Something took place Thursday night at the Quorum Court meeting that was - while reported and editorialize upon elsewhere in this issue - worth a second look.
Long story short, there was a point of contention between justices on the court regarding pay for the incoming Clinton Schools School Resource Officer (SRO). There was enough contention where initially the vote for salary for that position did not pass - leaving the school without an SRO.
I’m not going to point fingers here, other than to say the people who voted “No” had a point regarding at least an analysis of pay parity for the position. At least that. But, to be clear, the people who voted “Yes” had a point as well: The school needed an SRO, the school found someone highly qualified for the position, the level of qualification meant that person (again, we’re leaving names out of this - personalities, per se, aren’t important here) was being paid an additional amount to teach a class, but mostly the school needed an SRO and reached an agreement with someone well-qualified to fulfill the role.
And there were enough voting “No” where those on the “Yes” side were not able to carry it. For a moment or seven is was looking pretty dire, a “travesty” as one observer put it.
And then they, the justices, came together. A second vote was held, all voted “Yes,” and Clinton Schools has an SRO and a new teacher and a new classroom program. Win.
It’s easy to recognize - especially when engaged in the news business - that cynicism is the current lapel width of reason. Just Email, just in the daily flood of Emails, you have all the “_____ will lead to the ruin of _____” messages you could ever want - every day, every single day. Indeed there are those purported journalists who make a pretty good living acting out cynicism for the television cameras, selling a few books on the side, picking up speaking fees, it’s a nice living, and all they have to do is be cynical. The screens are flooded with them.
Now, to be fair, bringing up a problem with a funding issue is not cynicism, that’s stewardship. That’s not my point. There really was a viable “We need to look at this” issue brought up.
My real point being the lack of cynicism which allowed all this to move forward. In today’s world, in today’s lapel width, the yes and no votes would then cross their arms and turn their backs on each other: Cynicism. That’s what we’ve been lead to expect in the modern theatre of government, after all, that “those people” are the gravitational center of everything that’s wrong with everything and (pundit begins shouting at television camera).
Thankfully we have dodged that bullet. Thankfully there was a break in the proceedings as the recording tape was changed - and the break extended longer as some ultimately minor technical issues popped up (and if you don’t believe God’s hand in such matters, here’s your proof) - and the Yes and No voters were able to, sunufagun, talk it out.
Talk, have conversation. I, some reporter in the crowd, didn’t get to hear a lot of it, but I got to see it, observe it. And you can learn a lot by watching, and one of the things to see was the body language of those conversing. It was open, they were open to the “other side” in this matter. No finger pointing, no scowling, people with issues, listening to the issues of an opposite opinion. They were talking and they were open.
And of course, as reported on 1A in this paper, they came back and passed the funding for the SRO position.
This, this is the way it’s supposed to work: People hear each other out. This is the way societies advance, this is the way this county was first formed, and this is the way Van Buren County continued to grow.
There’s always that talk about VBC being “out in the country,” rural America, all that, as though somehow to not have felt the breath of modern culture leaves it lacking. That’s wrong, and proof here is in the lapel width. Where in more contemporary settings the arm-crossed “over my dead body” would have put the SRO hire at an impasse, a less-contemporary setting allowed it to get worked out.