15 August 2009

Doing the Right Thing

Every once in a while you have to take a stand that may not set well with those who more often agree with you - or in this case me. Two examples in the news lately call to mind what it means to do the right thing:

Case #1

Al Sharpton & Newt Gingrich team up to tackle Education Reform

First of all, let me say this is an incredibly sore issue for me. It seems like every year on every ballot there are "education initiatives" that result in higher taxes for everyone. However, the quality of education continues to decline year after year. I first, and foremost, place the blame on unaccountable administrators and the unions that fiercely protect unqualified teachers. However, the GOP's notion that school vouchers are the answer simply ignores the problem and absolves them of any responsibility to address the failing public education system (which is a major source breeding government dependence!)

I think the message from this trio, including Arne Duncan - who I'm not entirely crazy about, is valid. I will wait to make any judgments on their sincerity until we see some concrete actions. However, having Al Sharpton demand accountability from parents is a step in the right direction! Education has always been a priority for those in the African-American community, but they've lacked the resources and discipline to demand accountability from their schools and teachers. I'm not expecting this to change overnight, but it is always good to hear people from opposite sides of the political spectrum agreeing on something that affects our kids and their education. If Obama can use his popularity to encourage kids to stay in school and desire to achieve academically, that is a worthwhile venture.

They are doing the right thing.

Case #2

The Philadelphia Eagles sign Michael Vick to a 2-year Contract

I'm certain that I'll be asking "Who let the dogs out?" as people start to question my sanity... BUT... I agree with this move. Originally, I thought it would be a PR nightmare for any team to bother with, and while I'm not entirely certain of the strategic motives related to football, I think Michael Vick deserves a second chance.

First of all, like the verdict or not, he has paid the debt to society the court demanded of him. The man is bankrupt, and most likely has no other way to earn a living. So, why should he be denied a chance to make further amends by using his status to send proper messages about rehabilitation as well as the opportunity to make a living in his chosen profession? He shouldn't.

Many will say he blew the opportunity the first time. But they say that about athletes who make second, third, fourth, and more mistakes. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, infidelity... you name it. They've done it... and they all get another chance. Are we to condemn Rick Pitino as well for his apparently lone mistake? How about young NHL star Patrick Kane? I can say unequivocally that I'd be upset if I was blacklisted in my profession for a serious personal mistake.

I cannot be any more against the terrible and inexcusable activities he was involved in. And in no way do I endorse them by saying he deserves another chance. But, what I have to hope for is that he has learned the value of surrounding himself with quality people who will not use him for his resources. Hopefully he understands the privilege he's being afforded this time and will make the most of it. If he fails and ends up in suspect activity again - on a short leash, no pun intended, then that's it. But otherwise, he has the chance to be a significant success story that illustrates how you need to make the most of your opportunities - especially the FIRST time.

So, while I'm no fan of the team, I say the Philadelphia Eagles are doing the right thing as well.

Doing the right thing is not always popular, but then again, doing the popular thing is not always right. It will be interesting to see how both of these issues play out as people analyze both and provide their own opinions on each. What do you think?


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