Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yard Work

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.
Joan Foster


Anonymous said...

Beth Brewer Thank You! While the City Council sits protecting its rear, you are out there standing up to the tyrannt. Durham has it's own Minutewoman!

Anonymous said...

Another great article from Joan who drives a pretty big tractor herself. Keep plowing Joan.

Anonymous said...

My worry is that the big tractors are already out in the fields with the tanks of liquid fertilizer. Then there are the posters on various blogs and boards that wander the field with bags of manure! I have much renewed worried about the fate of the boys with the Blinco's outcome. I will keep the blade on my mower as shape as possible tho.....

gc said...

Joan Foster,

Thank you for reminding us that Beth Brewer is both selfless and brave for sowing the seeds. Thank you for continuing to mow down this huge field of lies.

Liestoppers has linked a great article from Johnsvillenews regarding Tawana Brawley. As you can't post on Johnsville and Joan you have so many fans I respectfully would like to add this:

Steven Pagones, the Poughkeepsie DA whom Tawana accused, TESTIFIED before the grand jury. As a result, the grand jury determined he was not involved in any wrongdoing.

Tawana Brawley had already been grounded that day for skipping school to visit her ex-boyfriend. One hyothesis is that she made up the story as she did not want further punishment from her family. (Sound familiar?)

Shades of Gray said...

Joan, an excellent essay. I have disagreed with you elsewhere on the degree of Brodhead's culpability in all this. I do agree, though that he should have pubicly rebuked the Group of 88's advertisement. He can't CONTROL or censor the faculty, but he could and should have jawboned, used his bully pulpit, to condemn that ad.

Kudos and best of luck also to Beth Brewer.

joan foster said...

Thank you, Shades of Gray.Your points are always well taken. I know you and I stand shoulder to shoulder in our concern for the players and their family...and our contempt for Nifong. Thank you for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Joan, I'm not much of a gardener, but I brought along my clippers!

To all of you who are out there, support Beth Brewer and Recall Nifong with a contribution. No matter how small- every dollar counts-$5,$10,$20, whatever. It took me a while to decide to do it, and I couldn't give much. I live in Texas and have no connection to Duke, but I do care about Reade, Collin and Dave- and anyone else who is falsely indicted by this wacknut.
Texas Mom

joan foster said...

Thank you, Texas Mom. You can ride on my little garden tractor with me...clippers and all.
You're right...every little donation, no matter, how a show of support for the boys and a show of contempt for Nifong.

Anonymous said...


You weren't wasting your time at JinC.

I've put up a post. I hope you take a look.

And I hope you keep commenting at JinC.

John in Carolina

Anonymous said...

He can't CONTROL or censor the faculty

Does that mean that I really have to believe now, that aside from Coleman and the women's lacrosse coach, the rest of the Duke and Duke Law faculty are remaining silent on their own?

yportne said...

What a beautiful prose style. I have nothing to add except to mention the mule that they are using at the Herald-Sun. Perhaps they should buy a tractor.

Shades of Gray said...

To 4:14:

As I understand university governance, tenured faculty can say or do whatever legal thing they please without fear of reprisal by the university, particularly at private universities. Faculties pretty zealously protect their independence. So Brodhead couldn't have stopped the ad even if he had been inclined to. He could have published a statement which would have been published in the Chronicle, at least, that criticised the ad, though. I doubt very much that Brodhead or university counsel have told the other faculty to keep quiet. If they had tried, somebody would have leaked the effort.

Anonymous said...

the reason the rest of the faculty is remaining silent is that they had to have these brats as their students in class and know them and their poor behavior first hand and that is why they do not defend them. you all do not know the duke 3 personally, the professors do know them. their silence is deafening. if you did know them, you would not support their heinous actions the way that you do. you identify with the idea of them and what they stand for in this society so you are defending them. the stripper is a moral disaster as a person that no moral person can identify with but she is still a child of God and still did not deserve what happened to her that night at 610.