on many issues Jared Polis has been a strongly progressive Congressman. I knew that he and I did not see eye to eye on charter schools, but I often disagree on matters of policy with people I feel free to support.
What is not acceptable to me is to see someone engage in ad hominem attacks on someone who disagrees with them.
By now many here know that Polis responded to a tweet in which Randi Weingarten had mentioned positively Deborah Meier's review of the new book by Diane Ravitch by calling Ravitch an evil woman. When he was challenged on that, he withdrew the tweet but would not apologize for his intemperate language. There is a lot of material online about this incident.
Because I have known Polis since Netroots Nation 2007 in Chicago, and have until now maintained cordial relations with him despite our disagreements on some policy issues, I took the initiative to reach out to him to get him to understand that regardless of the strong disagreements, he needed to apologize for those words.
This evening we have exchanged a number of emails. I made clear at the start that unless he were willing to apologize, I would publicly disavow my support for him, not that my support means all that much - I am not a constituent, I have no money to give, all I have to offer is my verbal support, the words I post to which some pay attention.
I will not quote most of the correspondence, even though I neither promised it to be off the record nor did he request it, and he is well aware of my blogging here.
For me the final straw was when in the most recent email he told me he would apologize for calling her evil when she stopped being evil.
Forget about the fact that on the issue at hand, charter schools, Polis is misinterpreting what Ravitch has written. Forget the fact that on the impact of charters the data supports Ravitch far more than it does Polis. That is irrelevant, and would not move me to this step.
It is simply unacceptable to resort to that kind of verbiage. At least for me, a progressive can criticize anyone's actions and policy choices. I would not have the objection were his phrasing that the effects of her policy choices were to his mind evil. That is still the policy, not the person.
I try very hard to teach my students to make a distinction between attacking someone's position and attacking someone's person. I certainly will not invite to my classroom a person who seems to be proud of, doubling down on, precisely the kind of thing I am trying to teach my students NOT to do.
I hereby apologize for having previously supported a man whose words seem to demonstrate a temperamental unsuitability for the high office he holds.
Perhaps others will disagree with me. So be it.
I am NOT attacking the person Jared Polis. Nor am I attacking the Congressman, or the politician. I am rejecting one specific action for which I find him unwilling to take the appropriate responsibility.
Because I have publicly supported him here in the past, I feel I must also publicly disavow that support, unless and until I see a public apology for the words that so many of us found offensive, unacceptably so.
Make of this what you will.