We've all witnessed a lot of insanity in American politics over the last few years. Up until the last few days, none of it has seriously bothered me; hey, just more grist for the satire mill. But after witnessing the media's blitzkreig on Joe 'the Plumber' Wurzelbacher, I can only muster anger, and no small amount of fear. Politicians -- Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, et al. -- obviously have to put up with some rude, nasty shit, but it's right there in the jobs description. Joe the Plumber is different. He was a guy tossing a football with his kid in the front yard of his $125,000 house when a politician picked him out as a prop for a 30 second newsbite for the cable news cameras. Joe simply had the temerity to speak truth (or, if you prefer, an uninformed opinion) to power, for which the politico-media axis apparently determined that he must be humiliated, harassed, smashed, destroyed. The viciousness and glee with which they set about the task ought to concern anyone who still cares about citizen participation, and freedom of speech, and all that old crap they taught in Civics class before politics turned into Narrative Deathrace 3000, and Web 2.0 turned into Berlin 1932.0.
"Are you a Joe? Say it proud. Leave it on every goddamn newspaper comment section and online forum. Let these pressroom and online thugs know you won't stay silent when they try to destroy the life of a private citizen for speaking his mind -- because for every one of them, there are a million Joe Wurzelbachers. And for that we should all be thankful." - iowahawk: I AM JOE