McGill -- hopefully no relation to the McGill families of our own state -- illustrates the wisdom that elections have consequences. When we elect people who have no business holding Constitutional authority in their hands, this is what we get.
State Sen. Shadrack McGill defended a pay raise his predecessors in the Legislature passed, but said doubling teacher pay could lead to less-qualified educators.
McGill, R-Woodville, said a 62 percent pay raise in 2007 - passed first by a controversial voice vote and later in an override of a veto by then-Gov. Bob Riley - better rewards lawmakers and makes them less susceptible to being swayed by lobbyists.
To be clear, this is a real state legislator in Alabama who defended a pay raise to Alabama's state legislators, but who has now said that paying teachers a higher salary violates Biblical principles.
Come, and listen closely to this man. What he has said in Alabama is sure to be said in South Carolina, probably pretty soon.
Lawmakers entered the 2007 legislative session making $30,710 a year, a rate that had not been changed in 16 years. The raise increased it to $49,500 annually.
"That played into the corruption, guys, big time," he said. "You had your higher-ranking legislators that were connected with the lobbyists making up in the millions of dollars. They weren't worried about that $30,000 paid salary they were getting," McGill said, adding that lawmakers have to pay for their expenses out of pocket.
McGill said that by paying legislators more, they're less susceptible to taking bribes.
"He needs to make enough that he can say no, in regards to temptation. ... Teachers need to make the money that they need to make. There needs to be a balance there. If you double what you're paying education, you know what's going to happen? I've heard the comment many times, ‘Well, the quality of education's going to go up.' That's never proven to happen, guys.
"It's a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher's pay scale, you'll attract people who aren't called to teach.
Notice that he doesn't say that raising legislative salaries will attract people who aren't "called" to serve in elective office. He reserves this imaginary violation of Biblical principle for teachers, and teachers alone.
And, if anyone is familiar with Scripture that describes this principle, please cite it for me below.
"To go in and raise someone's child for eight hours a day, or many people's children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn't want to do it, OK?
How about this: To "go in" and wield Constitutional authority to raise necessary revenues to fully fund a state's essential obligations and institutions requires intelligence, integrity, discernment and wisdom -- some of the same qualities we hope to find in our education professionals. People who don't have these basic qualities ought not seek to teach OR to serve in public office.
"And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It's just in them to do. It's the ability that God give 'em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn't matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.
Perhaps it's likely that some Alabama lawmakers might perform their duties with integrity and honesty, regardless of the degrading influence of evil lobbyists, without a substantially higher salary, simply because they are people of principle. Since Alabama's lawmakers found it necessary to raise their own salaries -- in an attempt to ward off those bad influences -- maybe they didn't feel strong enough about their principles to perform to standard.
"If you don't keep that in balance, you're going to attract people who are not called, who don't need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance."
Quite right, just as the promise of power attracts people into public service who aren't equipped and qualified, and who don't need to be serving in public office and holding Constitutional authority.
It IS a balance: There are bright lawmakers, and there are dim lawmakers. Sometimes the bright ones hold a legislative majority, and sometimes the dim ones do. Here's hoping the pendulum swings quickly, before real and lasting damage can be done.