Is Shawn Vestal a Racist?
That is what some people I have spoken to are wondering. Reporter for the Spokesman Review, Shawn Vestal, used the word “Brownie” to refer to Iranian Pastor Afshin Yaghtin
Shawn commiserates in his column – “Afshin Yaghtin was arrested at the Drag Queen Story Hour last Summer and sued the City of Spokane and won.”
Shawn was not happy about the recent victory in court of Pastor Afshin Yaghtin:
“Here’s the weird thing about this case of tragic Christian persecution: Yaghtin, uh, won. He was arrested. He went to court. And the case was dismissed, with the judge affirming that he was exercising his First Amendment rights.”
Shawn then goes on to write:
“Heck of a persecution, Brownie.”
It is hard to figure out why Vestal would use such a word like “Brownie.” Is it because Afshin, as an Iranian, is in the middle of the human race skin color spectrum from black to white, with lots of brown in between? It is also hard to believe Vestal would say such a thing because he is one of the most politically correct opinion columnists ever.
But let’s give Shawn a fair chance. Maybe he meant something besides skin pigmentation? Did Afshin remind him of one of those little faerie tale creatures called brownies?
Or, did Shawn mean one of those tasty chocolate snacks called brownies?
I have a family story handed down to me about skin pigmentation:
My mother’s father, Andy Kazanis, came from Greece and he was almost as brown as Yashtin. Maybe too many Turks in the woodpile after centuries of Ottoman slavery? He came over by himself in 1902 when he was 15. Grandpa worked wherever he could to survive, and ended up in the Restaurant business in Eastern Montana. He married a Norwegian lady (Grandma) the night they met. My Mom told me the Kazanis kids used to get teased because of their Dad’s darker skin, like the skin of the nearby Crow Indians.
Grandpa was a chef, Chef Kazanis. The neighbor kids used to tease my Mom and her siblings that he was an Indian – “Chief Cats Pajamas” as a play the name of Kazanis. It was okay to tease Indian kids in Montana back in the Depression Days. It didn’t help that Andy spoke broken English. It is a universal that kids can be cruel, but that is part of growing up in Anywhere, Planet Earth.
People are products of their times. Things have changed a lot in nearly 100 years since kids in Montana teased my Mom. Lots of white people would prefer to be brown. Just ask Rachel Dolezal and Elizabeth Warren. However, if you are a straight white Christian male these days you are almost expected to be apologetic about it.
Which brings me to Rep. Matt Shea. Both he and President Trump are being persecuted, not for having done anything illegal, but for having the wrong views.
Looking through the lens of Shawn Vestal’s world view, both men should resign because they don’t measure up to Shawn’s standards. Strangely enough, both men are labeled extremists by Shawn Vestal, even though Trump was elected President with a majority of the Electoral College in 2016 (and probably with a majority of the population too, except for rampant voter fraud in some states) and Matt has been elected and re-elected in the 4th Legislative District of WA State 6 times with a large majority.
Yet paradoxically, Shawn thinks it is permissible for himself to call Afshin Yaghtin a “Brownie.” Shawn is not being consistent, because it is politically incorrect to attack someone for their skin color, unless maybe they are wearing a Trump Hat.
Both of these circuses; the impeachment of President Trump, and the legislative inquest of Rep. Shea are going on simultaneously. Both proceedings have a lot in common. It is a battle of Left vs Right, Mainstream Media vs Alternative Media, Christian lite vs Bible based Christianity, and throw in good vs evil depending on what lens you see things through.
Shawn Vestal is a man of faith. He worships at the altar of political correctness. Serious Christianity makes him uncomfortable. Matt Shea is a Bible based Christian. Trump may not be a Christian, but many Christians like him, and compare him to the Persian King Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity.
Shawn has a good side too as far as I am concerned. He was the only reporter who seemed very interested in why I sued the Utility and Transportation Commission to stop the purchase of Avista by Hydro One last year. Shawn didn’t seem to think it coincidental that Avista Utilities would suddenly realize what a great Commissioner my opponent Mary Kuney would make, and gave her an indirect contribution of $100,000 for her campaign. Thanks a lot Avista, and Avista ratepayers, of which I am one. The other reporters in town only gave Avista’s failed money grab the softball treatment. Shawn also wrote a very nice column about failed Spokane City Council candidate Tim Benn, who is another conservative.
I could write a huge diatribe labeling Shawn a racist now that he has given me an expletive to hang my journalistic hat on. Maybe I will get one of those coveted Leadership of Conscience Medals that the United Church of Christ of Veradale’s Rev. Genevieve Heywood hands out. Jay Pounder got one of those medals for exposing Matt Shea as a Domestic Terrorist. See: Whistleblower Jay Pounder receives Leadership of Conscience Medal – spokanefavs.com
At the awards ceremony Jay Pounder lectured the audience on Christian values. I would have liked to hear his interpretation of:
“A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
For what it’s worth I have known Rep. Shea much longer than Jay Pounder over the last ten years. We have even had a lot of Theological discussions and I agree with most of what Matt believes. I have never heard anything from him about adhering to any Christian Identity movement or committing any acts of violence except in self-defense.
Like most Americans I don’t believe anything I read anymore. You have to find out for yourself.
For what it’s worth I don’t think Matt Shea is a racist, or Shawn Vestal either. Just two guys doing their job as they see it.