ERICKSON: Blame sits staring back from the mirror

March 21, 2014 

With Macon’s City Council gone and the new Bibb County Commission yet to make waves, at least Bibb County has its school board to roll our collective eyes at. Lest we forget, an audit some time ago flagged unused computer equipment sitting in a warehouse.

The new disclosures are not new. They are just now more concrete with a school board that no longer feels compelled to cover for a long departed superintendent. Now we arrive at the fun: the blame game.

Maybe it was the lawyer. Maybe we should blame him. Except that pesky audit ferreted out the computers and the school board did nothing. But the lawyer surely advised the school board to go along with the Macon Promise program and Dallemand’s Macon Miracle plans. Actually, the school board voted for the Macon Miracle plan before hiring the outside counsel everyone wants to blame. Then they voted for the Macon Promise plan before letting their outside counsel review it.

Maybe we should blame Dallemand. He bought those computers without permission. He came up with all the plans. Except the school board oversees the superintendent. The school board chose to ignore reports and data.

So let’s blame the school board. In fact, the school board deserves a lot of blame. While there are a handful of new faces, the majority of the school board are not new faces. Much of the school board took the criticisms of Dallemand personally. Members of the school board waved away concerns about their pick as racially tinged criticism.

It is so easy for the school board to do. Don’t like the superintendent? You must be a racist. A majority of the school board played that game until they could no longer ignore plain truths.

Putting their heads in the sand and screaming racism allowed the problems to drag out, fester and cost more money. It gave the school board a way out of dealing with their own deficiencies and their own mistakes.

It is far easier to blame some outside person -- a lawyer, a wayward superintendent, some shadowy racist conspiracy -- than blame themselves. Blaming the school board, however, really lets the guilty party off easy.

While a good bit of blame goes to the school board, a good bit also goes to the person you see in the mirror. Our community continues to vote for the dysfunction. The school board exists in its current capacity because we continue to vote for that school board.

Members of our community are easily played by demagogues. North Macon whites get whipped into a frenzy about east Macon blacks. East Macon blacks get whipped into a frenzy over south Macon rednecks. South Macon rednecks just want to be part of Houston County. Lizella is a world unto itself. Politicians know the game and know how to exploit the frenzied suspicions of various parts of the community.

So when the school board fails at its basic job, the majority of the board can scream racism and get a pass from a large part of the electorate.

Other school board members blow their own dog whistles to set off the white community. Then nothing gets done. The wrong people get blamed. Money gets wasted. The healing scabs in the community get picked and left to fester.

Meanwhile, the children in our public schools suffer because of the grievances of their parents and elected officials. We churn out more kids who lack basic skills. But look at the IB program. It’s shiny and distracting.

Look in the mirror. There you will find someone to blame.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service