Last week, Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Times, addressed a Tweet to Mitt Romney during the Republican debate:
“Let me just tell you this Mitt ‘Muddle Mouth’: I’m a single parent and my kids are *amazing*! Stick that in your magic underwear. #CNNdebate”
His reference to “magic underwear” is, of course, a common anti-Mormon slur, presumably referencing J.Willard Marriott’s unfortunate sharing with 60 Minutes years ago a special spiritual experience where his garments had offered him apparently supernatural physical protection.
Later, Blow’s initial response to the response he got to that tweet was to tweet again:
“Time to scratch some of this right wing lice out of my timeline. Be back in a sec… #block”
I was stunned to see the juxtaposition of anti-Mormon bigotry with a reference to lice. That’s because as a descendant of Mormon martyr Thomas White McBride, I’m painfully familiar with an incident from Mormon history when another reference was made to lice. Consider the details (from Wikipedia):
“On October 30 at approximately 4 p.m., the militia rode into the community. David Evans, a leader in the community, ran towards the militia, waving his hat and calling for peace. Alerted to the militia’s approach, most of the Latter-day Saint women and children fled into the woods to the south, while most of the men headed to the blacksmith shop. Unfortunately, the building was a particularly vulnerable structure as the widely-spaced logs made it easy for the attackers to fire inside. The shop became a deathtrap, since the militia gave no quarter, firing about one hundred rifle and musket shots into the building.
After the initial attack, several of those who had been wounded or had surrendered were shot dead. Members of the militia entered the shop and found ten-year-old Sardius Smith hiding under the blacksmith’s bellows. William Reynolds put his musket against the boy’s skull and blew off the top of his head. Reynolds later explained, “Nits will make lice, and if he had lived he would have become a Mormon.”  Seventy-eight year old Thomas McBride surrendered his musket to militiaman Jacob Rogers, who then shot McBride and hacked his body apart with a corn knife. Several other bodies were mutilated or clothing stolen, while many women were assaulted. Houses were robbed, wagons, tents and clothing were stolen, and horses and livestock were driven off, leaving the surviving women and children destitute.”
I e-mailed my favorite political columnist, James Taranto of the WSJ, about the connection. He apparently got the message, because he noted that “a reader” had “called his attention” to the example. See:
Nice to be able to make a difference in the national debate once in a while – hopefully in this case to blow (pun intended) back in the face of the New York Times and their bigoted columnist and hold them up as a good example of hypocrisy and double standard in relation to “eliminationist rhetoric.”