A woman with a clearly marked 'Census Bureau' vest keeps taking short cuts through my yard to get to the coach house behind my neighbor's house. The occupants must be ducking her because she keeps coming back. My kids call me and say, "There's someone in our yard." She kind of bothers me but I keep it in perspective; the Census Bureau has hired people, part-time, and they don't need much training or previous experience.
Which is an apt segue to the woman in the ammo vest who also seems to be hanging around in my backyard: Sarah Palin. Recently she spoke out in criticism about my town, Highland Park, Illinois, and the recent decision by the High School District to keep the girls basketball team out of an Arizona tournament. They are boycotting Arizona due to its controversial new laws that, most agree, amount to racial profiling. According the district, "The decision to not approve the request to participate in the Arizona event . . . is a strong reflection of the school district's respect for every member of our community."
Palin, special correspondent for Fox news, past incomplete term governor of Alaska, with little training or much previous experience for any of her roles (and apparently suffering from an inability to say 'ing' at the end of words like 'keepin' or 'fightin') wants the girls to 'go rogue'. Is she suggesting that the high school girls take off on their own, ignoring the school district and, what, hitchhike to Arizona? Her response doesn't take into account that several of the girls themselves spoke in favor of the decision and they'll use their 'bake sale money' to play in a tournament in Florida instead; no foul there.
Palin also doesn't realize that Highland Park has also been in the news for similar issues in 2000 when Jesse Jackson was the spokesperson accusing our police of racial profiling. In a proactive stance of accountability, then Highland Park Mayor Daniel Pierce took the accusations seriously and made an agreement with the ACLU for the city to put itself on probation to make sure that racial profiling was not happening, instituting a series of measures to assure fairness. The Hightland Park Legal Counsel of the day, Steven Elrod, said to the world, 'You watch. We'll make you proud'.
As far as this issue goes, Flailin' Palin, we're keeping our word; this move is consistent with the standards this small town is willing to live by and one of the reasons I'm proud to live here. We are America's town and much of the world knows us as the background for movies like Ordinary People, Risky Business, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and a few other John Hughes' films. We're a small, 'boutique city', with great civic pride, a thriving community with a diverse population and are forward thinking in our ways. You're not needed here, Sarah Barracuda, we've got a full roster of players, so 'stay out of my backyard' and stop encouraging teen girls to 'go rogue'; how irresponsible is that?
And stop blaming our Illinoisan president for all the country's ills while you're at it. You keep saying that Arizona wouldn't have to put tougher restrictions in place if President Obama did his job re stopping illegal immigrants. What did the last administration do in eight years to solve Arizona's problem that the present administration could do in two? Maybe if we didn't have to fight so hard to pass a health care reform bill we'd have been able to move on to the next issues on the agenda.
And while you're 'Flailin' and 'fightin' you could tell Arizona lawmakers that Highland Park has clubs that focus on and promote one particular ethnic group; like Elm Place School's French Club. We can't have them 'conversin' and 'talkin' in French only during an immersion weekend, can we? And the synagogue has classes in Hebrew, a lot of Jews here you know, and I know a lot of them weren't born here! There are teachers here with foreign accents and I just heard a linguistics professor with a non American accent -- would he be able to teach in Arizona? He was born in England and educated in Oxford, but he had a noticeable and pronounced accent!
So go rogue, Sarah Palin, but go rogue against BP, not HP.
And stay out of my back yard!
Follow James M. Lynch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JamesLynchCoach