A Changing America and the LHSAA Split: A Copied Facebook Note

by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 2:39pm ·
This is going to be another of my more rambling sorts of Facebook Notes. There are always so many things that one could blog about. These note do become blog posts and are in exxence blog posts here on my Facebook profile. I really couls do a post ont new immigration policy and on the confirmation of John Kerry. There is nothing about my life which is preventing me from doing a long blog on my personal life and the extreme anti-climax of my efforts to make a change which began in earnest in August. I could of course wotk the theme of splitting into those events as well. Splitting and joining are constantly happening in sexual relations, cell reproduction, stocks and forms of ownership. However, I am not going to dea with quite such a wide net or use quite such a broad canvas. An odd sort of encyclopedia could no doubt be written and organized around that double principle. This will be a rambling roundup sort of piece but not one devoid of all structure. The bulk of the note is about a handful of topics.

I am going to discuss the Civil War and related topics as they have been portrayed, studied and depicted into various communications and artistic media of out current and what they have to say about splittling the USA back in the middle of the nineteenth century. I will briefly discusss Hillary Clinton’s split with the Obama administration. Also my attention will turn to tthe national divide over abortion. But my Note will center on the recent split of the High school football playoff system in the State of Louisiana. Somewhere in all that I will discuss some splitting in my own life past, present and future. What this them has to do with the life and society my readers experience remains to be seen.

I think that the real possible advantage to the new playoff system is that perhaps the charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, parochial schools and various academies in the state will form more real and significant bonds. Meanwhile the public schools are already joined by many bonds of administration, funding, standards and hundreds of other things. Thus this may be a way for the select public schools to act as a bridge while maintaining the distinct quality of both the public and the private schools. In my view that could be a very good result. However, the great advantage to the current system is that while all types of schools are different from one another in many ways they all meet in equal contests based on the number of students enrolled and this unites the students and preserves a since of the larger society. However, the changes are coming about because of the injustice of the current system and not my view of a possible benefit in bridging distinct classes of autonomous schools. Schools that cannot recruit face schools that can and believe it is impossible for them to compete at the highest levels. The topfew recruiters are the most dominant schools of that type on the gridiron. The new system will end that fundamental difference between people expected to meet in contest on the field.

I have mixed feelings about a change in the high school football structure of competition in my home state of Louisiana. The Louisiana schools will be divided now into two groups. The largest group of schools will be public schools which receive less than 25% of their students from any admission system other than territorial lines. The other group will include all schools that are not public schools and all public shools which receive 25% or more of their students from an enrollment system outside of the resdents of their territorial enrollment site. In Louisiana many small Catholic and other private schools recruit very little if at all and draw from their own civil parishes almost entirely. These divisions which are like the counties of other states are also the basis of most school districts and school board regions of operation in the state. This is not the only issue involved however.

I used to work at The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette. I wrote sports there and my supervisor was Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Foote. He and I worked briefly together on the Vermilion when we attended USL, which is now UL, as well. He has written an interesting editorial about the splitting of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. I realize this does not have the relevance to the lives of many of my readers that it might to the average reader of he Daily Advertiser. But I do think it is important. It is part of the evolution of America. Here is a link to Kevin’s article: http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20130126/HSSPORTS/301260328/Make-splitting-headache?nclick_check=1 If the link does not work in this text you should be able to past it into your browser.

Splitting is part of the human condition. The political and organizational processes of lumping together and splitting apart are crude and limited portions of the larger forces which we saw joining and dividing everything around the universe. There is no question that the LHSAA was a unique part of the overall complex of institutions in the state where things are usually pretty well divided between private schools and public schools. I am hoping to split from here myself. It is hard for public schools which rely only on students from their districts to compete with schools which draw athletes from all over. There are a few schools like perhaps John Curtis and Evangel and mostly Evangel which really recruit a great deal and have done so with no effort to make it palatable to anyone else. However, these are not simple questions and challenges.

