Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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A good lesson poorly executed

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A good lesson poorly executed

This is an open letter to La Plata Mayor Jeannine James.

I felt your apparent lesson was an excellent choice to make students understand the positives and negatives of posting on social media as well as the lasting consequences. However, I felt your execution of this lesson was not becoming nor warranted of a professor and an elected official with a respected reputation. As adjunct professor myself, I would have sought out a controversial social media post (within the class), examined the post, the comments, and the fallback one would have to deal with for posting on social media.

I understand some may have labeled you insensitive or a racist, and some may have labeled you a patriot or loyalist to their cause. By no means do I feel you are a racist, however, I do feel you have demonstrated a lack of empathy for people of color by showing little to no remorse for the root cause of Colin K’s protest. Let me be clear, the protest had nothing to do with the military because Colin K. was very vocal about veterans returning home from war and not receiving adequate healthcare. Furthermore, he was not targeting all cops but rather bad cops that give the majority of good cops a bad rap.

I took my military oath in 1989 and swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed.” Your oath is that you “swear (or affirm, as the case may be) to support the Constitution of the United States; and that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland and support the Constitution and laws thereof; and that you will, to the best of your skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of mayor of La Plata according to the Constitution and laws of this state.” As you are a military spouse and mayor, I find it disheartening that you and others fail to understand the oath we voluntarily chose to defend and protect with such acts as peaceful protest regardless if we agree or disagree with the cause.

The United States of America has a dark history that has shown us that people of color, the poor, or even some with disabilities, have been treated as social and/or scientific experiments for hundreds of years with no regard for human and civil rights. Furthermore, peaceful protests have never harmed a soul but my mom and countless others were beaten, hosed down, punched or kicked, spat on, attacked by dogs, called derogatory names, or even killed by those that failed to truly identify with the true meaning of patriotism and being “One Nation Under God.”

I believe you had the right intentions but made an immoral choice in your delivery. I feel you owe Charles County, the town of La Plata, and all those that were offended a public apology and realize once you hold a public office you are no longer a private citizen. Regardless of political party or race, Charles County residents will continue to work on sincere, honest unity versus harmful and hurtful division.