Wednesday, September 20, 2006
One of the ironies of this case is the Big vs. Little Syndrome. My husband and I live in the country, and have a big "lawn"...over 10 acres. We like to cut the grass ourselves. My husband has a big tractor and I have a little garden size one...and we enjoy the tandem activity. Usually all goes well. Usually. Occasionally, though, my husband has spurts of heavy travel and the "lawn" is left to me. I will tell you, this is not a good thing. Without the help of the big tractor (which intimidates me), the little tractor and I plod along and the task takes forever. But it must be done, lest this place look like a haunted house. But as I putt-putt along, I think how easy it is, when the Big Tractor helps. How much more can be done, and how quickly.
This case is like that. There's 500 acres of lies out there, and there are people who own Really Big Equipment, commercial heavy-duty machinery that could mow that field to dust in hours. But the Big Guys haven't shown up... or the high grass suits them, so the job is left to a little army of neighbors who show up each morning with their push mowers, before they head off to work. The bloggers and the posters, the volunteers to defeat Nifong, the students and the local citizens. It might all be over now, if the Big Guys with the Big Equipment had showed up at the beginning, but the Little Guys will mow on without help, unbent and undeterred.
Let's look at some of the Big Guys in this case. Early on, if President Richard Brodhead had taken a firm and forceful stance, provided some true leadership, instead of ceding the stage to the Gang of 88...where might this case stand now? His courage might have inspired others, even some of the authors of the "listening letter" to suspend their verbal lynching and wait for real facts to emerge. Decency, patience and what is supposed to pass for justice might have been the unifier, the salt on their fire. He failed. As the President of a great University, he is paid a great deal of money, not, I think to show up at alumni teas and make small talk laden with Shakespearean phrase. This was his leadership moment. His Big Tractor sputtered and stalled.
If TV personalities like Nancy Grace, with large audiences, were interested in educating themselves before they entertain the public with inflammatory misinformation and hinky hyperbole, how far would Nifong have gotten? But sacrificing someone else's son is just a night's ratings for her and her ilk. Accuracy is anathema, when outrage sells. This is the lowest form of entertainment because it is factually unreliable, yet exists to inflame. Nancy's Big Tractor was running reckless, the "operator" too uniformed to be licensed to drive that commercial machinery.
The New York Times (like much of the Big Media), unfortunately, has an old tractor...once they're in a gear they just cannot get out of it. Even on second try. Something just always prevents them from getting out of the mud of their own agendas and getting it right. We people with the lawn mowers can expect no help from them. Nor from the Bob Ashley's of the Herald Sun. He won't take his Big Tractor out. He prefers to wait in the farmhouse and see how we do.
But this Field of Lies will be mown down and obliterated, make no mistake. More Little Guys show up everyday. They are inspired by some Real True Laborers in the Field. That rare exception these days… someone taking a stand! Not for ratings, or self-protection, or self promotion...but just because they care.
Someone like Beth Brewer.
Beth is a Durham citizen running the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek campaign. If Cheek is elected, Governor Easley will appoint a new District Attorney for Durham, but it won't be Beth Brewer. She will return to her own life as a private citizen. There is nothing "in this" for her, but the knowledge that her community will be healed and will be the better for it. That a District Attorney who indicts before investigation, and misleads a national audience, who puts his political need before the welfare of his own community... will be rightly driven from office. That is Beth Brewer's only "reward." This is a woman who cares enough for her community to do the hard work, which will reap NOTHING for herself. She is the exact opposite of self-serving Nifong...Nifong, the sower of the seeds of lies...that make up this Hoax today. Beth is sowing seeds for a harvest for her whole community. A harvest she will share in, but no more than her neighbors. I don't know about you, but in a world of self-serving politicians of EVERY sort, Beth Brewer of Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek is one I could surely trust.
Gentlemen (and Ladies) on the Big Tractors, don't bother to start your engines. Beth Brewer has taken the field. We will mow Nifong down ourselves.