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What Time is it, Mr. Fox?
February 27, 2002
By Pamela Troy

YEAR 1

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: Dudley

But the problem is, you see, the Reverend Mr. Jeff Dudley denies saying it.

As a conservative (an unfashionable thing to be these days, I will admit, but then, I've never been one for trends) I tend to be just a wee bit skeptical about believing EVERYTHING I hear from the liberal media. Now, I realize that Jeff Dudley, as a man of God and one of those benighted "Bible Thumpers" you liberals so openly despise, is instantly suspect in your eyes, but I invite you to consider, just for a moment, the possibility that the man has been misquoted. Consider that, whatever his beliefs, he's plainly not an idiot and is highly unlikely to deny saying something he is alleged to have said in front of several reporters. Is it really likely that he would issue such a blatant denial if there were people who could prove he'd actually said it?

Before you get all outraged and huffy and accuse me of being in league with whatever dire right-wing conspiracy you suspect, let me make it clear that I do NOT endorse the sentiments in the quote you ascribe to him. Nor do I entirely agree with much of what Dudley HAS gone on record as saying. That does NOT mean, however, that I am willing to stand by and allow someone to be grossly misrepresented, no matter how strongly I may disagree with his views. And that is the difference I'd like to observe, between conservatives and liberals and why, whatever misguided views may sometimes be expressed by certain fringe minorities of the right, liberals remain a far greater threat to civil liberties than the powerless and voiceless right.

YEAR 4

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: The Rev On TV

That old quote again. Sigh.

Are you familiar with the word "context?" I invite you to look it up. Yes, he may have said those words and then foolishly denied saying them the first time they were quoted, but anyone with half a brain can see that the construction you and other liberals have put on them is completely false. MUST you take everything so literally? When you were a child and your mother got exasperated with you and said "If you do that again, I'll kill you," did you call child services and tell them you were in fear for your life? (Scratch that. Judging from the messages you've posted to this board over the past few years, you probably did.)

It is completely unfair, not to mention unseemly, to take words that are obviously meant figuratively and either interpret them literally or pretend to interpret them literally. While I will acknowledge that Mr. Dudley does sometimes get a little emphatic in his rhetoric, I think his greatest flaw is naivete. He actually believes that he can say things in public and have them received in the spirit in which they were offered. No doubt, he will get more experienced once his show gets national syndication and will eventually be disabused of that shockingly unliberal notion.

YEAR 8

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: Bestseller Topics

I knew it was only a matter of time before you brought that up.

So what if he said it again? So what if he wrote a book expanding on the topic? You can post as many quotes and as many footnotes from Dudley's latest as you want, it's still just words. Nothing more. Liberals are not being blacklisted or physically attacked in this country. Crowds of Dudley-inspired Brownshirts are not roaming the streets and smashing store windows. You know as well as I do he doesn't have the power to put what he proposes into effect, and it is truly a mystery to me why you keep obsessing about this man.

Nobody, after all, is forcing you to watch his television network or read his books. If it makes the poor boobs who lap up his stuff happy, let the man say whatever he wants! It's his right. Do you have something against the First Amendment?

Trust me. As a conservative and a Republican who has been active in several campaigns, I can assure you that Jeff Dudley is NOT considered a player, and using his words to denigrate the aims of the Republican party and paint us as a bunch of religious right extremists is grossly unfair. The man is a televangelist. A very wealthy and successful televangelist, I'll grant you, but that hardly means his word is going to become law anytime soon.

YEAR 14

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: Your Paranoia

Look, I've said it all along, and I'll say I again. Jeff Dudley is an idiot. His pronouncements are read mainly for their entertainment value, not just because they are hilarious in themselves, but because it's fun to watch liberals like you get so predictably red in the face and indignant when you take him seriously.

Yes, I looked at those links you sent me. What they describe is horrible and the people responsible should and will be punished. If you'll just glance at some of the pictures accompanying those newspaper articles, you will see that the thugs responsible for the bombings, beatings, and other incidents are marginal types, tattooed, shaven-headed trailer trash who hardly require Jeff Dudley to inspire them to commit mayhem. You know and I know that there are extremists at both ends of the spectrum, the right AND the left. And no, I have no intention of sending you similar articles about recent left-wing violence. There are few things duller than that silly game in which people online pelt each other with cites. The fact that liberals are just as capable of being obnoxious morons as the right is evident without me resorting to your tactics.

