I grew up in a wonderful Hoosier town, thirty some miles north of Indianapolis. It was called, “The Heart of Hoosierland.” When I think back on my youth, I am always filled with beautiful memories of those days, and times spent with family, friends, neighbors (I had some of the best in the Myrick, Herndon, and Fortner families), classmates, and so many others who lived in Elwood.

I cherish the education I received – from grade school through graduation. I am still in touch with many of my former teachers, and am still appreciative of all their wonderful efforts.

Sadly, the community has dwindled in population, and is showing the wear and tear of the economy, as well as other issues that have confronted it over the past decade.

I am not as familiar with past school boards as I have been with the current board. One of my classmates, and dearest friends, began her tenure on the school board about two years ago, and is currently serving as the president.

It was announced by the school board that there would be a tax referendum placed on the ballot for November’s election. Immediately, one of the hometown websites was filled with uprising. One particular gentleman has been known as one of the biggest “shit stirrers” in our community for years. It has always been amusing how he fortifies himself with nameless folks who have always supported his endless causes. Sadly, he often throws out numerous “I heard” lines without basing anything on facts. Yet, this has always been his style.

Last month, he began a tirade against a local restaurant, and was promptly followed by a number of others who I refer to as “jumpers” – folks who are always ready to jump on any negative band wagon in order to have ten minutes of bitching time. My mother, and her uncles, aunts, and even some great-uncles/aunts eat at this restaurant weekly (religiously), and I have never heard any complaints. Several hometown Facebook friends claimed their meals, and service was fine on their frequent visits.

I don’t understand why there are always the shit-stirrers like some of these folks. I often wonder if it was something at which they failed in life that encourages them to share their frustrations with others.

Naturally, those post submitters who have laid dormant for several weeks, have all resurfaced to offer their own share of venom to the pool. Even the Whack Job who harassed me on this site (since I voted for Obama I was a murderer too because he supported stem cell research!) has made yet another appearance. A number of us have dubbed her with the title, SRB (self-righteous b____) as her holier than thou, and anyone who disagrees with her inflated opinion. Of course, her recent post was merely a springboard for electronic pulpit for her all-knowing agenda.

What is sad to me is the fact that some of the same people – “jumpers” – often begin weighing in with their own opinions, too often adding even more “I heard” lines, most of which are not even close to being based on facts. Of course, if the primary shit-stirrer ever considered looking up a fact it would completely destroy any reason for submitting one of his familiar episodes, as he is more about stirring the pot rather than taking time to look over the recipe card to see which ingredients (facts) are needed.

Even when invited to meet with the superintendent, the shit-stirrer declined, as I am sure his “jumpers” would, as well.

Why?

Would this cause him to abandon his continual stirring because he suddenly is presented with facts that will destroy his stance on ill-gained facts?

This is not a time to engage in superiority. This is a time to ask questions, seek answers, and explore options. Citizens forget that we are often welcome to work with our leaders by sharing ideas, or suggestions that might offer assistance. Instead, it is the common chorus of “off with their heads.”

Everyone is in a similar financial boat, and paying more money to local, state, and federal government is nauseating. We have all had to trim and cut our budgets, and it is showing practically everywhere.

Sometimes I find these attacks against our leaders – whether deserved, or not – to be so typically American, yet frustrating. We, as a nation, tend to hold our torch, our beacon high so that others might look to us for inspiration and hope. I wonder why others would want to be like us if we are a nation that will not work together – perhaps a shadow of our political structure – or citizens who merely stand back to attack, rather than step forward to help.

I am not so concerned about the fact that folks are worried about my home town’s referendum as I am about the immediate attacks. Rather than address those responsible for electing to establish a referendum, the shit-stirrer goes on the attack – typical of his history in our community.

What I find even more amusing is the fact that he tauts himself as such a stout Christian, yet stirs the pot in a non-Christ-like manner. I guess there are just too many definitions of what Christ-like means.

I encourage the members of the community to go to the school board meetings, to ask questions, to request one-on-one interviews rather than attacking the process behind their monitors. It seems as though our society prefers the Jerry Springer Show mentality, or yet, one of those drama-filled series that are cleverly known as “reality television.”

I think it sad that we yearn for the reality television dramas, behaving much like them, and forfeiting a more exciting, and fulfilling life.

I can remember when the new high school was to be built in the early 1970’s – many were on the same war-path. They had tried to build a new high school in the 1960’s, but for some reason – and I am not certain of the facts – it was never built. A neighbor of my grandparents vowed he had no reason to support a new school because all his children were grown. My grandfather reminded him that he would soon have grandchildren attending the school, and that someone else had paid taxes for his own children to go through public education.

I know the financial fears are legitimate. People are scared during this financial crisis. But when administrators offer to meet with the Paul Revere’s crying the loudest, and they refuse, I believe it merely goes to show they are behaving in a manner that is not supportive of the school, and community, but merely choosing to be an habitual shit-stirrer. It is a shame that so many are refusing to be proactive, but electing to be so negative, and in attack mode.

This is a time when we all need to be better citizens, and even more supportive of our schools (providing the school board’s requests are legitimate). There are so many things we can do to assist, if we stretch our minds, and our creativity.

I live right next door to our high school, and a 16′-0″ easement separates our boundaries. The school maintenance always took care of the mowing on the front portion that connects my front yard. Since moving here in2002, I have mowed that area of the easement. I also trim, weed, rake the leaves (and then move them to the curb for leave collection), pick up cigarette butts tossed carelessly by the bus drivers, shovel the sidewalks, and keep the area picked up. It is a small area, but I feel like I am helping, in a very small way, to assist the maintenance team who is already over-taxed on a very large campus.

I am sure there are many ways we, as citizens of all our communities, can offer assistance in some small way to our schools. I know unions often get in the way, but there must be ways to help, regardless if we have children in the system, or not. We are all stewards, ambassadors, and a member of the team. If we get involved, or ask questions, we will learn, we will grow, and we will become part of a solution rather than a part of the team of shit-stirrers who only care about spreading their manure.

There is one post submitter, my cousin, who is now a retired teacher. I love the she always asks intelligent questions, and always offers fact-based comments. Since early childhood, I have always been very fond of this cousin, and her husband – they are really neat people, and have raised some wonderful children. My cousin was always sharp, and to this day, I am always excited to read her comments because she represents what I believe to be the ideal community teammate!

With all the bullying in our schools, it seems to make sense where our children receive training… I read the several negative, or self-righteous posts and understand why bullying in the schools has not gone away. Bullying comes in all forms, and shit-stirring is another!

* This post, nor any portion of it may be reprinted, or copied without the express permission of the author.

 

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