Allan Edwards 
Member since Aug 6, 2013



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Re: “Meet Dan Johnson

The issue surrounding Dan Johnson is not whether he is a "stand up guy" or not, Fred. That is a "red herring argument" He probably is a stand up guy (for his friends and business associates). The issue is much bigger than that. It is about his blatent violation of one of the most sacred values of the institution he is supposed to represent and his subsequent, unapologetic, pugnacious, pugilistic response to any who criticize him. It is about his self-serving denial of his duty to accept the responsibility for his actions.
The controversy surrounding the series of ethical errors of Dan Johnson’s plagiarized speech at the 2013 Arcata High School graduation, his singling out his daughter above the entire graduating class, his subsequent vilification of his critics in what he claims was an apology for “making a simple mistake” (plagiarizing another’s words), his blatant denial at the September 10th board meeting that what he said were not plagiarized words, but words he crafted as a result of his being “inspired” by David McCullough, Jr.’s speech, and his hypocritically comical demand for his audience’s respect when his vitriol boiled over because a member of the audience was laughing during his contentious remarks at that meeting hinges on whether he “hurt anyone” by what he did.
Supporters of Dan Johnson consider his “petty mistake” trivial, because they claim it not hurt anyone. But it did, unnoticably, like a stealthy cancer that grows slowly at first until it reaches a critical point of no return. To those who are not academics, or who do not value the moral and ethical pillars that hold up the roof of the educational institution that Dan represents and is supposed to reflect, Dan’s error was harmless and trivial. But whom Dan Johnson “hurt” by his actions, inactions, and accusations was not any individual; rather, he harmed the institution itself and all those it serves.
Institutions such as education, religion, or charities gain their efficacy and respect because of the trust that citizens place in them — and the integrity of those who represent them. Take that trust away by a representative violating the foundational principles on which these institutions are founded, and the institution itself suffers a devaluation in the eyes of those they serve. Such a devaluation, in turn, hurts not an individual, but all individuals that these institutions serve. A priest or minister who violates a fundamental ethical or moral tenet of the faith weakens the respect for the church or temple the violator represents. A CEO of a charitable institution who earns a half million dollars for his job, yet pays his disabled workers 22 cents an hour, undermines the perception of charitableness of that organization (see Goodwill Industries). And a member of a school board who steals another’s intellectual property for whatever reason and claims it for his own, chips away at the efficacy and respect that is the foundation of the institution of education. That is what is hurt – not a “somebody,” but the “everybody” of a community to which that institution belongs.
Therefore it is my argument that the critics of this controversy are not making mountains out of mole hills, but rather, those who would dismiss this issue as trivial and “harmless” are making mole hills out of mountains, by defacing and eroding as trivial the institution’s core values, intellectual honesty and integrity being two of the highest values of the educational community. To allow such a violation of principals to pass away without severe consequence in order to “move on” or “forgive his tiny error” is to add to the downward spiral of respect for the institution of education itself.

93 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Allan Edwards on 10/10/2013 at 8:59 AM

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