One can, and should, advocate for many causes, big and small. It’s not necessary to pick merely one, as though advocacy for a strong national defense, for example, somehow precludes advocacy for the benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
When, however, steadfast advocacy on major points is weak or absent, advocacy on lesser matters assumes a regrettable character: time spent on the smaller topics only reveals the tepid effort on greater matters.
One reads that Whitewater’s school superintendent writes to thank others for their support of artificial turf for the district’s main athletic field:
Our future facilities will be used with pride by our students and our community. This project will benefit our community for years to come. Thank you for your advocacy and support for the Whitewater Unified School District.
One can believe in the value of athletics – as I do – and yet find this superintendent’s remarks revealing of a misplaced priority.
A greater responsibility of this superintendent, and of this district’s Central Office administration, surely rests with advocacy for sound concepts and data, daily enforcement against harassment of those who support accepted protocols, and a willingness to speak confidently and at length in support of sensible administration proposals.
Yielding quickly to those who ridicule scientific consensus, and to those who denigrate professional expertise, is no advocacy in defense of Whitewater’s schools. It’s simply acquiescence to an overwrought horde. Every outward example of retreat from a confident, dogged defense of sound reasoning only invites further trespasses.
It’s a good idea to support athletics, or more precisely in this case, to acknowledge at least others’ support of athletics.
There are, however, important academic principles also deserving of a strong exposition. It is in defense of those principles that a school district’s administration should first, foremost, and persistently direct its own advocacy.