By George Chidi -
I see some good people on the wrong side of this issue today.
You cannot defend corruption and incompetence without tainting yourself with corruption and incompetence. The NAACP does a disservice to its members, its legacy and to the children of DeKalb County by making a naked appeal to racial politics when the issue at stake — what happens to students if their schools are dis-accredited later this year — transcends race.
I believe the best outcome for all concerned would be for the six DeKalb school board members in question to resign. Governor Deal would be required to call a special election at that point. This is the logical, honorable direction advocacy should take, in my opinion.
But let’s be clear: recent polling suggests that the overwhelming majority of DeKalb residents — black and white — would be willing to see the governor call in the Sandman and give them the hook.
The overwhelming majority of DeKalb’s black state legislators voted in favor of the legislation authorizing the emergency removal of school board members when accreditation is at stake. They did so knowing full well that the most likely use of that power in the would be by Nathan Deal on an urban school board likely dominated by black Democrats. And the House Minority leader — a black Democrat from Atlanta — stands by that decision.
Deal has two choices if the board doesn’t resign. He can allow the board to stay in place as it is and do permanent violence to the academic aspirations and economic future of 99,000 students, especially the 10,000-or-so, predominantly-black DeKalb high school students due to graduate within the next two years. Or he can remove board members as allowed by the law and do some temporary violence to the principles of self-governance and voting rights of a predominantly-black electorate.
Neither option is particularly palatable. An accusation of racism, when those are the choices, is deeply irresponsible. Were he to leave the status quo in place, it would be just as easy to charge the governor with racism for failing to act.
This is one more sign of the cascading fall into irrelevance of the old guard black political establishment. It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed by them. Joe Beasley, sir, what the hell are you doing!? I hope your role in this is part of the necessary diplomatic positioning necessary to approach the DeKalb Six with credibility, so you can ask them to resign without appearing hostile to their interests. If you haven’t asked them to do so, sir, I hope you will now.