From the "You can't make this shit up" department of the Memphis Commercial Appeal...
In the opinion of Arlington Mayor Russell Wiseman, President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night on the war in Afghanistan was deliberately timed to block [wait for it...] the Christian message of the "Peanuts" television Christmas special.
Wiseman made the statements on his Facebook page, where he declared Obama to be a Muslim. Only people on Wiseman's "friend's list" had access to the post. He has more than 1,600 friends on Facebook.
"Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim (sic) president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...."
[notation and implied eye-rolling mine]
Wow. Wowity wow wow. What an asshat! And this guy is the mayor. Granted, he's only the mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, which boasts most prominently on its website that... "With a population of approximately 9,700, Arlington is the eastern-most municipality in Shelby County [so they have that going for them]... and offers excellent schools, community activities, and commercial amenities all with a strong sense of small-town charm." Presumably Mayor Russell Wiseman is the walking embodiment of that lovely charm of which they speak so glowingly. He's a townie, and is happy to say he is the third generation of Wisemans to go to his high school, according to his biography.
Please, Mayor Bigot, continue making an ass of yourself...
In Wiseman's extensive thread that attacked the president, his supporters and Muslims, he stated "...you obama people need to move to a muslim country...oh wait, that's America....pitiful."
At another point he said, "you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different........"
Wiseman declined comment, of course, except to say that the press was making "a mountain out a molehill" and that it was ridiculous for "someone to send my Facebook* post."
As ridiculous as thinking, even for a second, that the President of the United States would actually choose a time to tell the nation that he has the unfortunate duty to send more troops into harm's way specifically so he could pre-empt the 44th airing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas? Really? And thinking this because you still think he's a Muslim even though it's widely known he is a Christian... as if his religion even matters? Oh, right. I forgot. You're a bigot. My bad.
Equally appalling but also fascinating (in that way we are fascinated with truly bizarre behavior) are the hundreds of comments left on the Commercial Appeal's website. Racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry are very much alive and well, and it's pretty clear Tennessee hosts a lot of it (supported by this online poll). Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn't come close to cornering the market on that kind of ignorant thinking. But for the moment, when I picture ignorant thinking, I picture Mayor Russell Wiseman of Arlington, Tennessee.
I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, and everyone holds that right, whether the mayor of Hooterville or Houston, common working man or titan of industry. But you can't post on the Internets via something as public as Facebook and feel like it is private communication. Indeed, we are all free to speak our mind, but words have consequences, especially when said in the public sphere. (The Internet and Facebook are the public sphere, Russell. May I call you Rusty?. Welcome to the 21st century.) You said these things, Mayor Wiseman. Time to man up and stand behind your comments, Rusty. But you won't. You'll hide until someone else says or does something really ignorant. And that's probably happened already. But as mayor, you represent the almost 10,000 people of your little town of Arlington. See if you can try not to embarrass them or the bank where you make loans (thinking Old Man Potter) any more than you already have. And good luck with that. Given your level of religious bigotry and simple stupidity, I know it will be hard.
* Wiseman's Facebook page seems to have gone away, but he now has a (sort of) Russell Wiseman Facebook Fan Page. Consider joining, won't you?
You may also give Rusty a shout out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org