When you make an assessment of any political party, you should look, not to the streets, or even the airwaves, but to the people they have actually put into power. Every time Dudley has run for office he's lost - badly. As a moderate conservative, I didn't vote for him, I wouldn't vote for him, I know nobody among the many moderate conservatives in my circle who did or would vote for him. And surely, after all these years of correspondence, all this time of what I, at least, consider an online friendship, you know that I would never advocate or even excuse the policies or attitudes Dudley has embraced. Try to climb down off of that frightened perch on your soapbox, look around, and put a little - just a little! - trust in the voters of this country.

YEAR 20

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: The Election

I know this is a cliché, but I have to say it - Get over it.

The election is finished. The decision was made. You can pick at the details all you want, cite anecdotal polling-place horror stories until your fingers fall off, the fact is that your guy lost, and that's all there is to it. I'm sorry, but I had to laugh at that picture you sent me, even though I know that you were in dead earnest. A riot? Oh come on, Claire! Take a look at those sedate "rioters." Yes, they look angry, but are you seriously telling me that these young executive types combed their hair and put on those ties so they could hold a riot? And what came of it, really? So a few vote counters got chased down a hall and one panicked to the point where he needed the police to hold his hand! If it was such a terrible thing, why have no arrests been made?

Furthermore, second guessing our new president's decisions about appointments and foreign policy is simply counter-productive and, this early in his term, profoundly inappropriate. Of course he gave the appointment to Jeff Dudley! He owes Dudley. The whole party owes Dudley. That doesn't mean we're handing the reins over to him, just that we're giving the man a title and a seat at official dinners. That members of your own party confirmed his appointment indicates that most people who understand these things know it's a harmless post. Though I don't agree with a lot of what he says, I certainly am not going to begrudge the man a little recognition after all the time and effort he's put in over the years.

Rest assured, Claire, we will keep an eye on him.

YEAR 22

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: Now is the Time

Do you understand that we are at war?

I'm sorry, but I really have to ask, because I don't get the impression that you comprehend this reality, and the sacrifices that are required by it. We can't live in the past. There are things that we are all simply going to have to give up for the duration of this war, and the sooner you understand this the better it will be for everyone.

It is genuinely painful for me to have to say this, but I am rapidly losing sympathy. In the wake of a terrorist attack when the rest of the country has pulled together and agreed to work towards a common goal, you insist on standing on the sidelines and carping. Now is not the time, Claire. A year or two ago, your messages were amusing and often thought-provoking. They are not so any longer.

Now, I have read over several times that quote from Dudley's recent speech that you sent and I must confess I am completely at a loss over what it is you object to so strongly in his very simple, very truthful statement. While normally I have little use for the man, in this crisis he has found his voice and is worth listening to. This country - your country - is in danger. That is a fact that is undeniable. Yes, the Constitution is a great, and a glorious document, but for pity's sake, it's not an idol to be worshiped! That you would sacrifice us all to some abstract goal of fairness embodied in an ideal on paper is truly beyond belief. I would never have expected it of you.

Please, Claire. Not now. Later, but not now. Be patient.

YEAR 25

Compnet Political Discussion Board
Sender: Albert Fox
To: Claire Presley
Topic: Dudley

I was sorry to hear about your brother.

There are limits to a country's forbearance. When someone is foolish enough to provoke the authorities into a strong response, it's unfortunate, but the fact is, most Americans will understand why it had to happen and place the blame firmly where it belongs. Please, I implore you, stop and think before you act or speak. I would truly hate to see you hurt yourself in a similar manner. And, yes, I heard that speech by Jeff Dudley, and noted that sentence you pointed out, the one you insist should be familiar to me. It is familiar to me only as common sense is familiar to any thinking person. What Dudley said is nothing less than a fact known to any true American.

Do you have a problem with it?

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