The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2008

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Social Phenomena: We Need Each Other

by JC Bowman

I have struggled to find words to write this month. I am still very much bothered by recent events surrounding this newspaper, from some of the emails and telephone calls so are some of you. Many well wishing people have encouraged me to quit my column or write for another paper. I am loyal to my friend Pete Edwards, even though I disagree with him on publishing everything any columnist writes. I do recognize that deciding content of the paper is clearly his job. All I do is contribute an article. My readers will let me know when it is time to quit.

The People News
was a gift to the community, predicated upon one concept: free speech. When you believe in free speech for one, you must believe in free speech for all. That theory creates problems in reality from time to time. It is true some people cannot tame their own tongue or merely like to see their name in print. While I may be sympathetic to poorly chosen words having spoken or penned them myself, I am also human. It is difficult to explain comments or actions made by a person one does not know or even agree with, based upon the principle of free speech alone.  It is my hope that any short-term controversy leads to long-term community change. We live in a community made up of different people, different ideas, different religions and different races. Yet we are no different than many other communities around the world. It is the actions we take that will set us apart or inevitably destroy us. We struggle, but we struggle together. I would hope our community would afford citizens lives that are more fulfilling and satisfying based upon our unique Christian heritage. In our pursuit of that faith, we all have shortcomings, and we often fail in our search for a deeper more transformative life. At times we seek clarity at the expense of truth. The lives we live then never reach the potential our creator designed us for and imagined for us. Yet I still believe we need to surround ourselves with those who are compassionate and can inspire us to see beyond our own lives. We must be willing to stretch our faith, knowing there are times it will be difficult, if not impossible. It is time we start reaching out of comfort zones politically, spiritually, economically, educationally, emotionally and physically. We need to widen our circle, bring in new friends who may not be cookie cutter images of ourselves. I do not engage in class

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



warfare, but I have witnessed a greater separation between the haves and have-nots in our community. It is a schism that will probably grow wider in the next decade. I may admire my neighbor's belongings, but I don't covet them. I realize in the end it will be left up to me to do my part.

In the ongoing war against Christianity, fought in the pursuit of secularization in America, we have seemingly lost the spirit of our Protestant work ethic. The founding fathers and most of our leaders understood that the point of capitalism was to attach moral importance to entrepreneurial activity and lend meaning to the magnitude of our work and our lives. These early leaders would never comprehend our pursuit of leisure and willingness to overpay to be entertained in our country.

It is said that the next generation of Americans will be the first generation to expect less than the previous generation. Let me explain that statement carefully. Your children will have less than you have.  We are leaving our children financially strapped economically as a country. We are boxing them in politically around the globe. We are less secure militarily. We alone are the world's last superpower, but India and China are quickly becoming a threat economically. India has become a technological giant. China has become an economic giant. How much longer can we hold on to the role of superpower?

We must recognize as humans created in the image of God we need each other to survive.  This is true, not just in our own individual journey of life, but our corporate

journey as a country as well. We must truly become a colorblind society. We must move our community to a post-racial world. This means we must shatter the class ceiling in industry, government and in our own hearts that limit people of a different color from advancing beyond a certain point. Our survival depends on it. We need the people with knowledge and character to step to the forefront, no matter the color of their skin.

Tennessee is the fifth most populous state in America for African-Americans. You do not have to travel far to find black people. I know this message is not popular at 800 South Lee Highway, but I must ask once again why are our schools so woefully unstaffed with African-American teachers? Why is there no African American or other minority administrators? I personally cannot recall one person of African descent ever being employed at the Bradley County Schools Central Office. Not one. I hope the new Director of Schools addresses the issue of veiled racism head on. Some of my favorite teachers Helen Miller, Ron Hill, Belinda Henley helped instill a love of my country through their passionate advocacy of American History. They were also African-American.

I recently asked School Board member Christy Critchfield by email to explain to me why no minority candidates were considered for the recent Director of Schools opening? I asked her point blank: "How many minority teachers are in our system? How many minority administrators? How many minority employees at the Central Office? If one of your responsibilities as a member of the Board of Education is to do the best thing for our school system as a whole, why are minority applicants not being sought for our community?" She never responded to those questions. Perhaps someone else should ask her or her colleagues, don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. Our children need to see people who look like them in our schools and classrooms. Not merely on the lower end of the employment opportunity, but on the upper echelon of jobs as well. It is time to not only break, but destroy any color barrier that may still exist as we move our community forward. We must unite for the sake of our children; to give them a world as wonderful as the one we ourselves were handed.

We must also revisit our immigration policies. The racial overtones that dominate the discussion of immigration, is still often nothing more than expansion of discrimination. Yes, we must be careful who enters and stays in our country. Rules should be established that are applicable and applied to all. We cannot let the job demand, out strip the job supply. But we must remember immigrants built our country. This includes my immigrant relatives, as well as yours. I have Native-American ancestors, but they too migrated here at some point. It is a beautiful mosaic that we have weaved, even if the construction was unpleasant, by the many people of different cultures who created this great country. We must visualize a larger picture of America, with a bright future of prosperity and peace. A land where our citizens are not afraid to sacrifice to maintain and people of other nations desire to be part of the dream that is America. That is a legacy we must leave our children. Some of the words that were regularly shared from my friend Toneeke Henderson challenged us to make the choice to see that beauty in others, which strengthens our lives and focuses us to a higher level of spiritual awareness, especially so that we may help others. I shall miss Toneeke's writing tremendously. The truth is I would rather read her words here than my own. One of her favorite inspirational poem's Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is about attaining happiness in life. It ends, "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Toneeke would tell us to dance naked under the moonlight where ever you can. I laughed at the thought of some people dancing, and some people being naked. But it made me laugh. Now the words are easy again, thank you Toneeke.

Happy Mother's Day to all women!
Especially those women who made the decision to have a child, because as we know all mothers are working mothers and some children are more work than others.    No matter how poor a woman is economically, if she has children she is rich.  Remember that mom. 

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
He can be reached by email at:

Visit his website at: