Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sweet N' Saur

It is not uncommon for me to get so wrapped up in someone else's post or (in this case) blog that I'll make a comment that is a post in its own right. There is a blog that deals with kid's issues in Pinellas County, Florida that has attracted my attention. Although the following comment-turned-post elaborates on why I care about a local matter taking place clear across the nation, it captures far greater issues related to community involvement, public service and trust and how the people can have not only a voice in their government, but also dictate its behavior. This little local issue oriented blog is but a microcosm of what needs to happen nationwide: a grass roots, common sense and cooperative effort to force the government to return to its one and only purpose: serve its citizens.

This link will go to the specific post and, of course, since what follows is a comment there, it will be repeated in the comments section. These comments, for the most part are intelligent and well reasoned. Those that are posting here do not have desire to be right - they have a desire to solve a problem on the behalf of those who can not fight for themselves - the children. Clicking on the title will link to the blog's main page. As important as being an informed voter is, this sort of activism is at least as important.

I must admit, I am strangely drawn to this conflict and I have mixed feelings as to why this is so. I mean, I really shouldn’t care that much. I only have one kid left in school, I live several states and several thousand miles away and any efficacy I may have for bringing about change is negligible. Despite all these rationalizations, I do care and find myself frequently outraged over what passes for public service these days.

I have always been drawn to the good fight. Often, it means pulling for the underdog. When the underdog consists of the public, the “we” in “We the people… ,” it makes the battle all the more sacred. It never ceases to amaze me how so many of our public servants serve us. It’s almost as though we are just in the way, we don’t know what we’re doing or talking about and that anything that happens under their watch is our fault, or at least it’s not theirs.

Your dear superintendent (bless his heart) had a perfectly reasonable explanation for his low numbers. "I think it's a lot of other stuff," he said. Of course it is; it couldn’t possibly be him or anything he did or didn’t do. The article goes on to state that:
Chairwoman Carol Cook said tough decisions that resulted in $19-million in budget cuts in April {and that] could have contributed to teachers' perceptions about the board's leadership.
I’ll go out on a limb here – those budget cuts came out of the teacher’s salaries? The article did not mention the cause of the $19 million shortfall, but one thing is for sure, it’s not the board or superintendent’s fault – it never is.

This story has all the elements that grab my attention. Incompetent, smug and blameless public servants, an informed, angry and mobilized public that won’t take it lying down, innocent victims (the children), a troll and just for good measure – a sock puppet. I can’t put it down! The people of Pinellas County are showing public “officials” that they are not royalty – they may not act with impunity and they will be held accountable. Like it or not.

~Mike Althouse


michelle said...

WOW, Thanks Mike! Don't tell, but you are my favorite blogger tonight.

Mr. Althouse said...

It's our secret!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Mike, you're hot! ;o)

One of the great things about this blog is that it's getting so many people in there, stirring up the muck, and learning all at the same time.

We're very proud that we're the profiled blog in our #1 paper in this major metro area: The St. Pete Times.

Outside of it being a stroke to the ego, the truth is that it seems to have struck a chord and is ministering to those who have been silent before but now have the opportunity to speak.

It's being watched by all the major politicos in the school system, and there's a lot of excitement being generated.

I am also happy that Michelle and I are talking with each other more now than we have been. Sometimes busy lives intrude, and our friends become neglected. And every day, I see more that I admire in Michelle. That's pretty cool.

Mr. Althouse said...

That is cool. I'm glad I get to watch and learn myself. This is where it's at, I'm convinced. We say we want to change the world, well this is how to do it - one person at a time.

D-Dub said...


To quote John McClane: "Welcome to the party pal!"