Today I'm going to give you a glimpse of the emails I receive telling me what an ignorant fool I am.
After 36 years of these columns, roughly 5,600 in all, my skin is about as thick as a rhino's and I'm no longer surprised by some of the remarks — even this obscenity-riddled one written in response to, I think, the column I wrote about pro-lifers who can't bring themselves to help unwanted kids. Or maybe it was just a commentary on Donald Trump.
"Go f--- yourself you f------ piece of s--- fake news SNOW FLAKE BABY KILLER c--- s------ libhole mother------."
It came courtesy of an obviously extremely creative person with an email handle of balto212, who undoubtedly has a robust vocabulary of obscene words. Do you think he was expressing how much he enjoys my writing? Probably not, but I'd suggest he quit reading it before he suffers a seizure.
Fortunately, the communiques from those who view me as a guy who's completely off base aren't always that expressive. Some sign their names. Others want to simply tell me to get a life. Free speech, after all. Besides, my opinions deserve to be challenged.
Randy Jacobson, who goes by the email moniker of "dabearfan," sends a message telling me I'm pathetic: "Trump has done a great job., even with all the crap he has had to put up with including you -- suppose you want socialism like many of the Dumbocrats want."
Randy and that great Chicago progressive Mike Ditka would make a fine pair. Apparently when Trump distributes taxpayer money to farmers whose markets have dried up because of tariffs, that doesn't count as socialism. Nor do Social Security, Medicare, the power and water utilities or our sewer systems, to name a few of these "far out" radical ideas that pose such a danger to our country.
"Donald Trump is not the problem," emails a fellow named Bill McConnell. "It's people like you who whine and complain and blame everyone else . . . I am sure you mean well and think this article is important. Trust me. It's not. You want a story sit down with me gor a few hours or a couple of days and I will help you understand the important and amazing things that are right in front of you every day you should complain less and do more."
I might take him up on the offer as long as he doesn't introduce me to balto212.
Emailer kbe1061 is upset with my criticism of Scott Walker. He insists that teachers were making too much money before Walker came along and put a stop to their unions' greed.
"So as I see it Mr. Zweifel -- you propose that the teachers union gets dibs at the trough first and everyone else gets the leftovers. Or do you propose that taxation just becomes so oppressive that people and industry leave the state -- you know like under Jim Doyle," he wrote.
"I suggest you get out of your insulated Madison bubble and into the real world where the rest of us have to live," he adds. "Maybe you have had the benefit of being overpaid for your tripe -- but we the little peons you look down upon have not."
So, I guess the answer is that we all look down upon those overpaid teachers — you know, the ones we charge with our future. I'd also suggest that people weren't leaving the state under Doyle since virtually every other state was also suffering the effects of George W. Bush's Great Recession.
A fellow who identifies himself as Mike Flood also considers Madison a weird bubble. So we who live here aren't for real.
"Wow, you must live in the cocoon of Madison that cannot quite accept reality," he writes. "Our state has never been stronger thanks to (Walker). The only question is how long will it take our new governor to put us back in the state before Walker became governor. So wake up and write something truthful."
And to find that truth, I'll first contact "pants-on-fire" Scott Walker and his best buddy, Donald Trump.
Then there's Brian Hahn, who insists I'm all wet complaining about Trump's tax cuts. As a businessman, he's never seen the economy so robust.
"You are dumb if you think the tax cuts haven't helped . . . Get a life."
Oh, they've helped all right — kept the economy moving at roughly the same pace it was during Obama's second term. The only question now is who's going to pick up the tab for the deficit that has increased 40 percent since the cuts were enacted?
But, keep those letters coming — especially those of you think I'm not that bad at all.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com, 608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.
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