The CARTA bus that services Chattanooga State Community College travels north on Riverside Drive in 2019.

A reader asked a question about two parts of last Saturday's Right to the Point column.

How could I support free CARTA rides for students and staff to Chattanooga State, the reader wanted to know, but mock socialist Bernie Sanders within a few paragraphs of the same column?

A fair question that made me think, and it's one I am happy to answer.

Let's start big picture. Our inability to see the upside of a specific strategy to deal with a specific problem has deepened our political divide.

The issue here is being able to use current resources — the CARTA buses run those routes regardless, and considering the number of empty seats they normally have, CARTA has the capacity to be part of the solution to a chronic problem in our area.

The graduation rate at Chattanooga State is fewer than 1 in 5, and for Black students it's a smidge more than 1 in 20, according to

If offering transportation — again, transportation that is already running that way — improves those numbers and gets more of our young people prepared for better career opportunities, who would be against that?

But is this the dreaded "socialism" in the end? Not in my view.

Think of it this way: Bernie Sanders and his cohorts want to cancel student loans. That means John Q. Taxpayer — you and I — would be covering some dude with three degrees and a six-figure student loan debt because he was really into 18th-century French impressionists.

The CARTA rides maximize a current program in a new way to try to address a different problem.

The flexibility of using available options and being willing to try different approaches to get better results are the hallmarks of successful, modern-day leadership.

And, like true leadership in these times, we are in short supply of it.

It's a philosophical spin on the adage about achieving great things as long as we don't care who gets the credit.

Today, too many people are looking for credit — or worse, trying to find someone else to blame — rather than finding ways to be better.

And that may be our biggest issue of them all.

Contact Jay Greeson at

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Jay Greeson