Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm disappointed in Shadrack McGill

I wonder if anyone out there can relate to this theoretical scenario. Let's say you work at Company XYZ. You meet a guy at the store one day and the topic turns to your job. Come to find out, that person wants to work in the same field. You think that person would be perfect for the job and so you talk your way up the chain; you vouch for him, state your support for him and the guy is hired. You feel pretty good about it for awhile... until the guy says something that completely embarrasses the entire company. How do you feel after something like that? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Heart broken that the guy didn't live up to your expectations?

That's me. A couple of years ago, I publicly supported McGill on DeKalb Ramblings. I voted for him and urged hundreds of readers to vote for him, too. When I saw a story yesterday morning and realized the scope of how far the story stretched, I was shocked and embarrassed. Certainly he didn't mean what he said. But the audio was right there. There was no denying it and no recourse to say that it was out of context when it was right there in plain English.

If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, click this, go read it, listen to the audio, and come back. Go on. I'll wait for ya.

I'm not gonna sit here and say that I got him elected. That's absurd. (And my ego isn't that big.) But I did put myself out on a limb by supporting him and now to have him insult an entire profession, a profession that I'm studying to get into, it's... well... embarrassing, disappointing, even a little heart breaking.

I've really tried to keep my opinion to a minimal. I had to do an objective run down of events for Examiner but I needed to do a commentary for Yahoo!News, too. Even still, I've been trying to keep my mind open. I still wanted to hear from him if only to gauge for myself what in the blue blazes he was thinking about when he said that.

But when I got home from classes last night, I read all the follow-ups and watched the interview on WAAY 31's website where he talked about balance and corruption and having quality teachers because of low pay but justifying a legislative raise he said he was going to do away with. I'm just kinda shaking my head about it all. Even if he responds to my messages, at this point, it's going to take a lot to convince me that he's working in the best interest of state education.

And you know what the kicker is? A lot of people are focusing on the separation of church and state issue he spoke of and ignoring his attitude about teachers and education. My head is freakin spinning.

You know, I think McGill is a fine person and I'm not going to fault him for his opinion. He has every right to it as much as you or I do. However, I don't think he represents my interests any longer. I feel that he is going to have to say or do something remarkable if he expects to get reelected. From all indications, and from every poll I've seen thus far, it just ain't gonna happen. (That's as southern as I'm going to get in my writing for today.)

Alabama is one of the poorest and least educated states in the U.S. Obviously, what Alabama has been doing with education hasn't been working. And here's my creative metaphor for the day:

When the side of a house cracks over and over, no matter how many times you patch it up, you know that something deeper is wrong. The foundation is off balance and needs repair. It takes a lot of effort and more work to repair a foundation than it does to patch up a crack. But in the long run, if you repair the foundation, you'll be saving lots of time and money that you would've spent continuing to patch the side of the house.

THAT's our education in this state. Our state leaders keep throwing money here and there to patch the cracks in the side of the state. They don't realize that in order to properly repair our state, we need to go in and repair the foundation of the state. That foundation is our public education. Those kids can grow up knowing how to live on their own, knowing how to hold a job, knowing how to start a business, knowing how to become responsible state (and national) leaders. Without education, we have no future for Alabama. People who want better for their children will leave. Businesses will leave or not even come here to start with. Teachers who want more out of life than continuing to struggle to pay student loans and other bills will go to states that pay competitively.

And you know what? It's already happened. I know a wonderful Christian teacher who decided to teach elsewhere because she couldn't get the pay here that she could out-of-state. That doesn't mean she's "low quality" or "not called" or just after a paycheck. It's highly insulting to suggest otherwise. She wanted a better life; one that she couldn't get here. There's nothing wrong with wanting or striving for a better life, and it's certainly not against any Biblical principle that I've ever heard.

It's not about religion or balance. It's about investing in Alabama's future. It's about our state leaders having the right attitude toward education.

I can write about it all I want and it's not going to make a difference, though. Voters are going to have to care and stand together. It sounds corny but look what protesting did to halt SOPA. Alabamians do have it within themselves to demand better. They just need to speak up.

Peace, love, and thinking before speaking,



  1. I too am embarressed and ashamed. I did not and would not vote for McGill but nonetheless he is representing the views of a lot of the people in this area. I have to disagree that this is not an issue of seperation of church and state, it absolutely is! He is attempting to legislate his view of morality and that smacks of what this country was founded on, freedom from religious tyranny. This sense of duality has to change, the mindset that it is us versus them has to be broken down. If you don't believe in a principle of the system, don't run for state office. He did what I expected him to do and what everybody that voted for him should have been prepared for. He is attempting to legislate his religious viewpoint because he doesn't believe in the seperation of the two. The fact that we refer to ourselves as a "Christian" teacher sends the point home. Is she a qualified teacher? One who has an avid desire to teach? That's the important issue. Her religious beliefs should not be an issue in the PUBLIC school system. The problem with the education system is a by-product of this mindset. If you are truly a representative of your religious preference everybody will know it, you don't have to force everybody to see it and you certainly don't need to vote it into law.

  2. I think a Thomas Jefferson quote is in order here!

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

    -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

    1. Also, possibly the worst thing that can happen to a religion is to be supported by the state. When church and state become confused, we see rabid anti-clericalism take hold, and politically-motivated atheism. On the other side, religious people confuse patriotism with their religious beliefs and start thinking that whatever their country does is God-approved.

  3. You're right, Melissa. I had initially wrote only "teacher" but changed it to "Christian teacher" to illustrate to McGill (if he reads this) that the state of education in Alabama and teacher pay is driving out the types of teachers he personally desires in our schools, not just qualified teachers. It's obvious he wants Christian teachers in schools, so I wrote it to illustrate that the state will even lose that with that attitude. I found that I often have to shift words in order to make a point. I apologize if that made it seem like I thought only Christians should be teachers. Not the case. Equal Opportunity Employment is written like it is for a reason.