Why do I want to focus on the local?

It’s good to pay attention to what’s going on around the world and around the nation, but praying and donating to good orgs and voting in national elections are about the only ways we have of doing anything about global and national problems.

I’m in favor of praying and giving and voting in national elections. I do all three and hope you do too. But we usually can’t see that we’re changing the world in these ways.

So maybe we start speaking and acting locally. Which is a good thing—UNLESS we are skipping the step of determining whether the local scene fits the understanding we have picked up (from what sources?) of the global/national issue that concerns us. And if the info sources that are setting our hair on fire about global/national issues are just yanking our chain? What then?

We end up looking at the local through distorting lenses. We’re sure that problem exists—so we find it! Local realities are forced into the mold of our prefabricated perceptions.

Maybe we should consider worrying less about every global/national issue that we hear about. So this writer-pastor suggests: https://thecorners.substack.com/p/if-you-cant-take-in-anymore-theres. Read what she says and see what you think.

Why am I saying this here? What does this have to do with school board?

May I gently suggest that some public comments—and recently even some comments from a current board member who is seeking reelection, and from a candidate for state rep—result from (1) getting worked up about an alleged national/global problem and (2) setting out to find and denounce that alleged problem locally?

I don’t know how else to account for the phenomenon of people who say they know and appreciate and trust our Caledonia school teachers (and really, I believe they do!) turning around and in the same moment accusing those same teachers either of colluding deliberately in a vast evil conspiracy to corrupt the minds of our young people (by, for example, turning them into racists or radical leftists) or else of being too stupid to know that’s what they’re doing.

If you don’t think this has been happening here, you haven’t been attending school board meetings.

How about if instead of starting with national/global conspiracy theories and forcing them onto our local grid, we start by looking at and listening to our students and our teachers right here in Caledonia?

Of course we will occasionally find someone doing or saying something unfair or unfortunate. Everyone makes mistakes! But if we don’t instantly shout “Aha! I knew it!” and connect everything with a vast, evil, global plot, we’ll be able to address any local issues we may have more honestly, more wisely, and perhaps even (do you think?!) more charitably. And isn’t that what we all—in our better moments, anyway—really deeply want?

(P.S.: This is why school board elections are nonpartisan, and why if you ask me what party I’m with I will say: we may all have various party affiliations or preferences, but they have no place in school-board matters.)

If this post makes sense to you, you might want to support these three candidates in this year’s school board election: https://ernest4calschools.org/vote-vet/.

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