Talk about your “grave mistakes” …
Last Sunday morning, while the rest of Davis County was either sleeping in or getting ready for the day’s church/chores/recreation/etc., one intrepid local political leader was busy crafting an ill-advised post for Facebook. That morning, Casey Fisher, a GOP precinct chairman from the heavily Republican county, took to social media to make one of the more outlandish constitutional claims in recent memory — that giving voting rights to a good chunk of America’s citizens may have been a grave mistake.
Fisher’s exact post was: “The more I study history the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake!”
And with those 23 words, the Republican touched off a firestorm of criticism. Mostly because, in such an overwhelmingly white, heavily patriarchal society, one might think he was hinting at an outright repeal of the 19th, and quite possibly 15th, amendments. Fisher took such a verbal shellacking on social media that he subsequently deleted the post and even went so far as to deactivate his Facebook account.
As unacceptable as Fisher’s post was, his party boss — Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher — doubled down by attempting to defend the indefensible. In rather weak, vague language, Horlacher basically told The Salt Lake Tribune that folks misunderstood what Fisher was trying to say.
But unless Fisher had forgotten to drop in another “not” in his sentence — as in, “giving voting rights to others not head of household has NOT been a grave mistake” — it’s hard to fathom any possible misunderstanding in Fisher’s foolish Facebook post.
It wasn’t a particularly shining moment for the majority political party in my county of residence. Seriously, Republicans might want to think about doing a better job of screening the local leadership.
Responding to the withering criticism of the “grave mistake” post, Horlacher complained that Fisher has been inundated with “mean emails, mean comments, mean phone calls.” She even went so far as to grouse that her precinct chairman was being “completely harassed.” Which, considering the sexist undertones of the post — and given the current #MeToo moment — not only seems a bit ironic but does a gross disservice to the very definition of harassment.
So, Fisher says vast numbers of Americans shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but the rest of us are “harassing” him simply for offering up some variation of the “Wow, Casey, that’s an incredibly stupid thing to say” theme?
Horlacher even dipped into a certain prominent Republican’s “fake news” playbook, telling the Salt Lake publication that she didn’t think Fisher’s post was newsworthy and that it was only being used as “political gunfire.”
Political gunfire? Really? In this war of words I’d say it was less like political gunfire and more like a political hand grenade — with Fisher himself pulling the pin and lobbing the explosive pineapple into the room.
The rest of us merely kicked it back out the door at him.
But the most unbelievable aspect to this story? That would be the part where Horlacher insists Fisher has been “quite astounded” by the reaction to his post. For the life of me, I can’t picture a functioning adult in the 21st century making such a silly observation and then actually being “astounded” by the public’s reaction.
That’s not just tone deaf, that’s stone deaf.
Every once in awhile — OK, quite frequently — I say something incredibly insensitive or stupid in public. It’s an occupational hazard of spending a couple of decades writing a newspaper column. And on those occasions when I really step in it and my comments rise to the level of deeply flawed or patently offensive? The one thing I’ve learned through sad experience is that the all-important first step is to apologize. Sincerely and profoundly.
Which is precisely what Casey Fisher ought to be doing, right now. He should be knee-deep in the Mea Culpa Apology Tour, seeking forgiveness from everyone and anyone who might still be willing to listen to him.
But instead, our savvy political operative has more or less maintained radio silence, even going so far as to deactivate his Facebook page under the guise of fearing for his safety.
Fisher did issue a statement to KUTV Channel 2 News, but conspicuously absent in the four-paragraph declaration was any mention of words like “sorry,” “apologize” or “regret.” Indeed, his only concession on the matter was that his Facebook post was a “poorly written statement to spur discussion.”
Yes, and if you spur a horse hard enough it can be quite difficult to rein her in.
Fisher’s latest statement attempts to shift the blame to others, claiming that they’re “stuck on their own thoughts and beliefs and not willing to hear the actual topic of discussion.” But what he really needs to do is concentrate on hearing what others heard in his original post. And he needs to offer a genuine, heartfelt apology.
Anything less would be — in Fisher’s own words — a “grave mistake.”