Dear Ms. Tingle-Sames,

I received your phone message requesting a conversation about your Facebook post and asking for more information so that you can understand the “firestorm” that you created. While I appreciate your desire for more information and your wish to understand the problem, I am also concerned that you do not understand why what you wrote was so offensive and inappropriate.  

We live in a democracy, and as an elected leader, you have an obligation to your constituents and your community, whether or not they voted for you. You have a duty to seek out accurate and factual information and understand problems before you make a judgement. As an allegedly nonpartisan official, you have a duty to serve and represent all constituents in the Georgetown community. A political leader should not denigrate and insult. A political leader should deal in facts and not propaganda. A political leader should empower people to be the best that they can be, and recognize and respect potential in others. A political leader must be held to a higher standard because their words matter. A political leader does not have the right to pick and choose when to be patriotic and supportive of our system of government and our country’s leaders. Most important, political leaders have a duty to learn, understand and listen, not just to “their side”, but to all sides, whether you think they are “Godly” or not. 

Your post lacked empathy and compassion for people — not just the people on that stage, but all of the people who disagree with you. I hope your desire to gain more information and understand why this is a “firestorm” is genuine, but I must admit I have my doubts. You might accuse me of being a “liberal snowflake” — of being overly sensitive — but that is simply a distraction from the real problem. The real problem is that you have served in elected office in this community for many years and still do not understand this diverse community, a community made up of people of many races, religions, ethnicities and beliefs. You have dismissed members of this community because they do not share your “values.” That is not what a political leader ought to do and it is certainly not what a good political leader does.  

Your post was hateful and, again, the words of political leaders matter. You wrote, “Crack pot little girls.” While crackpot may refer to an eccentric person, it also refers to someone addicted to crack cocaine, akin to crackhead or crack whore.  Your use of the word improperly — it is not two separate words — only serves to highlight a reference to drugs. Moreover, you use the term to denigrate and insult young Black women, including Kamala Harris’s great niece who is four years old. Does this reflect your “Godly values”? It is completely inappropriate for an elected official to denigrate children.

The reference is racist. In your post, you included a picture, and in that picture there is only one little girl. She is a Black girl holding the American flag. How did you expect people to react? Did you consider who that little girl was? In addition, she is holding the American flag. She and all of the people on that stage are patriotic Americans who care about this country. Your insensitivity and lack of understanding about race in 2020 illustrates your disconnect from the challenges we face in this country and this community. If you honestly want to understand the challenges of race in our community, I recommend you seek out the many available resources.

Moreover, if you respond by suggesting that you were referring to the strong, educated adult women on that stage, I have to ask how you did not expect people to be insulted by your denigration of them. In that picture, by wearing white, Kamala Harris is paying tribute to the women suffragists who not only worked to get women the right to vote, but who worked to allow you and other women to rise to positions of political leadership. Without those suffragists, you would not have had the opportunity to lead this community.  

In that picture, Jill Biden, our soon-to-be First Lady, has two Masters degrees and a doctorate, and is an active educator. Educators are vital to this country and its success; your attacks denigrated those of us who work to free people’s minds of intolerance and rigid views, and open their minds to possibilities and their potential.

Your post also illustrated your ignorance of the serious addiction problem we have in this country. Yes, Hunter Biden had a drug problem; he’s admitted that, along with tens of millions of other Americans who suffer from Substance Abuse Disorder. Again, your use of the term crack and your attack shows a lack of empathy for others. You question a loving father supporting his son who has recovered from addiction. This state and this community has many people who suffer from that same addiction. Are you prepared to question the families that love and support them, or will you educate yourself about Substance Abuse Disorder, which is the leading cause of homelessness, and provide resources and partnerships through the city to help our community and its citizens?

Your post also attacked Joe Biden, referring to him as “creepy China Joe.” From this, one could guess that you supported Donald Trump, a man who has been divorced twice, cheated on each of his wives, and was caught on tape talking about a female actress on Days of Our Lives saying, “I did try and f*** her.  She was married…. Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab ’em by the p****y. You can do anything.”

When did you call Trump “creepy”? Your “Godly values” only for those you support underlines your righteous hypocrisy.

And to call Biden “China Joe” illustrates your looseness with facts and truth. No credible news outlet substantiates these claims.  The vast majority of the claims come from a conspiracy theory documentary, “Secret Empires”, which makes baseless claims about Biden’s willingness to sell out the country. In fact, the documentary never says that Biden broke any laws, but shows Biden with Chinese figures charged with crimes. There is no credible evidence that Hunter Biden broke the law, much less any evidence that Joe Biden has done so.  

And again, your hypocrisy and looseness with the facts ignores the business dealings that Ivanka Trump has personally made with China while working for the White House. Moreover, Trump’s taxes — the ones he didn’t want to release — show that Trump maintained a bank account in China, through Trump International Hotels, while president; and Trump hid this foreign account from his financial disclosure statement, where he must list personal assets.  

These are facts. As an elected leader, your duty is to educate yourself about the facts on current issues, and not spread propaganda and falsehoods. If you are genuinely interested in gaining a better understanding of current events, I would suggest broadening your current news sources.

The most insulting and disrespectful part of your post is your insistence that “Godly values” are only possessed by one side. First, elections are not a “punishment” by God.  Elections are an expression of the will of the people.  

Your attack on the Biden and Harris families for not “representing Godly values” is bigoted, intolerant, and disrespectful to anyone who does not share your view. Are you suggesting a practicing Black Baptist and a Catholic lack “Godly values”? Kamala Harris was raised in the Hindu and Christian faith. When her parents divorced, she started attending Oakland’s 23rd Avenue Church of God and she considers herself a Black Baptist today. She reflects the cultural and racial biography of this nation. 

Joe Biden is a practicing Catholic.  He considers himself a “cultural” and “theological” Catholic.  He has written that his Catholic faith “drilled into me a core truth — that every person on earth is equal in rights and dignity, because we are all beloved children of God.” What could be more “Godly”? Your flippant and insulting judgement that these individuals do not represent “Godly values” only reveals your own lack of compassion and empathy for other people. Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Kindness, compassion, empathy, and care for the community is your first duty and obligation as an elected official.  

Therefore, I stand by my original request. You should resign from office because you do not understand the challenges facing this community, and you have failed in your duties to be an ethical and inclusive representative of the Georgetown community.

 

Dr. Michael Cairo is a professor of Political Science.

 

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