Rep. receives racist, threatening fax for inane NASCAR proposal

Minn. Democrat Betty McCollum wants the Army to stop sponsoring NASCAR. A dissenter's plan: "Death to all Marxists"

Published February 17, 2011 9:30PM (EST)

Rep. Betty McCollum, and the US Army Chevy Impala
Rep. Betty McCollum, and the US Army Chevy Impala

Here is a story in which everyone involved acted as an unflattering caricature of themselves. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) proposed that the military be barred from sponsoring auto races. The Army has a car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The proposal was done to save money, I guess, and also McCollum represents a Northern, urban district, and so she is acting like a NASCAR-hating, troop-disrespecting effete liberal. ("We've had some calls," her spokesman said. " "Lots of Mississippi people, North Carolina people." That's basically smug Northerner code for "dumb hicks." Nice work, everyone.)

Then, some presumably irate NASCAR fans faxed an expletive-filled threatening letter to McCollum's office, making use of racial slurs and insulting misogynistic terms. It really has to be seen to be believed. (Warning: Everything about it is incredibly offensive.) There is a pickup truck towing a noose. Who made this? Real racist hicks or smug liberals impersonating racist hicks? I try never to underestimate the American capacity for unreconstructed racism and virulent misogyny, but this just seems a bit much!

This will probably start the new Civil War, which the South will fight with Fax Machines as the North Tweets about the destruction, from their offices.

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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