Randy Burkett needs to understand something right away.
The Internet Age has opened wide the public domain of comments that politicians can make, even when they think they’re making them in private.
There’s virtually no such animal as “private communication” when it goes out on what’s known as “social media.”
Burkett is a candidate for Place 3 on the Amarillo City Council. It now turns out that he’s said some mighty ugly things on his Facebook account. They’re racist in nature. There’s a touch of homophobia in some of his rants. They’ve been revealed to the world in the waning hours of the campaign for City Council, which concludes Saturday when voters troop to the polls to cast ballots for all five council seats.
Burkett’s rants are disgraceful, disgusting and they ought to be disqualifying. Indeed, a local Realtors group and the Amarillo Police Officers Association, which endorsed Burkett over incumbent Councilwoman Lilia Escajeda are backing away from their endorsements.
Interestingly, the Amarillo Globe-News, which also endorsed Burkett — and which published the story today about his Facebook blather — hasn’t yet pulled its endorsement back. What the heck: It’s a bit late in the game to do so now, given that the election is tomorrow.
Still, I have to wonder if the folks who run the paper’s editorial page are kicking themselves today over their recommendation of this guy.
It has become a common vetting practice of employers to surf the Internet for damaging statements that job applicants make through social media. Many applicants have disqualified themselves by posting things on Facebook or Twitter that tell of drunken parties or other activities in which they participate. Employers see these posts and wonder: Should I hire this individual? I reckon not.
Given that Randy Burkett is seeking to work for the residents of Amarillo, his own statements on social media now become fodder for his prospective employers to consider when they cast their ballots.