March 13, 2006

Colorado Legislator Forced To Apologize

An ill-advised email forward by a Colorado representative lands him in hot water:
A Loveland Republican took to the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives on Friday to apologize for having forwarded an e-mail about black victims of Hurricane Katrina that he now understands was "offensive," "inappropriate" and "degrading."

Rep. Jim Welker said he sent the e-mail--subject: "Moral poverty costs blacks in New Orleans"--without looking at it closely enough. Having read it again after people complained, he realized he never should have forwarded it, he said.

The e-mail contained an essay by a conservative black minister, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who wrote: "It was primarily immoral, welfare-pampered blacks that stayed behind and waited for the government to bail them out" during Katrina's aftermath.

"If you're black and a hurricane is about to destroy your city, you'll probably wait for the government to save you," he wrote. Peterson also wrote that most blacks in New Orleans "were too lazy, immoral and trifling to do anything productive for themselves."
Normally, the criticism would follow that Welker's inadvertent forward of contentious material--just by looking at the subject line--should cause nothing more than a raised eyebrow about the propriety of forwarding many such emails by legislators, and for that matter, anyone at work. Official e-mail is subject to more scrutiny, and Welker's oversight (or not, if that fits your thinking) should earn him neither approbation nor condemnation. It seems highly likely that all legislators of any political stripe are sometimes sent questionable or even inappropriate materials via e-mail, and that simply receiving that e-mail does not constitute an agreement with its message. One can only imagine the types of forwards Democrats receive from the moonbats that populate their side of the ideological fence.

This, however, is not the point. Though he received a scolding from fellow Republicans for his error, the Democratic response was decidedly over-the-top and puerile (not to mention an example of race baiting, as Welker is both white and Republican):
Several House members went to the microphone Friday to condemn Welker, but they also praised him for the sincerity of his apology.

"That took a lot of courage," said Terrance Carroll, D- Denver, who is black.

But, he went on to say, "the last thing we need to be known as is a body that condones hatred and that condones bigotry."

Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, who also is black, reacted strongly to word of Welker's e-mail Friday.

"Maybe he should go to Sears and see what size sheets and hoods they have," Groff said.
If Welker is to be reprimanded for forwarding an e-mail critical of the inhabitants of New Orleans written by a conservative black minister, then Groff should likewise be criticized for such deplorable and egregious character assassination. Rather than accepting Welker's apology, Groff engaged in the lowest form of political diatribe and, like his colleague, projected perceived hatred and bigotry onto the person who forwarded the e-mail, instead of dealing with the author's assertions. Groff could be commended--if not agreed with--had he dealt with the substance of the article in question. Apparently smear tactics and demagoguery are Groff's only strengths.

Here is a link to the article in question, which also has a picture of the author.

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