Greeson: Sadly, moral indignation did not lead to civil obligation

Jimmie Jones cast his ballot during early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Chattanooga.
Jimmie Jones cast his ballot during early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Chattanooga.

Hamilton County general and Tennessee primary election stories

We all were outraged last December when the news circulated about the victimized then-freshman basketball player at Ooltewah High School.

It made us ashamed. And angry. And, at the time, motivated.

Well, motivated to a point, apparently.

Amid the outrage and the finger-pointing - there were a multitude of issues before the Hamilton County Department of Education ranging from test scores to facilities - we are left with some startling realities.

Yes, the four Board of Education races yielded three new faces - incumbent Rhonda Thurman rolled in District 1 - and with that comes the hope for something new.

Will new be better? Let's hope so. The first step will assuredly be finding a new superintendent, an education hero who will arrive with a clean slate. Simply put, a trio of new board members running on a platform of change hardly could support the status quo in our search for new leadership, right?

Let's hope not.

Secondly, for all the outrage and indignation, the voters of Hamilton County were apparently happy to be sideline screamers rather than active participants.

There were a touch more than 13,000 votes cast in the four races for the school board. If that number seems low, it's because it is low. That's down almost one-third from the votes cast four years ago in those races.

So our volume, as a community, from December through August was replaced with our apathy come voting day.

So it goes, I guess. But know this: You can have as many opinions as you want, and they can be as passionate as possible, but if you skipped Thursday's election, you forfeited your true voice.

Fountain of youth

When I voted Thursday, it became quite apparent that voting is not a young man's business.

Walking through the parking lot of our polling place, I was by far the youngest in sight.

And remember, I'm 45.

That got me thinking, what are the five places that a 45-year-old person feels like a teenager because of his surroundings?

* Your voting site. Clearly.

* Any bingo game anywhere. In fact, we went to a Knights of Columbus bingo game many years ago, and the level of seriousness from the ladies there bounced somewhere between SAT tests and a job interview.

* The 8 a.m. Sunday service. This is not the Karaoke Church or the Dance-Party Church. This is the formal doings bright and early come Sunday. Yes, there may be only, say, 15 people there. But those 15 are likely providing 60 percent of the offerings, and well, thanks and God bless.

* Mount Vernon Restaurant at 4 p.m.

* The Chattanooga Symphony. Hey, they do good work, and this is just another example that with age comes wisdom and better choices.

What will he say next?

On the other end of wisdom is the next controversy in which Donald Trump has found himself.

This one involved getting into an argument with the parents of a soldier who was killed in the line of duty.


Side note: Save the rationalizations about the Khans.

This is a question of politics and history.

Simply put, we have never been in an election like this.

With that in mind, what extreme would it take for you to be truly surprised by the next Trump fiasco?

He's made fun of women. Of fat people. Of a handicapped reporter.

This week, he told a baby to shut up and mentioned his daughter Ivanka as a likely member of his cabinet. Egad.

So what could be next?

Making former Baylor University football Coach Art Briles in charge of Title IX reform? Asking Billy Long to run the FBI? Turning to Bernie Madoff to run the Treasury? (well, that last one, considering Barack Obama has generated a $19-trillion-and-growing debt, well, maybe that would not be so far-fetched all things considered.)

No, there's no way that could happen and someone could be considered a presidential candidate. Wait

Saturday's star

To all of you who voted, this is a starting point.

From there, we'll go to all of the winners on Thursday. Thank you for the commitment to serve and accept the good and bad of public office. (And to your families we also say thanks, because this a complete sacrifice across the entire dinner table, whether it's on Bonny Oaks or in D.C.)

Also, thanks to those who ran and did not win. Our political process only works with choices and debate, and there was a wealth of choices.

For one in particular, we'll say thanks for your efforts, Doc. You were better than most knew.

Contact Jay Greeson at and 423-757-6343. His "Right to the Point" column runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on A2.

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