Okay, dig this: I got all kinds of friends. Theater friends. Journalism friends. Law enforcement friends. And they cover every political possibility you can imagine. So the depth and breadth of politics that floats through my inbox is staggering. Usually, I don’t read it, I toss it and move on. Life is too short for pissed off fringe activists.
But I got an email from a friend who is so conservative, he makes Cheney and Coburn and Joe The Unlicensed Plumber look like touchy-feely Kumbaya socialists. It was called ‘Police Photos,’ and I thought, cool, some great action photos of chases or whatever.
My own naivete surprises me.
The file is a series of mugshots, 15 in all, in which every single mope is wearing some sort of Obama bit of clothing. And all but two are black.
Could it have been any more obvious? Why not just call it the ‘Stepin Fetchit Files?’ Or ‘Darkies on Parade?’ Or go the whole fucking hog and call it ‘Nigger Criminals Who Support a Non-Native Socialist for President?’
Here is the text after the pictures: “Just think about this for a second: Did you ever see anyone arrested wearing a Bush T-shirt, or for you older guys, an Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, or even Nixon, or Bob Dole shirt. Obama must be proud of his supporters!”
Okay, set aside that whoever wrote this doesn’t, apparently, understand the concept of question marks, and move on to the absolutely obvious and standing proud racism. No one ever arrested in shirts with Republicans on them? What kind of addled batshit madness is that? By that logic, what do we think of those arrested wearing suits? Or those arrested wearing gimme caps with Confederate battle flags on them?
Originally, this posting was supposed to be a short, this annoys me kind of thing. But because I’m a research geek, I did a little digging. Turns out this thing was underground for quite a while, then burst on to the public scene when an Iowa state trooper sent it – from his work email and on his work laptop – to a whole pile of people…including a “liberal columnist for the very liberal Des Moines Register.”
I’ll ignore the mind-numbing stupidity of sending something like this to the media. Here is the article from the Register (I can’t absolutely say it’s the real deal because you can’t peruse the Register archives, you have to buy it, but it has the Register’s style so I believe it. Also, I’ve snipped some non-relevant items out.)
“An Iowa State Patrol sergeant with more than 20 years on the force has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities investigate an e-mail sent under the officer’s name that makes political statements and carries racial overtones.
It was addressed to a variety of recipients in and outside the department, with the subject line, “The new fashion statement for mugshots!”
An accompanying note says: ‘I’ve seen some ‘unique individuals’ aka S—HEADS wearing these type shirts myself He has quite a fan base. Nice to know that the low-lifes are getting involved in politics now.'”
Afterward, this guy issued an apology, which is great. Except it’s one of those non-apology apologies: “I apologize to anyone this e-mail may have offended….”
His apologized to those who the email MAY have offended. In other words, if you weren’t offended, cool, man, no problema.
But wait, there’s more!
According to the Register, this 27-year veteran was nailed earlier this year for violating the agency’s email policy. Apparently, he sent out ‘inappropriate emails’ on his state-issued laptop.
Now, for the part of this rant that will piss off my lefty friends.
The guy got fired. I have a problem with that. Is he a racist? Probably. Did he do something stupid? No doubt. Should he have been fired? Absolutely not. Suspend him for some amount of time and then massively retrain him on department policy regarding email and his state account and state laptop (what a fucking moron, get it through your thick skull).
But I refuse to believe he’s so bad an officer that he needs to be fired. He’s a sergeant and he’s been on the force for 27 years, protecting the public and helping people and saving lives. Would he have made 27years if he was a bad cop? Regardless of what conspiracy nuts think of a cabal of bad cops protecting each other (and yeah, it happens sometimes, look at Rampart), there is no way, in modern America, a bad officer makes it 27 years.
Look at what got him fired: a racist email. If it’s that easy to get rid of bad cops, don’t you think he would have been de-badged long before this? He should be fired for using a drop gun. Or beating suspects. Or violating someone’s civil rights (we should all be fired if we violate someone’s civil rights…in my humble and pissed off opinion). But he should not be fired over a racist email.
If you fire for racism, then what about those who can’t stand gays? Fire them, too? And what about people who hate fatties? Or who loves metal music? As long as their biases don’t interfere with doing their job fairly, don’t fire them for what’s in their head (which is also why I can’t support hate crimes legislation…quite the rightist policy for a lefty like me.)
Now, the difference between him and the friend who sent me this is that my friend – for all his political faults – is a smart guy and was a damned good officer. He would NEVER have sent that from his agency email account or an on agency computer. He’s politically twisted and stunted, but he ain’t a dumbass. He believes what he believes and I’ll debate him endlessly on that, but he ain’t stupid.
Damn. Maybe I shouldn’t have opened the file. Okay, lesson learned. From now on, I’m only opening the files that say, “Gorgeous women want to meet you,” and “It can be as long as you want it to be!”