Sometimes it's interesting to see how the other side lives.
Other side of the state, that is.
We all know how things went locally regarding the recent controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schools. Lots of parents protested, none of the schools showed it, end of story.
All the way down at the other end of the state, lots of parents protested in Valdosta, too, and the school system there didn't show Obama's speech, either.
The difference is that the parents in Valdosta were protesting after the speech because the school system didn't show it. And the president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is now demanding the city's school superintendent resign, with a seconding chorus from the local NAACP.
The biggest difference between here and there, other than summertime temperatures and gnat count, is that unlike Columbia County, Valdosta city schools are majority black. And according to the Valdosta paper, at a school board meeting last week the board chambers were packed with black residents upset at the white superintendent's decision not to show Obama's speech during school.
Superintendent Bill Cason groveled and apologized to the generally-hostile crowd, and explained his reasoning for not showing the speech with exactly the same rationale school officials used here: He said he didn't have clear directives from the state Department of Education, and he didn't want to cut into instructional time.
Most people here accepted Superintendent Charles Nagle's explanation. Not so in Valdosta. During his comments, Cason was interrupted by one of the spectators who, in a reverse Joe Wilson moment, yelled "He lies!"
The angry crowd later stormed out of the room after a Valdosta police officer stepped in to prevent them from taking over the meeting.
Geez. This kind of behavior over a speech? Can't we all just get along?
Speaking of getting along, last week Gov. Sonny Perdue decided the state would no longer play nice with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
Amid charges that staffers from the lefty organization had been involved in shady activities and caught on videotape coaching a pretend prostitute how to commit fraud, Perdue signed an executive order canceling any state contracts with ACORN.
A search for such contracts, it seems, turned up just one: ACORN was being paid a little more than $100,000 for activities to boost awareness of the availability of food stamps.
Seriously? Does anyone else have a problem with this? It's bad enough that tax dollars were being blown on this hyperliberal bunch anyway, but what in God's name are we doing paying anyone to make sure more people know how to get handouts?
Let's face it: If you don't know food stamps are available, you probably are too dumb to use them anyway. What's next? Buying cardboard and markers so ne'er-do-wells can make "Will Work for Food" signs?
It sure makes you wonder how many other idiotic ways the state is wasting our tax dollars.
The blue car theory says if you buy a blue car, you'll soon see blue cars everywhere. It doesn't mean there are suddenly more blue cars; it's just that you start to notice them more.
That certainly seems to be the case with Virginia Tech stuff. Since the remarkable tribute to the late Lakeside and Virginia Tech alum Ryan Clark on Sept. 4 at Lakeside High School, it looks like Virginia Tech car decals are everywhere.
I'm sure those decals and car tags were around before, but they're a lot more noticeable now.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
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