If Only They Had . . .

Have you been following the Shirley Sherrod story? A brief review based on information from The Washington Post – Shirley Sherrod was an Agriculture Department official overseeing rural development in Georgia. A conservative activist named Andrew Breibart posted on his blog a small piece of a video from a speech Sherrod made in which it sounds like she is saying that she was reluctant to help a white farmer when she was working for a non-profit agency established to help black farmers.

Breibart’s goal was to prove that the NAACP had racist problems of their own but what happened was that when the rest of the video was revealed, it showed that Sherrod had been making the point that she had overcome her own prejudices and discovered that all people of all colors needed assistance.

But in the meantime, the Ag Department demands her resignation and she is villified by her former employer, the NAACP, and the White House on national media. Sherrod responds with public appearances on CNN joined by the farmer she helped 24 years ago.

At the end of the day after the whole video is seen, everyone including the White House is full of apologies, admits they didn’t do the fact checking they should have, and the Ag Secretary has offered her another job. Which she’s thinking about.

This is the most hurtful story ever. A good woman gets trashed nationally by some attention-seeking blogger who takes a speech out of context for his own personal gain and instead of standing up for her and doing the research, her own employers completely turn their backs on her. Instantly.

Apologies are not enough for this kind of behavior and I’d think twice about that job offer, too.

In the health care environment, everyone is moving so fast and this scenario happens again and again.

If only they had checked the file.

If only they had talked to the patient’s family.

If only they had talked with the eyewitnesses.

If only they had listened without judgment.

If only . . .

So much hurt and pain and distrust could be stopped if only . . . people would take a deep breath . . . and look at all the facts before making decisions.

“Fired USDA official receives apologies from White House, Vilsack,” The Washington Post, 072210.


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