Two lessons in civics

February 20, 2013 

Last week, I had two lessons in civics from a source that was both likely and unlikely.

Likely in the fact that we expect the Houston County Board of Education to teach; unlikely in the fact that I am not a student.

But there I was, at a Houston County Board of Education work session meeting last week being reminded not once but twice of the privileges we have in this country.

The first reminder came when Brian Russ, of the group Save Rumble, spoke to the Board of Education about reconsidering its position to tear down the building that was originally built as Warner Robins High School but is maybe most commonly known as Rumble. The building is scheduled to be torn down; Save Rumble was organized to persuade the board to save the building and find another use for it.

Listening to Russ, a Warner Robins High graduate, and his passionate plea to the Board to consider other options, I was moved.

Not only by his words, but by the fact that we live in a society, in a country, where questioning a government’s decision is not only tolerated but encouraged. Not only was Russ permitted to speak, listening to him and his point of view was actually on the board of education’s agenda.

That’s a privilege, the fact that as Americans we can speak up -- whether it is for something or against something a local, state or our federal government is doing. Not only that we can speak but that we are heard as well.

Later on in the meeting, former superintendents David and Danny Carpenter spoke about the retirement of Tom Walmer, who was stepping down as chairman of the board of education. Once again, I was reminded of the privileges of being an American, as power transfers effortlessly from one to another.

In fact, the peaceful transfer of power, once again on all levels of our government, defines us as Americans.

I am sure that somewhere in the curriculum of our schools freedom of speech and transfer of power are covered. But teaching things and living them are quite another. In a day and time when “do as I say, not as I do” seems to be more than common, it was quite refreshing and eye opening to watch a government agency conduct themselves, as they say and as they do.

I walked away with a greater appreciation for those who run our school system and for my refresher course in civics.

And that algebra wasn’t on the agenda. I never want a refresher course in it.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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