This week a state representative sent me a couple of Tweets regarding the controversy surrounding Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber that seemed disingenuous. These tweets echoed my own calls for prayers (though the representative felt the need to call on the governor to accept Jesus as his personal savior...I know nothing about the governor's faith nor is it my business...nor is it the business of one public official to tell another how to worship).
I finally responded to these tweets by telling the representative that he was a bigot and a bigger embarrassment to Oregon than the governor. Why? There is a long record of this representative, a Tea Party leader and radio talk show host, of making bigoted statements against African-Americans, gays and lesbians, people of faith who disagree with his own very conservative evangelical faith, and even all Portlanders (as if all people in Portland live and believe the same).
Still, it was wrong of me to respond in the way I did and I apologized this morning. My apology wasn't based on the feedback from this representative's fan base - which came quickly on Twitter:
I heard that @RevChuckCurrie is douchebag. Anyone know the clown?— Josh Shoob (@ShoobJosh) February 13, 2015
and on Facebook where the representative sought to stoke the fire:
Mike Broberg Well he is from the same church as "the reverend" Jeremiah Wright so it's not all that surprising that he feels that way...a little surprised he was dumb enough to put it on twitter. Btw who are you a big got for wanting governor Coruptionhaber to get right with JesusKaren Darnell United Church of Christ. The man is a communist to the core.
I've also been encouraging the people of Oregon this week to pray for the bi-partisan leadership of this state. Whatever happens in the next hours or days the state’s bi-partisan political leadership could best serve the public by working in a spirit of cooperation with an eye to reconciliation and reform of any broken institutions. These are difficult days for Oregon. We can lessen the hurt by offering compassion as Oregon moves forward.
Regardless of whether or not this elected official is a bigot it was wrong in the context of this moment to make the claim. I inflamed tensions instead of lowering them. That was a failure on my part. We need to be careful with our words so that Oregon can find healing after too long a winter.
What Oregonians need now is to look to the future: