Yes, once again we Americans are faced with another “teachable moment” as Shirley Sherrod’s good name is dragged through the mud and then given a public cleansing. The lessons are many. Don’t jump to conclusions without proper research. Consider the source of the information you’re acting on. Perhaps even, be careful about confessing in public about past prejudices because your comments might be taken out of context.
Perhaps the saddest lesson is the one no one is discussing. The behavior of the United States government in the Sherrod fiasco is not unusual. All over this country, Fortune 500 companies layoff people at an alarming rate. Why do they do it? Are most of these people negligent in their jobs? No. These companies are looking at their share holders. Share holders love nothing more than a good layoff. It means fewer mouths to feed, and an improved bottom line. The fact that these companies haven’t had an innovative idea in the past ten years is beside the point. Waiting for quality company performance takes too long. Layoffs are the shorter path to profits.
If we look at the major players in the Sherrod incident, we see “corporations” acting quickly to please their share holders. Let’s start with the news media. The story was sexy. There was no way they were going to research it before running with it. Even the glaring name Breitbart, flashing a danger signal in red lights did not stop them. Only CNN had the decency to talk to Sherrod herself and get the story out correctly. Everyone else saw that profit motive, ratings, big money, and went to town on it.
The NAACP, mistakenly believing they had regained relevance with the Tea Party condemnation felt they had to scramble fast to satisfy its share holders: the media and the newly enraged conservative white population who were offended by the Tea Party assault. No time to go into their vaults and look at the speech in its entirety, a speech that had been delivered to their organization. Of everyone in the mix, they should have been the first to come to Ms. Sherrod’s defense but profit line, measured in the currency of reputation, had to be preserved.
Then we get to our bought and sold United States government where nothing happens without consideration for the shareholders: the voters, the lobbyists, the special interests. With the beer summit, ACORN, Van Jones and the New Black Panther Party easily visible in their rear view mirror, the White House had to make sure that this “racist black woman” got swept under the rug as quickly as possible. My wife asked me the other day, where was the human resources department (HR) in this decision to preemptively ask for Ms. Sherrod’s resignation? It doesn’t matter. You see in 2010, the HR department of the average big corporation stands by helplessly hoping the company doesn’t get sued. The companies execute their “resource actions” with soulless, clinical precision, with little if any concern for the impact on employees lives. The bottom line must be preserved! And that my friends is what the United States government did this week. With no concern for Ms. Sherrod’s reputation, much harder to regain than a job, they acted fast to fend off possible trouble with their share holders. Ms. Sherrod learned this week what so many employees across the country have learned. She is an expendable cog in the gears of a huge machine that exists largely for its own preservation and nothing more.
The latest conservative talking point is that our government is anti-big-business. Pure unadulterated bull crap. The United States government is big business.