Once upon a time I thought we might generate a weekly TAL thread, but the fact is that most of the time the show just doesn’t stick with me. I usually enjoy at least half of it, but I don’t usually find myself thinking about the show for long after I’m done with it.
This one was challenging, fascinating, a bit disturbing (on a couple of levels), and seemingly (to me, at least) as fairly reported as it could be.
The episode page is here. In short, it’s the story of the East Ramapo, NY school board in the recent past. The community has had a large influx of Hassidic Jewish residents, most of whom send their children to yeshivas instead of the public schools. For various reasons, mostly seeming to be an unwillingness to pay increased property taxes for services they weren’t using (the public schools), the Hassidim begin to vote en bloc for Hassidic school board candidates until they have a majority on the board, at which point they begin cutting services to the public schools. Hilarity ensues.
I’m still not sure what to make of this. The school board members really don’t look good in this piece. I’m a firm believer in the social contract - that just because you don’t avail yourself of a particular government service doesn’t mean you get to opt out of it. On the other hand, this is kind of the way democracy works. A majority of the community voted for each of these school board members seemingly fair and square.
I won’t get into the attorneys the school board hires. Assholes through and through.
The school board members really lost me with their invoking of Nazi imagery and memories of the Holocaust in “defending” themselves against their critics.
Unfortunately, that’s also where I got uncomfortable for other reasons. I had a knee-jerk dislike of everyone on that side of the issue from that point forward, and I was forced to question whether there wasn’t a bit of anti-Semitism in my reaction. Was I just thinking, “Oh, there go the Jews again, bringing up the Holocaust?” I don’t think so; I think I just don’t like those particular Jews. Not because they are Jews, but because they seem like assholes. I still don’t like that my head went there at all.
Anyway, did anyone else listen to this episode? Thoughts? Comments? Anyone here actually from East Ramapo that can shed additional light on the matter?