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Relay: Are You Getting the Messages?

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 19:28

The Far Right found me a month or so ago, and now not a day goes by that I don’t get half a dozen emails from Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump Jr., or worse. “Mitch” is counting on me, never mind that I wouldn’t touch the tenant in the White House with one of the 10-foot poles the lifeguards are using to keep people apart on the beach. “He knows that you’re a strong supporter of President Trump and our shared conservative agenda, which was why he was so surprised when he didn’t see your name.”

Now we know why nothing ever gets done by the G.O.P.-controlled Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose estimated worth at last count was $22.5 million, is too busy scrutinizing the names of Trump contributors to extend unemployment benefits — which expire tomorrow — for 33 million of his fellow Americans.

Don Jr. is the most persistent with his appeals. “Fellow Conservative,” he writes, “are you getting these messages? Steve Scalise emailed you. Sean Spicer emailed you. Dan Crenshaw emailed you. Tom Emmer [who?] emailed you. Three House Speakers emailed you. I’m told that you’re a bold and determined supporter of my father . . .”

Well, no, not really. Not at all, really. Never. Really. But it is true, Don and company, that I am a registered Republican, never mind that it took you, or more likely a Lee Zeldin minion, let me see, 44 years to root me out, buried as I was somewhere on the ancient rolls of the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

And how did this happen? I’ve looked in The Star’s archives, and am embarrassed to remember.

In 1977, Mary Ella Reutershan Richard, Democrat, ran for town supervisor here against Ronald Rioux, Republican, whose running mate atop the G.O.P. ticket was the enormously popular Perry B. Duryea of Montauk, a former Speaker of the New York State Assembly who everyone in East Hampton thought would surely be governor one day.

I didn’t then know Mary Ella, who turned out to be very well worth knowing and would have made a fine supervisor, but anyone whom Mr. Duryea endorsed was good enough for me. I cared next to nothing then about local politics — yes, I was working at The Star, but only summers — and not much more about national. It was the Star connection — they said my vote would count more here, and they were right — that did it.

Anyway, I voted the Republican ticket and promptly forgot about it. But something happened afterward. Back in those pre-email days, our mailbox started filling up with invitations to G.O.P. fund-raisers — clambakes at Maidstone Park, pot roast dinners at the American Legion Hall — down-home events that introduced us to an East Hampton we’d never have otherwise known. Contacts made then eventually led to my husband’s representing the Baymen’s Association in a successful lawsuit against General Electric for polluting the Hudson River and decimating the striped bass fishery.

I haven’t thought about any of this in many years. The written invites have long since stopped. Instead, out of nowhere, I’m getting these emails from United Patriot News and Right Wing with “Proof Dr. Fauci Lies and Can’t Be Trusted.”

Weirdly, they are interspersed with information about “The 14 WORST Breakfast Foods Known to Man” and “Doctor Reveals True Cause of Constipation.”

All I can say — other than, yes, I’ve written to the Board of Elections to change registrations — is: Beware of hard-boiled eggs.

Irene Silverman is The Star’s editor at large. (Most of the staff is at large too, these days.)

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