There is one really wonderful thing that has slipped through the cracks of human stupidity during the recent Shirley Sherrod controversy.
In case you have not watched NBC or CNN or any news agency the last couple of days, you probably wonder who Shirley Sherrod is.
Ms. Sherrod is a former employee of the Department of Agriculture, a woman who has worked for the working classes and downtrodden for her entire professional life.
She is a modicum of dignity who was chased from her gig last Wednesday after a selectively edited tape of Sherrod, which presented her as a racist in front of the NAACP, was railroaded by the same--ironically racist--blogger who destroyed Acorn to Fox News who went on a metaphorical lynching, and succeeded (I refuse to dignify this guy by naming him).
In the tape, Sherrod acknowledges she had trouble treating white people fairly in her then position in Georgia's Department of Agriculture, and if all you listened to was the one sentence, well, you might think this woman, whose father had been murdered by white people 40 years earlier, held a grudge.
So, Fox let the blurb spill and what happened?
The NAACP and then the US Government itself, in a frenzy of knee jerk that should at least make the Tea Party nod in understanding, reacted by distancing themselves from Sherrod.
The Secretary of Agriculture texted Sherrod three times on her Blackberry, and insisted upon her resignation while she was driving which kind of suggests he was more interested in making his statement than her safety.
But then a few folks decided maybe the whole tape of Sherrod's speech should be viewed, rather than just one excerpted sentence.
And, low and behold, the speech was about redemption, and Sherrod's realization of how racism really cuts both ways, and how she began to understand her own prejudices in the cosmic scheme.
So that within a day of her being villainized, The Department of Agriculture wants her back. The NAACP is admitting its error. And even Fox news notes that she was wronged.
Now, in my work as a project manager, I have learned to research things. Because it gives context, so, why major news agencies, let alone public groups like the NAACP, or god forbid the US Government, cannot spend ten minutes doing their homework before making major decisions, is beyond me.
But, sadly, we seem to be a country that loves being stupid and ignorant for the most part. For it is not cool to be a nerd and smart. Our president is an elitist because he is well educated, which is funny considering his 2008 opponent was wealthy, owned eight homes, and something like 13 cars, and lived a life style most of us would never get close to.
So, it makes me wonder about that word elitist, just like I wonder about the word activist, which apparently our president was when he was younger. Of course, if one is a member of the Tea Party, then that kind of "activism" is acceptable, but if on the left side of the poltical spectrum, the word is evil.
And, with that it would be easy to point our fingers at the right, but, well, then Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reacted just as pathetically as any Tea Bagger, as did the NAACP.
Instead of taking a deep breath, and looking at the big picture, Vilsack and the NAACP cut off Sherrod just as easily as the right cuts off anything that has to do with liberal politics.
And you know what that means?
It means, as painful as it is, that we are slowly moving towards past our differences, because liberals and African Americans can act just as stupidly as conservatives and red neck crackers.
Now, I wish there was a more gentle way to phrase the above, but, well, the truth truly does hurt. Although, it is kind of sad that the ethnic and cultural diversity is not what binds us, even though that is what brought us all here--save the Native Americans--in the first place.
It should be reassuring, you know, because we are indeed all frail and vulnerable and scared for some reason, and that, and understanding and kindness are the things that we should recognize as our human commonalities.
Sadly, it appears that ignorance and stupidity are the things that will prove we are all the same. Too bad. We can do so much better.