I favor a vast amount of reshuffling and rearranging which would involve all kinds of splitting. In time this will become even less likely than it is now. Unless of course that great reshuffling should occur soon. In my own life the splitting away from particular people and places has been a big theme because of all the traveling that I have done. The splitting apart of my marriage was certainly a major and mostly bad event and process. But splitting from one situation has inevitably led to new opportunites and new eventualities that I could not experience before or during some new division. For me there is a limited value in lessons from my own life because in many ways my life has brought me to a position far worse than any of the difficult situation that I overcame in my life’s journey to reach this point. Yet I have achieved a lot of good things I could not have achieved without the various breakups along life’s path.

I saw Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s joint interview with Steve Croft. It seemed to me that they had worked a hard road together in pursuit of Democratic Party unity. That long path of transcending conflict, seeking opportunity for collaboration and other such things had certainly had mixed results from every point of view and now they are leaving that behind. They made it clear that they are not renouncing it and aremerely moving to the next chapter. But the fact remains that Obama will be in office for four more years and Kerry or someone else will be Secretary of State and not Clinton. Despite the fact that she had seemed very likely to leave before Benghazi some will say she was fired over that crisis or quit because of it.

Sometimes people and paths forward simply divide. The film Lincoln is set in the period at the end of Lincoln’s life but it reviews the factors that led to the split of the Union in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s. This is a pretty good and thoughtful movie overall. The neo-gothic festival of violence which is Django Unchained deals with many of the same issues as Lincoln but does little to discuss growing sectional conflict prior to the war between the States. Both of these films are vastly more realistic in tone than the mash-up Abraham Lincon Vampire Slayer which was taken as a kind of emotional truth by some in its audience. These films are more than the number usually available for audiences seeking to make sense of the greatest of several divisions in America and her history.

Obama had spoken much about unifying the nation in his first campaign. Perhaps it is as divided as ever in my lifetime. The March for Life in Washington DC is as little understood as ever by many and so are a good number of bills and social proposals which are excoriated in one state and well-loved in another. Federalism is a system which allows diverse and different people to interact well. Sometimes it has to be retuned and reconfigured. I have proposed that sort of thing for the country and the LHSAA has proposed it for its member schools.

There are good reasons to be concerned about what the bad effects could be of isolating Catholic schools and public shools from one another in Acadiana. If that is the effect it will be an unfortunate one. But I think there can be a good outcome as well. In my life I have proposed many changes to the way the country is governed and they connect with my own sense of discontent and alienation in a number of ways. They are not likely to be adopted but the problems they address are real enough. It is also true that the problems the LHSAA seeks to address are real enough. Sometimes we have to split things apart to make them both better. Often that does not work out as well as people would have hoped. But it is a reasonable strategy.
We need to recognize when such divisions are unavoidable. I have realized that I could probably do better to leave but that I may not have another departure in me. I have given far more than I could afford to this social context in which I fund so little nourishment now. The internal split has occurred and there may nbot be the right energies for the other split to come off well.

America today may see many more calls for divisions. Many states have active petitions for Secession from the Union. Although such action is unlikely the call will have some effect. People will be trying to find separate structures that are not vulnerable to what they see as a bad central force. We all have our views about what kinds of splitting are useful. I find that there are a vast number of divides between me and many others which I had hoped to avoid until they happened. However, while I may remember a life in which I often sought unity that is not all I sought. Like many others I sought individual and group autonomy. I have sought justice and liberty.

The schools in the LHSAA are mostly defined by what is built in schools and small groups of schools. That is good. Most of the schools have ties to to other schools not in the LHSAA. However, they have found a need to divide themselves as regards an important function. They cannot walk together as they have and as they seem to liley to do without change. I hope the USA will not split apart again and even more that it will not do so in my lifetime. I have not trouble saying that and honoring the Confederate legacy. The issues are different and the history is different now. In addition, the CSA was more or less a last resort. However, the LHSAA has found a way to hold together by dividing a part of itself in a certain way. I think that America will need to make some new divisions in the next twenty years or else either the UNION as unity or the UNION as society witll fail. In my model constitutions I have proposed some changes. But other changes may occur. The current state of affairs is getting less and less tenable.

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