A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
In these days of incivility, it takes a brave person to say "I think I made a mistake." You can be certain that the folks who love a fight will rise up with indignation to call you a flip-flopper. Vacillator. Caver-in-er. Neville-Chamberlain-appeaser.
I'm not sure when people began to mistake rigidity and denial of any flaws for good character. But I think they ought to apologize.
That was a little joke. Just in case you didn't recognize it.
Tonight (September 28), the Wauwatosa school board will discuss policies about listening to presidential speeches during school time, a question that arose over Obama's start-the-year-right education speech.
Extremists and those who were infected by their clamoring worried that the president wanted to indoctrinate their children and turn them into mindless socialist thought-slaves. That's a pretty goofy idea for anyone who has ever tried to indoctrinate children and found them deeply obstinate in ignoring all that wisdom we have to inflict on them.
Anyway, Wauwatosa school superintendent Phil Ertl, with not much time to ponder the situation, jumped on the "no speech listening today: your teachers can decide later" bandwagon. Which made some people happy and others indignant.
It was a can't-win situation.
Wauwatosa Now reporter Isral Debruin wrote about Ertl's later reflection:
"(In) hindsight, I think I would have made a different decision on it," Ertl said. "As I look at it, it is our president of our country and the opportunity for him to speak without disruption, I think, would have been a decision I could have made that would have been beneficial to everyone in our district."
Who will be at the meeting tonight? I hope some people who want to say thanks for recognizing the problem and opening the discussion to prevent future flaps. That's what I'd say if I could be there.
I'm certain the vocal minority will be there, protesting the use of school time for an activity that, in my youth, would have been considered a routine civics lession. In those civics classes we learned that free speech is a grand thing, for the president and for the loyal citizen who opposes or supports him alike.
One board member told me the calls were running 15-1 against the original decision, a pretty clear indicator that the majority stands in a place of blessed reasonableness. But the voices of those who show up to speak in person tend to be perceived as carrying more weight.
Takes the wisdom of Solomon, sometimes, to figure out what's what. It's natural to make a mistake now and then. And a great thing to admit it.
I can't attend because my church community is also wrestling with difficult issues. When we do, we have a "threshing session" to try to tease out the truth. There, everyone's voice is heard, because no one has a corner on the truth market.
If you go to the school board meeting, please tell us what happened and what you thought!