Gabriel Elizondo, Brazil-based correspondent for Al Jazeera, was touring the United States talking to random people about how 9/11 changed their lives. It was Friday, and as he was driving through Oklahoma, he saw that high schools were getting ready for football. I guess “Friday Night Lights” reached São Paulo.
He crossed the border into Texas and landed in Booker. Population 1315. He finds the high school and is just in time for the game. He talks to the Principal about his project. All was country gravy until he told her he was from Al Jazeera. She got the Superintendent Lee, who happened to be at the game, to talk to him.
Lee said, “I think it was damn rotten what they did. The people that did this to us.” Surprise, surprise. Elizondo wasn’t allowed to interview, film, or take pictures.
God, how embarrassing. I’m sure he knows that little town in Texas isn’t representative of the United States. What made it more embarrassing though, was Superintendent Lee’s response.
He apologized if he came across as disrespectful and was dealing with an emergency situation. He wouldn’t have allowed any pictures or interviews, anyway, because it would violate students’ FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) rights. Sounds reasonable. Check out his last sentence:
Booker is a community that has accepted diversity for decades including many different faiths. I am sitting here listening to the music from our annual “Fiesta Night” that celebrates the unification of the many cultures that make up our community.
So close, yet no field goal. That was the Booker Superintendent version of “some of my best friends are black.” Listening to Mariachi and eating tamales? Look out César Chávez. Why didn’t he quit while he was sort of ahead? Probably because he isn’t as tolerant as he thinks he is.
Message to Elizondo: Yes, you heard right. This state’s governor is in the lead for the GOP Primary to take on Obama in 2012. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s his really nice hair.