Although I visit you daily to read the many insightful and informative posts, it has been a while since I've posted anything here myself. But it isn't because I don't love you anymore. In fact, I cherish Red State as the very grounds upon which I gained my legs for writing political commentary and gained the courage to become a writer for Yahoo! U.S. News. Since there, I have earned the status of Featured Contributor in politics and even managed to wrangle a Rising Star Award (for page views) and a Contributor Award (for content) -- the first contributor in Yahoo history to win both awards simultaneously. I am also in the running for their Contributor of the Year Award -- a little achievement that carries a $1,500 bonus!!!
Anyway, as I am sure many of you (particularly Mr. Erickson) are already aware, when you have the audacity to report anything negative about certain candidates or issues -- which are beloved by others -- you open yourself up to attacks. While most of the offended parties confine their displeasure with your opinions to essentially harmless verbal tirades there are those who are so outraged that they go so far as to openly threaten to find you and basically teach you a lesson. My recent commentary in an article titled, "Ron Paul is a Dangerous Tin Man Who Has No Heart" (while attracting nearly 70,000 page hits in two days) elicited just that type of threat.
Now, while I will admit that one statistic mentioned in my Tin Man article was off (I said Paul had been a friend of Alex Jones for 30 years rather than 10) the information regarding Ron Paul's long-term attachment to people of irrational mind, his denial that he had any knowledge of the racist/bigoted remarks published in the now infamous newsletters under his name and his belief that the United States should end ALL foreign aid despite the number of lives saved (while denied by his supporters) are all a matter of record.
So, after receiving over 5,000 responses to the aforementioned article (primarily of the childish, insulting and vulgar variety from Ron Paul fans) I was inspired to write another article, which I share with you now, cross posted from Yahoo! Voices (known formerly as Associated Content).
An Observation Based on Personal Experience
COMMENTARY| While discussions of politics are well known to insight some heated discourse between those with divergent perspectives, never in my life have I seen a more vicious response to an opposing opinion than those displayed by the most extremely devoted and near cult-like followers of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Among the Characteristics Associated with Cult Groups posted by the Christian Science Journal, Janja Lalich, Ph.D. and Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. describe cult members as "elitists" with an "us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society." Additionally, "questioning, doubt, and dissent" regarding the group's ideology is "discouraged or even punished."
Rick Ross, a cult intervention specialist and expert consultant says that the cult mentality has "no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry" and "whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as persecution."
A review of the comment threads on any article that is critical of Ron Paul, like the one written by Joseph McQuaid of the Union Leader, provides a conclusive display of the cult mentality.
In the wake of Paul's failed 2008 presidential effort, an analysis written by Arnold Kling of the Library of Economics and Liberty and posted on TCS Daily discussed the cult mentality and the apparent inability of some Paul supporters to tolerate opposing opinions and the people who present them.
"I do not know Ron Paul," Kling explained in his piece called Politics and Cults. "He may be wise. He may be decent. But to dismiss all doubts about his judgment and his character would be to succumb to a cult."
In my own observations as a featured political contributor for Yahoo! News -- and having experienced first hand what happens when you say anything unflattering about Ron PauI -- I have come to the conclusion that there are essentially three types of Ron Paul supporters.
Take "BenKramer" from Ohio for example. In the comment thread to my article, Ron Paul Is a Dangerous Tin Man Who Has No Heart, "Ben" wrote, "Hey Patricia You are a lying #$%$ take your ideas on Ron Paul and shove them up your #$%$ Ron Paul has the best ideas for the people and the wordt [Ben's spelling] for big government and the New World Order!"
While the title of the article is certainly provocative it hardly warrants such a vulgar display of insult and profanity.
In response to the same article an individual who used the screen name "Pammi" wrote a scurrilous little vignette of "delicious irony" in which she asserted that she use to work with me and "knew a little secret" I was "hiding." "Pammi" then proceeded to spin a fabulous tale of completely unsubstantiated fantasy wherein I had been "successfully counter-sued" by my "employer" in a sexual harassment case" during which "surveillance video" footage and "eyewitness testimony" was used to prove that I was the one who instigated the "groping."
As if that were not ridiculous enough "Pammi" concluded in her post from an alternate universe that -- once I was financially destroyed -- I became a "prostitute."
Clearly "Pammi" was lying. Her post had but one purpose, to punish me for daring to question what she considers to be the faultless brilliance of Ron Paul. However, as stated in the Community Guidelines for Yahoo! News, respondents who "make false statements" intended to defame someone else risk termination of their Yahoo! account -- including email -- for their violation.
Pammi's post was subsequently removed by Yahoo! from the comment thread.
This is the more militant level of membership in Paul's cult-like following. While the harmless and even the disturbing variety of Paul's supporters primarily confine themselves to using words in an effort to intimidate detractors into silence, his more unbalanced members are willing to engage in a concerted effort to actually seek you out with threats of bodily harm.
On Monday -- in response to the same article that rubbed "Pammi's" backside like a sheet of industrial grade sandpaper -- my husband came across a query posted by someone who used the screen name of "John" on Yahoo Answers. The question "John" asked was: "What is Patricia Campion of the YCN's Home Address?"
In his fit of rage after having read my article "John" was most eager to know whether there was "anyone out there" who had "more experience" with computer hacking. He further implored others to help him locate my e-mail address, phone number and home address and to post all of the information they uncovered in response to his post in order that he and the rest of his friends could pay me a visit and essentially teach me the error of my ways.
"BTW, in case it helps," "John" added from the information he gleaned from my Yahoo Contributor profile, "she lives in or around Spring Hill."
As indicated in the Community Guidelines for Yahoo! Answers, efforts to "threaten, harass" to "hurt others" or to "invade other people's privacy" qualifies as "Violating the Law."
My husband reported "John" and the post was subsequently removed. But typing the title of his post still reveals its cyber vapor trail.
Those who know me will tell you that I don't care if someone disagrees with my opinions. As I have often said, where some ascribe to the theory that "great minds think alike," I am more inclined to believe that the greater minds are those that have the courage to think for themselves. In the face of threats it is the stronger mind that rejects conformity and -- where some insist that "resistance" to submit to the agenda of a group that has such violent intolerance of those who disagree with them "is futile" -- I say resistance of such an odious mentality is absolutely necessary.
Well, there you have it. You might also enjoy viewing the You Tube video posted by yet another rabid Paul fan (who calls himself GodGunsGutsGlory4KJV) wherein he is seen sitting in his bedroom wearing his Ron Paul T-Shirt and a pair of unnecessarily large headphones (which I can only assume are supposed to make him look like a legitimate and authoritative talk-show host). Along with his awkward bouts of snide laughter and his telling need to repeatedly label me as a "media wh*re," his frantic efforts to stamp out the Ron Paul truth fire is quite entertaining.
Clearly I have rocked the Ron Paul Cult boat... But I suggest the little denial darlings rest up and pace themselves.
My third Paul article, "Ron Paul -- A Portrait of Paranoia," is already in queue at Yahoo! U.S. News.
Thank you for letting me share and thank you Red State for teaching me the importance of having the courage to stand up for what you believe in.
God Bless You All and God Bless America