Why publish Porter’s endorsement?

Updated October 9, 2020:

I strongly encourage readers of Porter’s endorsement to carefully consider retired Deschutes County Sheriff Les Stiles’ endorsement of Shane Nelson. Stiles has a damning, first-hand account about Porter’s actual opinion of Scott Schaier’s qualifications for sheriff — and according to Stiles, Porter’s actual opinion of Schaier is exactly opposite of his written endorsement.

I also encourage readers of Porter’s endorsement to read “Ungracious exit – Chief Jim Porter’s betrayal of Deschutes County Voters,” by Mr. Greg Walker. Walker, now a freelance journalist, is a former central Oregon peace officer who has known both Jim Porter and Shane Nelson, professionally and personally, for twenty years or more. According to Walker, Porter has long-standing personal animosity toward Nelson.

Unlike Walker, I do not know either Porter or Nelson personally (although I know Nelson in the context of my membership on his Citizen Advisory Panel). I can’t verify Walker’s assessment of the Porter-Nelson relationship, but a feud exactly fits the opinion I offered in my own assessment of Porter’s endorsement of Scott Schaier. Walker’s assessment of Scott Schaier also echoes my own, although I do not know Greg Walker and have never spoken to him.

The original post continues below.

I’ve published retired Bend PD Chief Jim Porter’s endorsement of Scott Schaier for Sheriff at The Tumalo Lookout. Chief Porter’s opinion is published in its entirety and verbatim. And you can also find his endorsement at Mr. Schaier’s website.

Why, you might ask, would I publish Porter’s endorsement of Schaier in my blog, when I’ve already endorsed Sheriff Shane Nelson?

The answer is: because elections matter, and they should be decided by well-informed citizens. Citizens who read carefully and think critically, and don’t fall casually for political propaganda or even endorsements of knowledgeable people.

If I don’t share Porter’s endorsement with you, there’s a decent chance you may never actually see it at all. That might benefit my political goal of seeing Shane Nelson re-elected. But I wouldn’t be fostering critical thinking among the voters of Deschutes County. And The Tumalo Lookout isn’t simply another political blog. It’s a place where we try to practice critical thinking.

Critical thinking doesn’t lead all thinkers to the same answer, or to “the correct” answer. Trying to arrive at a specific “correct” or desired conclusion is called rationalizing.

Critical thinking isn’t about rationalizing. It’s different.

When you’re trying to justify a conclusion you’ve already reached, then (no matter how carefully you’re reasoning), you’re rationalizing that conclusion.

When you’re doing critical thinking, you’re trying to find (arrive at, decide) the best conclusion — not rationalize one that you’ve already reached.

I trust Shane Nelson. I believe that he’s the best candidate for the job right now, for a number of reasons that I’ve carefully thought through. I want Nelson to be re-elected.

And I feel strongly that his opponent, Mr. Schaier, is not yet well qualified for the job of sheriff.

But if all I do at The Tumalo Lookout is promote Nelson’s re-election, then I’m not using this blog for its true purpose. And that purpose is to role model critical thinking for readers, and hopefully, teach a bit of it.

So, I’ve provided readers with direct access to Porter’s endorsement.

You should try to think through Porter’s endorsement for yourselves, very carefully, before you decide whether you’re swayed by him. I hope you’ll read my thoughts on it, here.

After you’ve read Porter’s endorsement of Schaier, I hope you’ll read my assessments of Sheriff Nelson; of Mr. Porter’s endorsement; and of Mr. Schaier himself. I hope that I can convince you to vote to re-elect Sheriff Nelson.

But I want you to do your best thinking about all of this, before you cast your vote this November. Whether you agree with me or not.

And, whether you agree with Chief Porter or not, this is an important lesson for critical thinkers:

It isn’t necessarily the best critical thinking to accept an expert’s opinion just because she’s an expert on something. Even non-experts can ask good critical thinking questions about the relevance of a person’s expertise to issues at hand; the qualities and logical structure of an expert’s argument; and whether the argument meets the criteria of sufficiency, reasonableness, and relevance.

Besides, critical thinkers know that, in all inductive logic, there’s always a chance their own conclusions are wrong.

May the best man win.

And, if Deschutes County voters elect Mr. Schaier for our next sheriff, then I’ll give him all the support I can, just as I do now Sheriff Nelson. I want us to have good law enforcement, no matter the politics.

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