What Ryan Burbey, head of the Harford County teachers union, did was callous and ill advised.
The response from Congressman Andy Harris, parroted by Del. Kathy Szeliga, was equally ill advised.
Burbey, on his personal Facebook account, made light of last week’s crash of a train carrying leading Republicans to a party retreat, posting a picture of the crash and tweeting “karma” with it. Burbey’s implication was that he sees the Republican leadership of government as a figurative train wreck, and now it was in a real one.
The congressman lambasted Burbey with the full weight of his bluster: “I am appalled by Mr. Burbey’s decision to mock yesterday’s train crash that resulted in Christopher Foley’s death. This type of toxic, blindly partisan rhetoric is counter-productive and hateful, and it has no place in our educational system,” Harris said in a statement. “Because blatant partisanship and such stunning lack of compassion have no place in public education, he should resign immediately …”
Burbey took the post down, adding he didn’t know anyone was hurt when he commented. He also apologized, but made clear he wasn’t resigning.
“I am stunned that Congressman Harris would not have more important issues with which to concern himself than a poorly thought, insensitive post on Facebook made by a teacher,” he said.
Despite the congressman’s feigned shock to the contrary, it’s been quite a while since discourse in our country has been so lacking in civility.
And the “toxic, blindly partisan rhetoric” that Harris called “counter-productive and hateful,” is exactly what Americans see coming from Congress and President Donald Trump every day.
Burbey was wrong, has apologized and is contrite.
It’s time for Congressman Harris to refocus. There are certainly bigger fish for him to harpoon.