OPINION: Double standards abound in state government

There’s one thing in partisan politics that always seems to ring true when those of us who are devoted to one side or the other engage in discussion with someone from the other side.

And it’s probably the most frustrating aspect about politics in the public realm.

We all have our double standards. When someone from the other side does something we don’t like, then the simplest thing is to go straight to worst-case scenario assumption.

An elected official makes a simple verbal gaffe – using the wrong word or being briefly unable to remember a proper word to use in a sentence – and all of the sudden that person isn’t mentally unfit to serve in office.

Meanwhile, if someone who’s on our side makes the same mistake – or even worse sometimes – “Well we all make mistakes and no human is perfect.”

The same can be said for policies.

For instance, it was more than five years ago when the hot topic in the national discussion was how people trying to cross the southern border were being detained and their children were being held in jail cells – or in extreme cases, cages – until a place could be found to place them on a longer-term basis.

Everyone on the left side of the political spectrum were crying foul about how President Trump was heartless and cruel and had no consideration for human rights for people simply trying to find a better life in the United States.

Then it became public that the practice of putting the immigrant children in these cells or cages was actually a policy enacted by the Obama administration.

Then that totally changed the dynamics of the conversation because the Trump administration could no longer be the big, bad villain in this story as much as the left wanted them to be when they were simply executing a policy that was already in place.

Bringing in a more local and much more recent example: The state charter school commission’s overturning of the Jackson-Madison County School Board’s denial of American Classical Education’s application for a charter school in Madison County and the state’s investigation into how things would be affected if they stopped receiving funding for education from the federal government.

At the risk of painting with too broad a brush, Republicans typically want authority over local matters to remain with local governmental bodies.

The local governmental body – for better or worse – made a decision in July, and Gov. Bill Lee established a policy a couple years back to possibly negate that decision.

That policy was enacted when ACE appealed to the charter commission, and the commission – made of nine members with none of them living in Madison County (I’d be willing to wager none of them have taken any of the exits off I-40 in Madison County when traveling the interstate highway – overturned that local authority and allowed the state to step in and say, “we’re allowing a charter school to be placed here against the locals’ will and we’ll handle the oversight of it.”

Meanwhile, the state legislature, which has a Republican super majority in both the House and Senate, apparently want to look into refusing federal funding for schools to remove any federal authority in education in the state.

So the state doesn’t want the federal government getting involved in its education, but it wants to get involved in and overturn decisions made by Madison County?

There are plenty of people on both sides of the charter school issue in Madison County that make good points for why they believe what they believe.

But the state in the collective sense – Gov. Bill Lee, the charter commission, the department of education, the legislature, etc. – are sending one signal in one direction and an opposing signal in the other direction.

But that appears to be a double standard the majority of our Republican elected officials in state government, and they and many of their supporters seem to be OK with that.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.