the dangerous and convert retreat into advance

That's the reason I hope people keep reading her.

And your final thought to me may very well be - "OK, so you made your point, but now that it's all said, why did you state way back in the beginning that the Ann Coulter mask scared you?"

The reason I am afraid some trick or treater may appear at my doorstep wearing the Annie-Get-Your-Gun mask is this: if someone is wearing that mask, then someone, somewhere out there, is actually taking her seriously.