Violet Arlene-6-13_382

I really don’t remember when I started writing “Poli-Ticks,” a weekly column. I think it was about 20 years ago. I surely am going to remember, however, when it ended since it is now. I have started my trek toward at least partial retirement. While I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to work with such wonderful people like Tom Ward, publisher; Marcia Green and Ethan Shorey, editors extraordinaire of The Valley Breeze and Scott Pickering, publisher of the East Bay Media Group, and one of the sharpest editors around, Christy Nadalin, I realize that all good things must come to an end.

I have a few thoughts with which I’d like to leave you. If you were the subject of a column and I praised you, it wasn’t personal. You got the kudos because you deserved them. If you received an unflattering critique, that wasn’t personal either. I knew you were too good to engage in shenanigans and I hoped to speak to your better angel. If I got anybody wrong, I apologize.

One reason why it is difficult to give up a weekly column, particularly now, is that there are so many issues that require attention. On a national level, our body politic has sustained some fractures with little hope on the horizon for national healing. As I once wrote, adult Americans now inhabit ideological and demographic bubbles. Facts are not facts but carefully constructed narratives to maintain the “bubble quo.” Political leaders in D.C. excoriate anyone or any idea advanced by the other party lest they lose an election. Constitutional checks and balances are “gamed” by appointing ideologues. Law has become weaponized to promote a social agenda often at odds with the founding principles of this country. “We, the People” has metastasized into “us” and “them.”

The racial divide continues unabated. The very fight over the teaching of critical race theory is bastardized with arguments that distort the curriculum. It is hard to imagine that any fair-minded person doesn’t recognize that the inequality of treatment of Native Americans, and Black citizens, and other races has pockmarked our history and that it is important for students to learn about how and why this happened in order to prevent future repeats.

As far as students are concerned, civics education should be a mandatory course. Rhode Island has moved in that direction. Most importantly, the quality of education has to be upgraded, particularly in inner-city schools. Poor children are the ones behind the eight ball so even more so they should have a stellar education. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza was correct that the state blew its opportunity to change the trajectory of the city’s students’ lives by capitulating to the demands of the Providence Teachers’ Union.

As for the state’s politicians, they should be called on any activity when they self-deal either for their own financial interest or political career. Public service is supposed to be precisely that i.e. public service not self-service.As I surrender this opportunity the reader will still be hearing from me once a month beginning the first week of November and at the beginning of every month thereafter. I appreciate the offers from both newspaper groups to continue on a monthly basis. Finally, thank you, readers, for the ride!

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.

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