EDITOR’S NOTE: See below for links to Jim Heffernan’s Op/Ed – Ideology over Experience on TSD#9 Policy Committee, and April Bailey’s Response.
By Jim Heffernan
I will admit that when I first read Ms. Bailey’s response, my immediate reaction was “how dare her call me a liar!!” And I immediately fired off a response … and after several revisions, multiple additions I’ve clarified/verified my true statements for Ms. Bailey. As I always end with my invitation for conversation, I would welcome a meeting and have included the outline for the Braver Angels* format below:
For reference – here are the statements that Ms. Bailey labeled as “lies”:
- Tiffany Jacob has no in-laws on the Tillamook School Board as lightly suggested.
- Tiffany Jacob has never supported Qanon.
- There are several transgender males claiming to be females entering female private spaces in Tillamook School District. This is common knowledge, and has created much anxiety among students and parents.
In #1, I used the acronym FBI (Friends, Buddies, Inlaws) as a metaphor to help me describe how the selection of Tiffany was based not on merit and what was best for the school, but on “Friends, buddies, in-laws ” with an implied “or” between the terms. I never meant to suggest Tiffany had any family relationship with anyone on the board, an actual in-law. It was just another way to say, “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” And I replaced the word with “IDEAOLOGY” …
In #2, How does Tiffany explain her front page photo on Headlight Herald of January 26, 2021? The story is about her being kicked off Facebook because of spreading QAnon misinformation. She is clearly wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with “WWG1WGA” — WWG1GA stands for “Where We Go 1 Go All.” It is a widely recognized Q-Anon motto. Likewise, how does she explain letter to Headlight Herald of December 6. 2021 where she uses another Q-Anon dog-whistle phrase, “Do your research” and touts the wonders of Invermectin, an old medicine long used to treat intestinal parasites in humans and animals, as an effective treatment for Covid-19.
In #3, I could be mistaken. My only source of information in Tillamook Schools in my grand-daughter who is in High School. She reports not hearing of any problems. I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect transgender students are a bigger problem in the mind of the writer than they are in actuality. I further suspect that if the writer had their way, they would march all the transgender students away….
Some years ago, I loved to watch a grandson debate at the high school. He was the one who taught me about “ad hominem”. It means literally “to the person” and it’s very poor form in debate and means a guaranteed loss. But apparently, it has become part of today’s politics. The principle is when your argument is weak, you attack the person. April’s argument is weak, so she resorts to calling me a liar. That’s an “ad hominem” attack, a smokescreen to cover a lack of facts.
My central question was, “Based on the applications, what other school board would have chosen Tiffany over Romy?” April didn’t want to deal with that, so she calls me a liar. Never mind that there is a lack of evidence for her claims.
She says Tiffany and Romy are “diametrically opposed”. Does that mean Tiffany is pro-suicide and wishes they should have closed Franz Bread?
Politics are one thing, conspiracy cultism is another.
I was actually surprised to discover Romy Carver and I are both Democratic Party PCP’s. I religiously attend a weekly social meeting we hold in the early morning and discuss editorials and op-eds, but my attendance at other meeting is spotty at best. Too often they interfere with the daily ritual of Scrabble games my wife and I have been enjoying for decades. Perhaps we Democrats are not the tightly wound cabal we should be.
The stark contrast between Romy, who I remember from her support for suicide prevention and her campaign to keep the Franz Bread outlet open, and Tiffany, who I know from toeing the Q-Anon line in the Headlight Herald. The unwarranted choice by the school board was more provocation than I could stand.
It’s strange, this was supposed to make me feel better, but it doesn’t. I feel I’ve descended once again to the level of “culture warrior”, which is something I’ve been striving to avoid. A responsible crew-member on “spaceship earth” should avoid fruitless exchanges of acrimony. It’s often a real puzzle for me on where to strike the balance between pursuing truth and just letting be.
`Maybe this is a teaching moment.
A rock was thrown at me, I threw one back. What was gained? Nada, nothing. Maybe there’s a different way. I even suggested to my editor that we not publish my reply, it just prolongs bitterness, but as the Pioneer’s tenets of truth, first and foremost – it was important to verify my statements.
I have to admit, there was a time when rock-throwing gave me great happiness. Truth is, now I’ve lost my taste for it. I blame you Laura, you and Neal Lemery, and the reading binge I’ve been on since the 2020 election. Laura has tamed my rhetoric by being my editor. Neal Lemery, with his columns and his books which consistently promote kindness and empathy, has influenced me greatly. And then there are the books, books like, “Listen, Liberal”, “Constitution of Truth”, “Braiding Sweetgrass”, “The Politics Industry”, and “I Never Thought of It That Way”. That last book I owe to Laura. She knows my fondness for bright objects and she waved it at me. I was hooked and it introduced me to the national organization, “Braver Angels” whose mission is to temper rock-throwers like me and to promote a better nation and a better planet for all red, blue and purple people by learning to listen to one another without throwing rocks.
I appeal to the writer – look in the mirror and read the first line of your letter: “Sometimes politics taints an individual’s vision of truth so bad that they cannot see” … THE TRUTH. Any fact or opinion that does not agree with your own is therefore a lie. Open your heart to Jesus, or Neal Lemery, or Buckminister Fuller, whoever is more palatable to you. Instead of being ever-wary for the enemies present in the community, try to look on all of us with understanding and empathy. The central tenets of my “spaceship earth” and Christianity are identical, “We are all God’s children” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.
I invite the writer to talk to me. Have them contact me at email@example.com. I would like to arrange a 1:1 Red/Blue Conversation using the attached “Braver Angels” format.
Braver Angels 1-1 Red-Blue Conversation Guide (1)
*BRAVER ANGELS: A national movement to bridge the partisan divide. We are equally balanced between conservatives and progressives at every level of leadership. We work in communities, on college campuses, in the media, and in the halls of political power. Our strength comes from our members and most of our work is done by patriotic volunteers.
Political polarization is crippling America, threatening our democracy, and making our government dysfunctional. It’s tearing apart families, turning neighbors against each other, and eroding trust in and out of the workplace. Better Angels is a 100% volunteer-led movement uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to build new ways to talk to one another, participate in public life, and influence the direction of our nation.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory … will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” — Abraham Lincoln, 1861
Response to Jim Heffernan Op/Ed – Ideology over Experience on TSD#9 Policy Board