Bob Bridge: CHILDREN SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY
Bob Bridge ”I don’t have the answers, but I am not without questions.“ - Bob B. Bridge Tip O’Neill claimed all politics is local. The popular Speaker of the House certainly wasn’t the first statesman to introduce that idea. Forgetting to concentrate on the constituents’ concerns is probably the most expedient way for a politician to lose his - or her - seat. The last several years in these hallowed Hoosier Hills have been particularly challenging with global issues such as the pandemic and rising inflation understandably rattling the citizenry’s sense of stability. From my perspective, local issues have been troubling as well. Each individual harbors his - or her - particular pet peeve. Heading my list of pervasive problems are the education system, and the rampant abuse of illegal substances. The latter is the most dire, and I believe the most impactful. Pitfalls should be anticipated with the restructuring of any school system. However, communication throughout the process has been anything but crystal clear. I’m a strong advocate for transparency. Having said that, the local newspaper no longer delves deeply into what is transpiring. And, social media, though entertaining, is not a viable source of factual information. It’s no wonder the schools are steeped in controversy and the public is pleading for answers. The turnover in teaching positions only complicates the conundrum. Fifteen years ago I became engaged in a candid conversation with a prominent local official. He predicted a frightening future. “Babies having babies,” he lamented. “We must stop this destructive cycle.” Unfortunately, despite some creative, well-meaning efforts, we have not stemmed the terrible tide. Many of those charged with abusing drugs are mothers and fathers with young, impressionable children. A proverb proclaims, “It takes a village to raise a child.“ Perhaps, but it also takes compassionate and responsible parents to provide children with a proper springboard to success. I made Lawrence County my home because I appreciated the schools and community. I also admired how much parents loved their children. I am not blaming anyone in particular for the current state of affairs. Pointing fingers of culpability before thoroughly investigating the issues in question will not prove productive. In pondering and plotting a path forward it would behoove us to reconsider our priorities. Identifying villains and chronically complaining won’t resolve these problems. We need leaders and parents to put children first. Identifying facts and communicating them to all interested parties would be a prudent beginning. These problems won’t disappear without a modicum of compromise and cooperation. It won’t be perfect, but it can be better. Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.