I am replying to “Presumptuous about Pence” not only because I feel that the author misconstrued my intentions, but also because I found some of the implications made in the reply to be problematic in their own way.
First of all, I would like to address the issue of quoting. In “Presumptuous about Pence” it states that I implied that Pence was “’racis[t]’.” Notice the letter ‘T’ in brackets. The reason that the T is in brackets is because it is a misquotation of my article. I stated that Pence’s actions were “fueled in part by racism,” not that he is a racist. And yes, the difference matters.
To call someone a racist is to attack their character and essence as a person. To say that someone’s actions are the product of racism is to attack their actions and show that their actions are the product of an ideology that operates upon them and the institutions they are a part of. It is not a blatant attack on their character, thus it is not “unfair”. The endnote speaker at the Day of Dialogue, Keith Edwards, excellently described the difference between these two things. I sincerely hope that the author of “Presumptuous about Pence” attended this talk as well as the Day of Dialogue in general.
Secondly, I am alarmed by both the fact that the author feels that a few tweets are an acceptable reply to a public health and environmental crisis such as the one in East Chicago. Mike Pence, before any other title, including potential vice president, is the Governor of Indiana. He is a public servant; his job is to serve his constituents, those being the residents of Indiana.
I doubt many would agree that tweeting sympathetically is an active form of serving the public. This response is particularly disappointing considering the gravity of the situation in East Chicago. If you didn’t read my original article, some citizens in East Chicago were poisoned by lead for several decades and are now technically homeless due to an incredible failure of both state and federal government.
Lastly, I would like to address the following statement in reference to East Chicago: “That doesn’t sound like a great place for a vice president nominee to be hanging out.” If East Chicago really does have a crime problem, then Mike Pence should be there exactly for that reason.
I will reiterate: Mike Pence is a public servant. His job is to serve the people of Indiana, even if this means going into an area that is labeled as dangerous by a website that is under investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance. Regardless of the crime rate, if Mike Pence isn’t willing to visit a city in his own state, perhaps he doesn’t deserve to be Governor. But, I would guess such naysayers would still find any reason to support him.