Thursday, June 15, 2023

Taking Ownership

This is an easy one. The New York Post on June 6, 2023 reported

A top Oregon Republican faced calls for her resignation after her son was photographed giving a Nazi salute in front of a World War II German fight plane during a school field trip.

The unidentified teen, a student at Crook County High School in Prineville, was captured making the apparent Hitler salute while standing next to the swastika-emblazoned plane at the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, Oreg. last week, The Bend Bulletin reported.

The offensive image, which was shared online, prompted the Central Oregon Diversity Project to call for the unnamed teen’s mom, GOP state Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, to step down from her Salem post as minority leader of the Oregon House of Representatives.

The local activist group — which is dedicated to providing solidarity and opportunity to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and all people of color – also alleged that school district officials “avoided handing down discipline.”

The Diversity Project said it has “reason to believe that the student wasn’t disciplined because of his mother and ‘who’ she is.”

That remains to be seen, and of course is not what the Central Oregon Diversity Project is primarily interested in. Instead

It also called for the Oregon Legislature and Gov. Tina Kotek, a Democrat, to hold the caucus leader accountable.

“We have a problem with the way Vikki Breese Iverson [sic] has and is conducting herself. We feel that if she can’t handle the scope of parenting her child who is nearing adulthood and was caught perpetuating Nazi symbolism, then she is also not fit to fill her elected position,” said Josie Stanfield, a Central Oregon Diversity Project board member.

That "child" is not a six-year-old, instead nearing adulthood and is largely responsible for his own actions. If parents were held responsible for everything obnoxious or irresponsible done by their son or daughter in high school, there would hardly be a parent anywhere who would be unscathed. Nearly all would be in trouble.... frequently.  And

“No person should feel comfortable having a person like that representing Oregon as the Minority Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives. We will be working further to hold Vikki Breese Iverson [sic] accountable to her role in office, and her only way out of that accountability is to make the choice to resign,” Stanfield added, according to the news outlet.

No crime has been committed by the State Representative (nor by her son). Save illegal or truly egregious behavior, the people's representative should be held accountable- by the voters. Additionally

Breese-Iverson has posted an apology on Facebook “to anyone impacted by this image.”

“Out of extremely poor judgement and without considering the impact this photo would have, he posed in front of the aircraft,” she wrote, The Oregonian reported.

“My husband and I have been in contact with the school administration about enforcing adequate consequences for his actions, both at school and at home. In no way do my husband or I condone these actions, and we apologize to anyone impacted by this image,” she added.

In her post, the lawmaker added an image of her son’s handwritten apology, in which he wrote that posing for the snap that a friend captured “was a dumb mistake.

“I really get that now. Doing something bad in the moment without thinking can cause harm,” he wrote.

“I apologized to anyone that was offended and accepted the punishment handed down to me by the school and my parents,” the boy added, according to the Bend Bulletin.

The Central Oregon Diversity Project noted that Breese-Iverson has blocked people from viewing her Facebook page where she made the apology, which a federal court has ruled is unconstitutional behavior for elected officials who use the social media platform as a public forum, advocates pointed out.

The Oregon House Republican Caucus provided the Facebook statement on behalf of the pol, who did not respond to the Bulletin.

Nonetheless, the post has appeared in social media and is probably a secret to very few individuals in the district of Breece-Iverson.  The apology the legislator posted is closer to an actual apology than most apologies offered by public figures, let alone ones who didn't commit the transgression themselves.


According to its Facebook page, the Central Oregon Diversity Project was founded by two "strong Black femme" and "is dedicated to providing mutual aid, connection, solidarity, and opportunity to BILAPOC navigating life in Central Oregon."  Here, it is doing no such thing. It seeks to ruin an individual not for an act, but for speech; not for the individual's speech, but for her son's speech; not to punish an individual for refusing to concede error, but an individual who has acknowledged error.

Ezekiel (18:19-20) wrote

Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. As it applies to the father and the son, so should it apply to the mother and her son.  Moreover, when the latter two act as decisively as they have, they should be applauded, not in the one case hounded from office. Vikki Breese Iverson is showing the strength of character more elected officials should have.


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