On Shirley Sherrod: The heroism of responding to the low-life, racist, right-wing smear campaigns


From GLENN GREENWALD

[…] But — just as happened with Octavia Nasr and so many before her, including the now-destroyed ACORN — the blinding, lying, depressingly common right-wing hysteria churned out by Brietbart/Fox meant that no nuances were permitted, no reason could breathe, and few people had the courage to defend Sherrod or even demand that she be allowed to speak before being thrown to the trash heap.

And that’s where the truly significant and rare courage of Sherrod becomes so consequential.  Unlike so many who are caught in similar right-wing/media smear storms and (understandably) back down, Sherrod refused to meekly slink away.  She conspicuously refused to apologize for things that merited no apology.  Rather than legitimize the accusations with defensive self-justifications, she put the blame squarely where it belonged:  on Brietbart, on the NAACP for condemning her without all the facts, and on the Obama administration for demanding her “resignation.”  And as a result of her refusal to allow these false smears to go unchallenged and the low-life smear artists to be rewarded, the true facts have emerged.  The actual culprits in this episode — basically everyone except her and the white couple who came forward to defend her — are clearly identified and exposed, with their credibility in tatters.  And it’s hard to imagine the administration’s not reversing itself and offering to re-hire her, thus being forced to reverse a serious injustice.

As much value as Sherrod’s NAACP speech has for everyone, her conduct in the face of this massive onslaught is even more instructive.  It ought to serve as a template for how people respond to all of these low-life, right-wing smear campaigns:  with unapologetic clarity and resolve about who the actual wrongdoers are.  To the extent the gross injustice of her firing is reversed and the slander to which she was subjected is nullified, it will only be because she stood up to the right-wing smear machine, the establishment media, and even the Executive Branch, which were all jointly operating — with different motives — to destroy her.  That isn’t easy to do, but this is obviously a woman with uncommon courage and principle — exactly what is required to stand up to and expose the group of thuggish bullies trying to smear her and the cowardly government officials willing to play along.  This will be an extremely valuable episode if her conduct inspires future targets of such smears to respond with similar defiance.

Complete article here.
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