I Never Said That (And You Can’t Prove I Did)

Police arrested a man today for threatening Senator Patty Murray of Washington with death for her support of the health care bill. My first thought was that I wonder how soon we’ll hear the wingnut peanut gallery spout off about how there’s really no proof he said those things. Fortunately, there is proof. When he couldn’t get through to staff, he left his rants on the office voicemail.

He wasn’t subtle, either. Or, pardon me, he wasn’t subtle allegedly.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I see that latest wingnut talking point/meme pop up. The ‘no proof’ meme. It pops up often, because most reasonable people understand that you can’t go around leaving death threats on voicemail and expect to stay under the radar.

The Freepers, among many others, will tell you that no teabagging protesters called John Lewis a racial epithet, that no wingnut used a derogatory term for Barney Frank that referred to his sexual orientation, and that also, no proof exists that anyone hurled a slur. (Sorry – I won’t link to their blog. Google if you want to see examples.)

No one said that, in other words, AND you can’t prove that anyone said that.

Well, I’ve been told that before. And it WAS said, but I couldn’t prove it.

I was having a one-on-one conversation with someone in a position of moderate authority over me. That person said something which opened him and his employer up to, at best, the scorn and scrutiny of a handful of my friends and family, and at worst, a big, fat, honking discrimination lawsuit.

Flabbergasted, I was unable to respond right away. Later, I wrote to tell him that what he said was hurtful and wrong. He confronted me and said:

I never said that. And you can’t prove I did.

It would have hurt less if he had burned my eyelids with a hot curling iron. You’ve never heard someone say something with such hate and contempt in his voice.

I walked away, quit, and never spoke to him again.

I left behind something I loved passionately, but ultimately, much good came from my decision. Still, my gut gets twisted up like an unraveled thread that’s been through the washer and dryer and knotted itself around half of your clothes when I think about it.

I never said that. And you can’t prove I did.

It is less a denial than a raw, brutal threat. It reminds me of that mythical (or maybe true) mafia punishment of beating someone with a sock full of oranges or bars of soap so the bruises don’t show up on their skin, but do their damage below the skin’s surface.

It sounds like something a rapist would whisper in your ear right before he nicked it with a knife and ran off into the night.

It sounds, frankly, like something a wingnut would say to a Congressman, a leader of the civil rights movement, after he hissed a racial epithet as the Congressman walked past.

This entry was posted in feminists & feminism, politics, so mad I could spit and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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