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Moody’s warning to NIC should not be ignored

| January 24, 2023 1:00 AM

I am a current, lifelong Bonner County resident. A year ago, I started taking online classes at a community college, aiming for a four-year degree. I work full-time and pay for my classes out of pocket. It is a lot of work but also very rewarding. Thankfully, I made a smart choice and went with the College of Western Idaho instead of NIC.

Unlike NIC, CWI survived an attempted far-right, anti-woke coup, and the credits I get there are going to count no matter where I choose to finish my degree. While none of the professors I’ve had have expressed any overt social or political agendas, it wouldn’t matter if they had. I am way too old for anyone’s intentions to change mine. I could get a degree in Critical Race Theory and it wouldn’t change how I view the world. I could take classes from a female German shepherd that identifies as a male chocolate lab and neither my sexuality nor my view of gender norms would change.

Most of the students I’ve interacted with at CWI have been older, non-traditional students who, like me, are back in school because they enjoy it and not because they are 18 and trying to get a toehold on life. But regardless of any student’s age or reason for being in school, it takes commitment. While people can take classes on morality, their own moral sensibilities are unlikely to change. Being in school is about getting that piece of paper.

When I imagine taking classes at NIC, setting aside the time, spending the money and doing the work, I am both saddened and entertained by the ongoing train wreck there. Saddened because they are undoubtedly turning students away. And entertained to watch the unfolding drama of the adolescent, “hold my beer” energy brought by the unqualified anti-intellectual fundamentalists currently on the NIC board.

The last several years have been far-right America’s “hold my beer” moment. It’s too bad that defunding emergency rooms is part of their agenda, but then again, maybe this is how they really learn about the business of government. The Bonner County commissioners are just as insane as the NIC board of directors, who are just as insane as the MAGA brand of congressional figures who are about to destroy the Republican party. They get elected by opposing regulations on business, and then expect everyone to agree with the restrictions on personal freedom they think will protect us from, uh, from … well whatever it is they’re afraid of. Remember when Antifa was going to invade Bonner County? Not many people spend time so scared of shadows as that.

Americans, no matter how they choose to spend their time, have an expectation of and a right to functional government. I’ll heartily agree with anyone who complains of the ways in which both parties fail us. And, like most Americans, I know that morality is not and can not be the business of government. When people who hate choice are given the reins, it is inevitable that the business of governance will fail. Moody’s investment rating service is as pro-business as any institution in America. Business has to do with the bottom line, and not what people do in their own time.

When zealots get behind the wheel, I’ll hold their beers. I will enjoy watching the fails. Have you ever seen the Darwin awards? They’re hilarious. But what’s happening at NIC is a tragedy.

JON WALDRUP

Sandpoint

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