Thursday, July 22, 2010
I have lost all respect for the Obama administration.
Last September, when President Obama buckled to pressure brought by the mentally deranged FOX News personality Glenn Beck to fire his green jobs “czar” Van Jones over his past background in radical activism, I was slack-jawed.
Jones never denied his past activism with the radical left. In the ’90s, he was involved with a group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which sympathized with Maoist-inspired peasant movements throughout the world and protested police brutality. However, Jones left radical politics and deciding to work within the system, rather than try to overthrow it.
But none of this mattered to the president. What resonated in the halls of the Obama White House was the crazy cable talkers over at FOX News.
Fast forward ten months to the ugly case of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod.
The story began Monday, when Andrew Breitbart, a far right loon, and co-founder of the Obama-loathing Drudge Report, posted a 2 ½-minute video of Sherrod addressing a local NAACP meeting in Georgia back in 1986. In those 150 seconds of video, Sherrod discussed her dealings with a white farmer and says she was reluctant to give him the “full force of what I could do.”
That touched off a firestorm in conservative-media outlets, especially at FOX, which forced the Obama administration to push Van Jones to resign last September. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly demanded, “Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately,” but the NAACP weighed in too, calling Sherrod’s statements “shameful.”
However, a more complete and accurate picture emerged Tuesday when the NAACP released the entire 45-minute video of Ms. Sherrod’s 1986 speech. In it, Sherrod tells the story of her father’s death in 1965, saying he was killed by white men who never were charged. She says she made a commitment to stay in the South the night of her father’s death, despite the dreams she had of leaving her rural town. Sherrod said the encounter with the white farmer taught her that poor people of all races need help, which she was resolved to give.
“When I made that commitment I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only,” she said. “But you know God will show you things and he’ll put things in your path so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.”
But for Shirley Sherrod, it was too late. The Obama administration had made up its mind to get down on its knees and service the talkingheads at FOX News. They forced Shirley Sherrod to resign from the USDA without allowing her to explain her version of an event that took place 24 years ago and was intentionally taken out of context by an ultra-rightwing blogger named Andrew Breitbart.
People who know Ms. Sherrod quickly came to her defense. including the wife of the white farmer discussed in the speech. “We probably wouldn’t have (our farm) today if it hadn’t been for her leading us in the right direction,” said Eloise Spooner of Iron City, Ga. “I wish she could get her job back because she was good to us, I tell you.”
By Wednesday, the Obama White House was engaged in full clean-up mode, issuing an extraordinary public apology to Ms. Sherrod and offered to reinstate her at the USDA. But Sherrod is unsure if she wants her job back and said she’s weighing legal action against Andrew Breitbart.
What troubles me about the Shirley Sherrod saga is the Obama administration threw a perfectly decent, African American woman under the bus without knowing all the facts because they were terrified of a few loudmouths in the conservative media. Evidently, President Obama learned nothing from the Van Jones chapter last September. I cannot in good conscience respect a president who runs screaming for the hills from the likes of Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck.