Beaudin firing: Maybe it’s a case of “All Words Matter”

Rick Beaudin — AKA the community-promoting Pinckney Pirate — lost his job selling real estate with ReMax Platinum on Friday. One of Livingston County’s top-tier Realtors, Beaudin told WHMI-93.5 that he was fired for a single Facebook post on a local Pinckney page concerning a protest being planned in the town in support of Black Lives Matter; the post read: “Can’t we all just promote in Pinckney that All Lives Matter?”

The problem for Beaudin is that the phrase “all lives matter” misunderstands what Black Lives Matter means. Of course all lives matter, but it’s the black lives — not all lives — that are in danger. The best way I’ve seen it explained is the parable of the 100 sheep. Jesus says: “Which of you men, if you had 100 sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the 99 in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”

“All lives matter” is like the 99 sheep crying out: “What about us? Don’t we still matter?” Jesus responds that, of course, the 99 still matter, but that they aren’t the ones in danger; the missing sheep is.

The difference between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter is no small thing. To say “all lives matter” ignores the reality of minorities in the U.S.; it ignores the peril of that one sheep.

If you see Beaudin around on Facebook, you know that while his own page is 99 percent community boosting, he has never been shy of posting less-than-politically-correct opinions using less-than-politically-correct verbiage on other pages and as comments on other people’s posts. This isn’t anything recent or new; it’s part of the package that is Rick Beaudin.

In addition to him being a top-tier Realtor in Livingston County, Beaudin’s one of the community’s most tireless volunteers and promoters. From the American Cancer Society to Pinckney High School athletic events, Beaudin makes no bones about where his passions lie. He is also a mover and shaker in the business community, currently serving on the board of directors of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as on the Pinckney-Lakeland-Hamburg-Hell Division of the organization. You can read more about Beaudin by clicking here.

Maybe this is a “words have consequences” kind of moment. There are other people facing Black Lives Matter backlash, including a trustee from Oakland County’s Brandon Township, who posted on Facebook that the organization is “inherently racist.”

All this pushback comes in the wake of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly 9 minutes, killing the man who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd’s death has ignited protests across the globe, which continue to take place in big cities and small towns, like several in Livingston County, including Pinckney on Friday, as well as in Howell and Brighton the week before. You also need to keep in mind that these protests, according to a recent poll, have the support of 75 percent of Americans. Another poll pegs support at two-thirds of Americans. Across the country, Floyd’s death has ignited a great awakening with which everyone is scrambling to come to terms, and that great awakening has spread across the globe.

I am guessing Beaudin’s “all lives matter” post was likely the straw that broke the back of Joe DeKroub, owner of ReMax Platinum. DeKroub, one of the most successful businesspeople in Livingston County, told WHMI that tensions with Beaudin over his social media presence had been building for a couple weeks, and that as a real estate company, ReMax Platinum “cannot be perceived as having bias in any manner or that we don’t fully support fair housing.”

I am guessing that we’ve not heard the end of this controversy. Messages of support for Beaudin, his right to free speech, and “all lives matter” are being posted on social media. Is Beaudin’s firing the end of the story, or is it somewhere in the middle?

Maybe we are at a place in time in which we need to hold close the parable of the 100 sheep.

Perhaps the parable for today is “All Words Matter.”

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