Thursday, April 28, 2016

Parting Gifts

Bloggers, as I have said before, are not journalists. Therefore they are not bound by the professional/ethical rules of journalism, although I believe the best ones strive for fairness, anyway. And a blog is absolutely an appropriate place for expressing one's opinion, whether written daily, weekly, monthly, or even once or twice a year...

In the aftermath of the Board of Education election, local bloggers have had plenty to say. Why not? Private citizens have had plenty to say. There were important issues on the table here, issues which belong to the citizens of Howard County. That is why my post-election piece focused on what the desire for change on the school board was all about: working for something, not against. I am not aware of anyone whose desire was to burn something down. To the contrary, the overwhelming sentiment was a love for and belief in our school system, to want to work to make it better, to build it up.

Right now there are two lines of thinking about the election circulating on social media that disturb me. In reference to the incumbents who will not be advancing to the general election:

1. I don't think that this is a time to make fun of, smear, name-call, cast aspersions, ridicule gleefully, lampoon--you get the picture. It isn't funny. It isn't helpful. I have an extremely low tolerance for that kind of behavior anyway, and under these circumstances it's in extremely poor taste.

2. Nor do I think this is a time to heap praises upon these candidates--if the praise is unjustified. Yes, everyone deserves to be thanked for their service. But don't say nice things that aren't true. While it may be salve to the wounds of the unelected, it does a singular disservice to those in our community who have suffered as a result of their work.

In an effort to be evenhanded and sensible, please don't forget that our county is littered with victims of ill-treatment, dishonesty, and bad decisions. These victims come from every possible constituency: students, parents, teachers, paraeducators, staff, administrators, central office staff, even fellow board members and elected officials. Smoothing over this uncomfortable truth looks a lot like a choice to paint the incumbents, in their loss, as victims.

They are not.

To those who wish to pass judgement on fellow-citizens who feel passionately about a better board of education, I don't know what to say. I guess that you, or someone close to you, hasn't been hurt. Be grateful.

To those who will be going off the board after the November election--thank you for your service.

That's all I have to say.



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