If you recall the ice storm of 2014, one could say we were quite literally stuck:
|Photo courtesy: CNN Report|
Some might say we're politically stuck, morally bankrupt and totally corrupt.
The most corrupt state in the nation. The worst school cheating scandal in America's history. The worst state response to inclement weather and what do we do? Rather than sticking together, making it through the rough times and helping one another, we continue to play follow the leader with the same dirty rotten scoundrels that got us to this notorious position in the first place.
For one bright shining moment, the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County were working together, bridging the gaps that had always kept them apart. There was a focus on something bigger and more important than egos, or school board elections or even SPLOST funds - we were all concerned about the children. And, even those who previously thought school issues did not pertain to them actually took notice and stepped up to support a major upheaval in our school system.
Collectively, the residents in our county decided to all head in the same direction, at the same time, and we pulled the decision makers along with us. Soon SACS was responding, the state BOE was responding, even the school board we wanted out was working on finding real solutions and hired an excellent Interim Superintendent before they were removed by the Governor, his appointed team and affirmed by the judicial system. We were moving in unison and for the first time in a decade, the train was headed in the right direction. We focused on education and suddenly, we could see the horizon.
A few bumps along that highway toward better days and we all scattered like ants returning to our separate little holes in the ground, awaiting our next set of matching orders and keeping quiet while we watched all the other drones fall back in line.
Is there still hope? Of course there is. But, the hope was always there.
Is there still help? Well, yes and no. The help that arrived by way of an appointed school board held accountable to improved standards of conduct and results by SACS and the Governor will soon sit for an actual election. Their tenure was short-lived, by design. They accomplished the goal of saving accreditation, but what have they really changed that can't be undone in May? The future remains in the hands of the voters. Well, guess what? "The voters" are not a cohesive group of people who can be rallied easily by anyone. "The voters" are not a far off group of mysterious origin, either. If you are registered, in fact, you are one of "them." Do you plan to vote? Do you know who is even running and what they stand for? If not, action is required on your part right now... today! The job of reform for the better is a slow process and it is up to every resident and taxpayer to remain committed to staying the course. Do not give up. Do not sell out. And, don't make assumptions about how others will vote, either.
If you are curious, ask them. There might still be time to have an influence of their final decision, or even whether they show up to vote at all. If we don't continue the conversation about political subjects, as uncomfortable as they sometimes may be, we will never actually see real change. We will continue to pay our own money into a system that is harming nearly every person it is supposed to be helping. Don't continue allowing your money to be used that way. If you have any doubts about who to vote for in any election these days, consider the fact that big lobbyist funds have the greatest impact upon those they have had the most time to influence. So, it may be that the newly elected are the only ones in office today who still have some debt of gratitude to the voters who put them there. Everyone else can thank the big bucks that have supported their re-election campaigns ever since.
Several school board districts will have names on their ballots that sound familiar. Don't vote for someone simply because you recall hearing the name. Do your research. Read up on it. These decisions are important and your vote is your single, most effective way to have a real voice in the process. Wise up to the fact that there are factors at play in our political system that have systematically forced good intentions to fall to the wayside. "We" have the power but "we" do not have our own power structure to help guide us toward banding together, north, south, east, west. And those in power were perhaps more aware of that fact that we were. They have experience in crowd control, persuasion, "group think" psychology and they knew that "we" had our moment of control, but "we" are not a static group of individuals who have a known goal to be collectively working toward.
We don't have "good citizen" committee meetings or "honest people" action groups. We are just ordinary people trying to live our lives and work, work, work to pay the ever-increasing tax demands being placed on our shoulders. DeKalb pays the highest sales tax in the state, has nearly maxed out its property taxes and has to GIVE MONEY AWAY to other school districts because we all pay too much for schools that we don't appreciate or even fill with students. Well, some of the schools we fill. We even over-fill them. Others, not so much.
Get the Cell Out will bring you more about the school board candidates in the coming weeks. Voting will take place May 20. GET READY! Let's enjoy the Spring thawing out but let's vow to remember what it felt like to be "stuck" so that we don't repeat the same mistakes of the past. As nice as the people here may be, it's far more comforting to be able to rely upon yourself to improve your own situation than it is to rely on help from strangers. Get out and push your own car up the hill! Or vote for someone who will see the warning signs ahead without forcing you to get stuck in the first place!