PROP MAIL – “Parenting” The Occupy Protestors.

A new email is circling from the Right, written by a woman who claims to be a parenting expert, but clearly knows very little about the economic situation in the country. In it, we see some of the patterns that makes PROP MAIL so successful.

Just as Right Wing Radio can, on its surface, be wonderfully entertaining until you realize what’s behind all the bombast, so too can these emails make a lot of sense, until you read them closely.

In this email, Marybeth Hicks decides to parent the Occupy Protestors because clearly their parents didn’t do this (though I might suggest that protesting inequality and fighting for rights for everyone shows good parenting, but I digress.)

* Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice – that everyone should be treated fairly – is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons . Is it fair? Stupid question.

* Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

* Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for – literally.

* A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

* There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.

Let me start at the end, because one thing I have noticed is a common trait of all these PROP MAILS, is that there is a concrete fact that is not actually a fact. The fact might be at the beginning of the email or here it is the kicker that makes the whole email valid.

Recent reports suggest that the unemployment rate is closer to 9%.

The last report from the Department of Labor indicates that the unemployment rate in Connecticut for people with associate degrees increased to 9.7 percent versus 8.8 percent last year.

But more discouraging for the youth is the fact that unemployment among recent college graduates is shockingly high.

Estimates suggest that 1 in 3 recent graduates are unemployed. Complicating this statistic is the fact that many jobs the average graduate is finding advertised are administrative in nature, with responsibilities such as “scanning and faxing documents” or “keeping conference room shelves stocked.”

33% unemployment is a big difference from 4% and it’s probably a better number to use.

What’s also remarkable about these emails is that the often make great points for the Progressive Community. In this one the author goes on and on about how police officers aren’t free and trash hauling isn’t free and yes, that’s true. Which is why we all need to pay taxes to pay these people right? Crickets.

There is one thing about this email that is better than most. Unlike Matt Patterson, Marybeth Hicks does actually write for The Washington Times.


About James Boyce

James Boyce has been at the forefront of the digital revolution since the mid 1990s when he was involved in the start of Slingshot in Dallas, one of the country's leading digital agencies. At Slingshot, James was creative lead on the first html and the first java script banner on the web. Politically, James was Senior Advisor to John Kerry's 2004 Presidential Campaign, was executive director of The Patriot Project in 2006 and in 2008 served as Senior Online Consultant to Bill Richardson's Presidential Campaign. A frequent guest on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN, James is also proud of his associate with The Huffington Post. Email him at if you have comments or thoughts about this site or his posts.
This entry was posted in Prop Mail and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to PROP MAIL – “Parenting” The Occupy Protestors.

  1. Devon says:


    Thank you fo this. My mother in law fowarded this email a few weeks back with a simple “I don’t get involved in politics much, but this lady makes sense.” Of course it started a back and forth because I refuse to put up with lies being forwarded to me. I think this one in particular appealed to my mother in law (who really doesn’t read much political writing) and her generation in general (she’s 70) is that this reminds them of protests in the 60s and 70s and that is scary to them. They see one “hippie” with dreadlocks or tattoos (god forbid!) and the whole movement is dismissed, regardless of whether they have legitimate complaints. I appreciate your ongoing attempts with this site to try and figure out why conservatives tend towards prop-mail and liberals do not – I have been trying to figure this out for years.

    • James Boyce says:

      thank you Devon for the nice note. And send our stuff around, follow us on Facebook, tell all your friends, the more we have on our side of this thing the better.

Leave a Reply