Dear Mr. Baxter, et al:
As one of your new constituents, via your recent appointment to the Jackson Madison County School Board, I feel morally obligated to express my extreme distaste and personal embarrassment regarding your letter to the editor published in today's Jackson Sun.
First, you display an extremely poor lack of understanding in your new role as a board member. This board, as it has itself acknowledged on several occasions, has not had an outstanding relationship with the news media in general. I have personally spoken to several members of the board who wish to improve this relationship, because it benefits everyone when media is not continually being put in an adversarial role. You, by virtue of casting the Sun in the role of "un-American" and having "blatant ideological alignment with the left" have once again put this board in a poor position with the very people most able to inform our constituents about the MANY wonderful things happening in our school system. Every person serving on the board has their own political viewpoints but most of the time they are aware that speaking in public about politics, particularly in such charged, vitriolic terms, does nothing but cause distraction in the community and can be misinterpreted as speaking for the board itself. In addition, you make yourself vulnerable to charges about your true motives when it comes time for voting on key issues and may also be creating poor relationships with other board members who do not share your political opinions.
Second, I'm embarrassed that someone who was appointed to represent ME is so parochial to be ranting about someone's opinion of communism or any other political philosophy. Mr. Deaton IS opening a door that leads nowhere good. It is the beginnings of authoritarianism, when you start believing you have the ability to control what people say and think and punish them in turn. The newspaper is a privately owned company. Higgins is an extremely well educated academic who is UNPAID. She has wasted no tax dollars on her comments, while Mr. Deaton and yourself both are accepting a paycheck from the government, funded in part by MY tax dollars! I, and many others in this district, consider this an embarrassment to our community and a colossal waste of time. Where's the bigger crime?
You have no right to define what is or is not American, because YOU, and Mr. Deaton, don't MAKE America what it is. Each one of us plays our part. I am as much an American as you and my politics are clearly not in line with yours.
Please consider your new role before making such inflammatory statements in a public venue. If you find this too restrictive, I would urge you to consider resigning from your position if you truly care about the school system. It needs members on its board who are willing to search for common ground for common good and put aside fear and anger in order to move into the future.
I have copied the chairman of the county commissioners, my district commissioners, the school board chair and school superintendent so that they may also hear from a constituent about this situation.
Kiezha Smith Ferrell