Commentary by Eugene Paslov: A disappointed Nevada mom
For the Nevada Appeal
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day. She was diligently working at her desk on one of numerous projects she is juggling to complete. I made a casual comment about the apparent lack of progress between the governor, the Republicans and the Democrats in the Legislature to solve the state’s budget problems. I lit a fuse.
My friend is a mother with three grown children at the University of Nevada, Reno, a life-long, dedicated Nevadan and an employee who has worked in both the public and private sectors with great skill and success. She was angry. No, disappointed, madder than hell.
She informed me that she had taught her children “to mind their tone.” She reminded her children when they were young that “tone” was the key to success. One spoke with clarity, compassion and understanding. “Tone” in listening was also important. You had to listen carefully, understand, and offer suggestions with respect. When her children misbehaved, it almost always had to do with some violation of her rules about “tone.” She would assign them to “a time-out” corner until they reconsidered the “tone” that got them into trouble.
Today, her three children, two boys and a girl, (all at UNR), are somewhat uncertain what the future holds for them with the draconian cuts taking place because of “atonal” Republicans and our governor.
My friend, hard working and struggling to keep her children in college, is disappointed because the political system is not working. She believes that the institutions that are so critical to the State – K-12 schools and the university system – are being eviscerated because policy makers are unwilling to talk respectfully and negotiate carefully. They appear to be atonal, like spoiled children. This Nevada mom is also concerned that if her children can’t finish their university work, unable to find good paying careers in Nevada, they will have to leave the state. Both mom and dad will also probably leave if that happens. It is the potential uprooting and systematic destruction of a way of life she loves that so infuriates my friend. She is disappointed and afraid.
There are many other Nevada moms and dads who have similar feelings, but are reluctant to say anything. There is an atmosphere of fear in our community. Those in power (and their supporters) don’t like criticism; they attack anyone who questions their ideology. Not healthy.
Like my friend when her children misbehaved, I suggest a “time-out” corner for our atonal politicians until they can be respectful, compromise, and find workable, substantive “tonal” solutions. Time is short and many Nevadans are disappointed, fearful of becoming a third-world state.
• Eugene T. Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools..