(This is the full rather than edited version of Shirley Sherrod’s comments at a recent NAACP dinner)
I can’t believe that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is taking even a moment to “reconsider” his intemperate and uninformed firing of Georgia State USDA rural development director Shirley Sherrod for ‘alleged’ racially-tinged remarks.
According to the Associated Press, Vilsack said that he will “conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts” about his decision to ask Shirley Sherrod to resign.
Where was the “thorough review” of the facts in this case before? Now we know that the highly publicized, edited account of Sherrod’s statement was fraudulently edited and manipulated.
It appears that Vilsack — and now even the White House which is pathetically standing behind Vilsack’s idiotic move — ran for cover rather than trying to investigate the full story.
Now to get her reinstated, they finally want to get all the data in. Well, at least they are willing to reconsider.
DC’s big political guns really screwed up here — and it is just an outrage that Sherrod hasn’t received an apology been immediately reinstated.
Sherrod was recounting a story of racial reconciliation — a constructive, useful narrative — in a way that her NAACP audience could hear and understand. Barack Obama has done the same in his own discussions about race. This is what the nation needs to get over the past and to heal racial wounds and create new bridges.
It’s an injustice and outrage that the White House isn’t fixing this now.
This is a learning moment.
Vilsack needs to admit the mistake and his own fallibility, which we all should do from time to time, and fix this.
Given Barack Obama’s own shoot from the hip comments in the past that got in the way of African-American scholars and out of control police, the White House should be encouraging tempered behavior when these cases occur.
– Steve Clemons