Can we send them to bed without dessert?

October 4, 2012 2:53:11 PM



Welcome to third grade, or as we say in Columbus and Lowndes County, local politics. 


During Tuesday's Columbus City Council meeting, Kabir said he didn't want to play with little Harry anymore because Harry called Kabir and his playmates a "bad word." 


Back in June, little Harry said that his playmate Leroy should apologize to Ralphie for saying bad things about him when Leroy and Ralphie were fussing over a phone. Little Harry seems to have forgotten his Sunday School lesson: "Do unto others what you would have others do unto Ralphie." 


Meanwhile, the Columbus children are saying that the Lowndes County children are a bunch of fibber britches because they said the Columbus children aren't sharing the way they are supposed to, especially when it comes to the Trotter Convention Center. The Lowndes County children are reported to have responded by sticking out their tongues at the Columbus children and chanting "nana nana boo boo." 


The adults, meanwhile, smile sadly and shake their heads. 


This is what it has come to, folks. 


If the characterizations of the county board of supervisors and the city council are objectionable, we submit comparing the elected officials to children is the most generous analogy available. 


The latest example of appallingly childish behavior was precipitated by Sanders, the county's board president, who more and more seems to have taken over the persona and tactics of a schoolyard bully. Sanders referred to the council members as "SOBs'' in a recent interview with one of the local weekly newspapers. That the county's board president would make such an unprovoked, childish and eminently counter-productive statement not only reflects poorly on the veteran politician, it damages the county's reputation. Likewise, Kabir Karriem's veiled threat to quit cooperating with the county amounts to using his public position to avenge personal insult. Let us be clear: While in no way condoning Sanders' juvenile outburst, using public policy to even a score is a disservice to the city and its residents. 


For much too long, elected officials here have taken their personal squabbles public. It makes them small in the eyes of the public and undermines the credibility of the position they hold. It is a stain that extends to others on the council and board who have, for the most part, maintained self-control. 


Folks in other communities get a good laugh out of all this, we suspect.  


For our community, however, it's no laughing matter. 


Our community deserves to have officials who will put their personal rivalries aside for the good of the residents. 


In short, it's time to grow up and dispense with the name-calling, reckless accusations and petty recriminations. 


You can't stay in third grade forever. 


It's time to grow up.