I don't know how long this Shirley Sherrod case will stay in the news, but for the time being it sure is interesting. It was another one of those topics that was easy for me to write about. I whipped out a column fairly quickly.
Down on the farm - Sherrod's got it right
Here's a helpful video that explains the timeline of events:
Here's the edited version of Sherrod's speech that led to everybody's overreactions:
And here's the full version, if you have time (if you don't, you can just read my column):
Here are other aspects of this story that I didn't have enough space or time to cover in my column. (Which is what a blog post is for!)
- A lot of the news was about whether or not the White House forced Sherrod to resign. I'm not sure whether or not the Obama administration had anything to do with ousting Sherrod, and I'm not sure if it matters. I do know that Secretary Tom Vilsac takes full responsibility for the USDA's response to the BigGovernment.com video. And now, a lot of people are discussing topic of Obama's way of handling the power of angry conservatives this year, saying he's acting too scared and not taking action. We'll have to see if that's true for the rest of 2010 and for 2012.
- Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who started this whole mess, is claiming he did not post the video to try and get rid of Sherrod. He says his agenda is more against the NAACP, and the reason for the video was more to show the audience's reaction to Sherrod's speech. He argues that the NAACP audience was celebrating Sherrod's racist comments.
I suppose you could interpret it that way, if you're a numbskull (as Mitt Romney would say it).
The audience is merely responding with understanding nods and chuckles, just like every Sunday in an LDS Church sacrament meeting. They weren't endorsing Sherrod's immature biases from 24 years ago. They were just showing that they know what she was going through. But they also know about where Sherrod stands now. When Sherrod finished the story, and explained how she had overcome her prejudices, the audience was just as responsive.
So, nice try, Breitbart.
- One thing Sherrod talks about in her speech is that it's not about black and white people, it's about rich and poor. I agree with her about that. All of the great things and all of the terrible things in our society (crime rate, families on welfare, drugs and alcohol) depend less on race and more on economic status. And, I would argue, on level of education. I think if everyone got as much education as they could*, and took it seriously, that's what will fix things.
So, I could have gone into a discussion about affirmative action, but decided I'll wait for another opportunity. Maybe.
- Another issue I couldn't get into in my column is the fact that Sherrod and the white farmer (Roger Spooner) are now friends. Spooner credits Sherrod with saving his farm 24 years ago. So even though she admitted she wasn't as inclined to help Spooner with her "full force," she still helped him. And now, Sherrod and Spooner are not only on good terms, but have a sweet and warm friendship.
(Watch the whole video, or if you want to see my main point, go to 4:00):
No sign of racism here.
Oh, and here's something amusing that has come about from the Sherrod situation. Mike Pesca from Slate and NPR starting tweeting what summaries of movies and songs would be if most of their stories was missing. Or, in other words, the "Breitbart edit" version.
The Karate Kid - the story of a Japanese man who tricks a transplanted New Yorker into doing housework #theBreitbartedit
George Lucas totally knows what he's doing! the prequels are gonna ROCK! #theBreitbartedit
The Usual Suspect's Verbal Kint is nothing but a spastic loser. #theBreitbartedit
Psycho - the story of a nice Innkeeper who really cares about his elderly Mom. #theBreitbartedit
The first couple of verses of Cats in the Cradle indicate an a son who looks up to his dad, heart warming. #theBreitbartedit
Maybe try looking for other #theBreitbartedit tweets, and see if you find any more. That's where I'm going now.
*Go to the subheadline "Learn by Study and by Faith."