The Story Behind The Story

My post from yesterday featured a video, and when I originally posted it on another website in late August of 2011, the video started a fight that turned into a battle, which spread into a much larger war involving many other people, with me at the center of the conflict.

I used the video as an illustration to get across a larger message, which was not about politics, but about the decline of the quality of news reporting and journalism in the 21st century. This decline has been all inclusive, and includes the right, left and center of the political spectrum. The video was nothing more than an illustration, and only a small part of my intended message.

But some people completely missed my message altogether, and instead, they became obsessed with only the video, to the exclusion of all else. These were the people for whom Fox News was a daily part of their life experience, and because they saw the video as an attack on Fox News, they became enraged with me. They were so enraged that they were incapable of seeing or comprehending anything I had written before or after the video. The only thing that they could see, was a delusional conclusion drawn from their own distorted perception.

Their only conclusion was that I had used a video to lampoon one of their most sacred cows, and the source of so much of their cherished fanatical right wing propaganda. Their conclusion grew into an obsession, and they were so consumed by hatred and rage, that they organized a crusade to try and destroy my reputation. They attacked me online with a barrage of false accusations, lies and exaggerations that Karl Rove himself would have been proud of.

I fought back and defended myself from my false accusers, by discrediting their lies with the truth. Then I launched a counter attack, in which I publicly exposed the viciously hateful and ugly truth about them, as the liars and hypocrites they truly were and are.

Without intending to, I developed a large following of people who came to my defense and who actively defended me, as they also defended their own values by publicly standing up and speaking out for what they believed in. The public war of written words quickly spread, as many more people got involved and took sides. My side was starting to get the upper hand and we were winning the war of words in the court of cyber public opinion, on a website with over five million members.

I and those who supported me continued to write about the facts, as we presented the facts in a clear and convincing way, so other people with open minds could verify our facts as being true. It was increasingly obvious to the large and growing audience of people who were reading both our writing and their writing, that we were writing about the truth, while those who opposed us were writing lies and exaggerations to obscure the truth, so they could use lies as weapons in their hate driven smear campaign against me, and anyone who publicly agreed with me.

Those who were lying, were becoming increasingly exposed as liars to many other people who were watching, reading, making comparisons and then deciding who they believed, and who they no longer trusted. Soon, many of my attackers who organized and participated in the smear campaign to destroy my reputation, realized that they were now the ones who were in danger of having their own reputations ruined. Many of them went silent as the collective condemnation of people in large and growing numbers, was now being directed at them, instead of me.

I never imagined that an online fight with people who were offended by a video that I posted in my blog, would grow into an online grassroots political movement that I had never intended to start or to lead. But that is exactly what happened, and to the point that the war was no longer about me and what I posted in my blog, but it had become part of the much bigger war that polarizes and divides our entire nation today.

Many of us don’t want to fight that war, and we genuinely want to live in peace and harmony with all people, as we enjoy sharing with others all that we have in common as human beings, while appreciating and respecting the ways in which we are different. We want to live our lives according to our own values, while doing no harm to others. We have no need to force our values on other people, who even though they don’t share our beliefs, they live their lives peacefully without trying interfere with our lives, and do no harm to us or anyone else. We want to live and let live…

But there are those in America who refuse to let us live in peace, and when they attack us for what we believe in because it isn’t what they believe, and then they try to get laws passed to force us to live our lives according to their own definition of morality; often a morality based upon their religion, and nothing to do with the US Constitution, they give us no choice but to fight back in defense of our freedom and our rights as individuals and American citizens.

My fight had become a cause for many others, when they saw me being attacked by the same people that they knew would also attack them, if they openly expressed their own opinions and values that were not in agreement with the right wing world view. It all began as my fight, but it became a war fought by many others to defend their own right for freedom of expression, and the freedom to make their own choices for how they wanted to live their own personal lives, without being persecuted for it.

They stood up for me, and then they stood up for themselves when they fought for everyone’s right to not be persecuted by those who promote intolerance and hatred of anyone who isn’t like them and doesn’t agree with them, because of their collective delusion that they alone have a monopoly on the truth, and a mission to force everyone else to think, live and be just like who they are.

The smear campaign against me was not only failing; it was being turned around and used against the people who perpetrated it. They were losing the war that they had started, and the final outcome was looking inevitable.

