Sunday, July 25

Shirley Sherrod and Us

Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was summarily fired last week, as it turns out, is everything that America should embrace. She has overcome her own personal barriers and prejudices to help small farmers be protected by those that would take their land, regardless of color. Yet, this week, as Keith Olbermann nicely summarized was "thrown under the bus" by the Obama administration, the NAACP, and other groups before examining the evidence to the contrary.

As Iowans, we should be particularly outraged at our former Governor and attorney, Tom Vilsack who said, when the story from Fox and other news agencies first came out, "We have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at USDA. This controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices." After his rush to judgment and learning that there was more to the story, he made the correct decision to rehire Sherrod. At the moment, it is unknown what the outcome will be, but Mr. Vilsack may find himself under the wheels of the bus, if that is what is called for justice to be served.

The failure of the press in reporting this story is almost unforgivable. Clearly we are in an age of propaganda, the likes we have never seen before, where a foreign owned news company is acting as a mouthpiece to drive a rightest agenda (and doing so with great success). However, where was the fact-checking by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc.? How embarrassing must it be for seasoned news professionals to look at each other and say "I thought you checked the facts."

Also, how simple are we as people to jump with the press to the conclusion that a person was guilty without so much as a chance to be heard? What a disservice to our shared humanity?

I hope that Shirley Sherrod is rehired. I hope that she is considered for the Secretary of Agriculture position. It is clear that through her actions, the citizens of the United States were better serviced than by her bosses or others that sip from the teat of the USDA.

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