Reader Hal Davis forwarded me this column from a Hartford newspaper. Colin McEnroe is writing about a Connecticut court case, but he's also writing about every poor school child in the country.
I've decided that Sheff v. O'Neill is not really a legal case and that none of [the] settlements or proposed forms of redress will ever work, unless we change. It's a moral case. It makes a moral argument. The problem is that we don't listen to moral arguments anymore, so you've got to dress them up as lawsuits.The thing that broke down worst of all was us -- the people with hope and resources -- and our supposed Judeo-Christian values. Those values are unambiguous about what we're supposed be be doing for others who are poor, who are sick, who are helpless. We can do it through our churches or through Boys' and Girls' Clubs or Big Brothers Big Sisters or through some other mentoring or intervention. But we're supposed to do it. Those values are supposed to be the spine of this country.
But if we lived them -- even just a little -- there would have been no compelling case to make in Sheff v. O'Neill, because each of use [sic] would have identified those children as our moral responsibility, a long time ago.
School choice doesn't quite get at the kids McEnroe cites, mired in "experiential poverty," who "have never been to a movie theater or ridden a pony" or spoken to someone who has noticed their unique gifts.
Liberals have been taking a drubbing lately for making moral arguments instead of economic ones or Constitutionally principled ones.
McEnroe's piece calls us to remember the moral case for our communities and our governments.