But then all that suddenly changed… It changed when a millionaire CEO who had been watching the progression of the war, decided that he didn’t like the way it was going, when he saw that the side that shared his own right wing political beliefs was losing the war. So he decided to use his power, money and influence to change the outcome. He saw me as the leader, and he thought that the best way to stop our grassroots political movement from succeeding, was to silence me.

This right wing millionaire CEO contacted me directly and personally, by sending me an e-mail in which he accused me of some of the same false accusations originally used against me by the right wing website members who were enraged by the Fox News video that I had posted. He told me that if I didn’t stop blogging on the website, that he would take legal action against me. The content of his message was specific enough that I knew his threat was not a bluff, but an absolutely serious intention to follow through with his threat. What began as a smear campaign using lies to ruin my reputation online, had now been escalated into a threat to destroy me in real life.

If I chose to fight back this time, I would face a far greater personal risk by fighting a right wing millionaire in a court of law. I knew this was a battle that could result in very serious consequences for me, if I lost.

I’d lived long enough to know that although I had done nothing wrong, that innocent people are often the ones who are punished in a court of law when justice is subverted by the power of money and influence, and the skillfully deceiving arguments of expensive lawyers. However hard it was for me to accept, I knew that I was outgunned and I knew it was better to live to fight another day, in another place and time of my choosing.

It was a miserably bitter pill for me to swallow, but I decided that under the circumstances I was faced with, I had no choice but to stop blogging on the website. Unfortunately, after I stopped blogging on the site and the word got out that that someone with a lot money and power had succeeded in silencing me by making some very serious threats, the online grassroots movement that had grown up around me, began to lose its momentum and motivation, and eventually it faded away.

But just in case that right wing millionaire CEO happens to be reading, well consider this post to be my warning shot across your bow, and a message to let you know that although you succeeded in silencing me in September of 2011, I have never intended to remain silent permanently. I’ve been carefully planning and preparing for my return ever since our last communication. The day is getting closer for when I’ll be ready to break my silence and speak out more loudly than ever before, and when I do, you will be definitely be included in what I have to say when I speak out, and more people hear me than ever before.

You thought this thing was over, but for me it has never ended, and you are going to be a part of it in a way that I can guarantee you’ll live to regret. Ever hear of the ACLU? I’ve got some friends there now. But I don’t think that you’re going to like them when you meet them.

 

About Chris Sheridan

I’m a 56 year old guy who is young (and immature) at heart, and I love humor and laughter. Married for 22 years, but still enjoy all the glories of womanhood everywhere, even while dedicated to one woman only - and I hope my wife never finds out about her!
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10 Responses to The Story Behind The Story

  1. Elyse says:

    HOLY SHIT! You know, my husband has always insisted on my staying anonymous — no last name, no picture. I guess he had a point.

    Good luck with this, Chris.

    • Your husband has the right idea, Elyse. I am fully aware of the dangers of revealing too much personal info online, but I still post photos of myself and my wife, (with her permission) and I know that potentially involves some risk. I guess I want to show my readers that yes, I’m a real person and not just a keyboard typing words and forming sentences. But that’s my choice, and if someone else asked for my advice about being safe online, I would tell them the same thing that your husband tells you.

      But I still use certain tactics that make it very difficult for the majority of people online to find me in real life, and although many have tried, (seriously) there is only one person who has been successful – the guy mentioned in this post, and unfortunately a very BIG exception. But I’m not worried about him, because the day is soon coming when he will have more reason to be worried about me. :-)

      To this day, even after all I’ve witnessed, I still have a hard time understanding why people with differing political views can’t have a polite and civil discussion, agree to disagree and then shake hands and remain friends. I’m old enough to remember when that was still possible, but now much of the right wing has become so extreme and intolerant that they refuse to have a civil political discussion. Instead, they shout “IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING I SAY, YOU ARE MY SWORN ENEMY AND I HATE YOU!!!” I find this very sad, because I am always willing to have that civil discussion about our political differences, but they choose to make this impossible, and force me to fight them when they attack me, and often for the most ridiculous of reasons.

      For example, back in 2001 I was very active in an online social group hosted by MSN, and I was very popular with other members of the group, and well liked by everyone who was active in the group. Until the day that I wrote only one sentence mentioning that I thought Al Franken’s book about Rush Limbaugh was funny.

      Several people who I thought were my online friends, instantly attacked me like a pack of vicious and rabid wild dogs, and I was genuinely shocked! And then I was angry – I replied that their hysterical and outraged reaction would have been more appropriate if I had announced that I routinely kidnap, kill and eat small children – instead of writing just one sentence about a book that I thought was funny. It just makes me really sad, because my natural inclination is to be friendly and pleasant with all people as much as that is possible – until certain people make that impossible, and give me no choice but to fight them.

      I can be one of the best friends a person will ever have. But when someone gives me no other choice by declaring me their enemy just because I enjoyed a book they didn’t like, and then attacks me, I can turn into that person’s worst enemy, and give him some very emphatic and genuine reasons to hate me. I sincerely wish this wasn’t true, but certain people give me no other option when they force me to become that way.

      Thanks for your supportive comment, Elyse. I sincerely appreciate it. :-)

  2. Ankur Mithal says:

    Hopefully the truth will prevail

    • Thanks for your supportive comment, Ankur. I hope so too, but unfortunately some people have no respect for the truth, and they fight what the truth is, to defend their own selfish and deluded agenda. So the truth doesn’t always prevail. But I’m still optimistic that the truth can and will prevail this time. :-)

  3. benzeknees says:

    I’m glad you retreated from the battle to gain strength & support for the war. Good luck in your fight. I don’t know or care whether I agree with your position, but I agree with your right to fight for it. Lots of money does not make you right!

    • Sorry for the very late reply to your comment here, Lynda, but my life offline has been too hectic for me to even look at WordPress for almost two weeks now. Thanks so much for your supportive comments, and even more for saying that you don’t “know or care” whether you agree with my position, but that you support my right to express and defend what I believe in, when I am attacked by someone who believes that lots of money and “might makes right…” Like hell it does!!!

  4. Michelle says:

    You’re kidding me…!! That posting and video of the fool standing in sewer foam caused a big ruckus? The idiot deserved it. I’m curious, though, what was the site you had published this on? Sounds like some major traffic on that site.

    • Oh Michelle… if only I really was kidding you… but this is one of those situations where the truth is stranger than any fiction. Because, yeah, that video caused one of the biggest ruckuses of my entire life, as ridiculous as that seems, to reasonable people like you and me. I would love to tell you the full story of all that happened, since what I wrote here is a relatively brief outline in comparison to the full story. The site that I originally published this on does have some major traffic, with probably closer to six million members by now – but on the advice of my legal counsel, I can’t tell you the name of the site as of right now, however much I’d like to tell you.

      Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you much more in the not too distant future, when this conflict is successfully concluded in my favor. And Michelle, thanks so much for all that you do on your blog, and also for being so generous to me with your willingness to let me “blog on your blog” in the form of my comments about politics and social issues that I care deeply about, to a degree similar to your own passion for these issues.

      Until very recently, since early last December, I’ve had to keep my own online political activism underground here on my own blog on WordPress, so I really do appreciate how gracious you’ve been about letting me “borrow” your blog to express my own deeply held political convictions and personal beliefs. Thanks so much again, Michelle.

  5. you’re kidding me – really? I didn’t see the video. But if someone’s putting pressure on you to shut up, what would happen if all your supporters simultaneously re-blogged the offending post? Whatever did you say?? I always thought any publicity was good publicity, but clearly not quite. Chris, I am deeply curious, and also emotionally stirred – I would like to help you fight, if I can.

    • Nope, not kidding at all, Rose. You can watch the video that started the war on the post here before this one. In August of 2011, most of my supporters did reblog the “offending post”, and this escalated and spread the war that resulted. What did I say? I told the truth, which was in direct conflict with the fanatical right wing political and religious propaganda that the others claimed to be the truth, and when I told the truth, they reacted with furious hatred and a campaign of lies and distortion in an attempt to destroy me.

      I know that you are curious to read a more specific answer Rose, and when the time is right, all will be revealed. Thanks so much for your offer to help me fight, and if I think of a way that you can help me, I’ll let you know. But for now, your offer to help is very encouraging, and I sincerely appreciate it.

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