MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It is unfortunate for Alabama's image that presidential candidate Donald Trump chose this state to show that he does not have the insight or demeanor to handle power.
The national spotlight focused on Alabama again with negative racial overtones when a black protestor at a Trump political rally in Birmingham was attacked by white Trump "fans" -- his word, not mine -- as Trump urged them to "get him the hell out of here," according to CNN.
Trump's action tiptoes along the edge of inciting violence against an individual. But it was his statement the next day that shows Trump really doesn't get it when it comes to the right to protest that is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Trump said on a national news show when asked about the incident: "I don't know. Rough up? Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing."
It's hard to see how that comment can be construed any other way than condoning a vicious attack that included punches and kicks.
This incident -- coupled with Trump's over-the-top reaction to a conservative commentator daring to ask him tough questions and his history of verbal attacks against people who disagree with him -- raise the very serious question of whether Trump is too thin-skinned to be trusted with power.
As president, Trump would be one of the world's most powerful individuals. Would Trump sic the IRS on American citizens who dared to disagree with his policies? Would he send in the U.S. Marines against a nation whose president chose to criticize his hair? (Believe me, if he were to be elected some foreign leader would not be able to resist the temptation to make fun of his hair.)
OK, I'm joking a little here. But I'm not joking when I say that all voters (not fans; voters -- calling voters "fans" demeans their importance in a democracy) should ask themselves these questions before deciding to support any candidate for president: "Is this candidate someone I trust not to abuse the power that comes with the office? Is it someone who has the wisdom and self-control to be trusted with power that can crush individuals or bring the world to the brink of war?"
Wisdom and self-control don't seem to be attributes that one would readily associate with the blustering and bullying Trump.
Ethics Commission improves horrible opinion
In August, the Alabama Ethics Commission issued an opinion that if upheld by the courts, would have given the green light to special interest lobbies to hire legislators to lobby for whatever causes the special interests supported.
If that opinion had prevailed, it would have allowed a lawmaker to hang out a "Legislator for Sale" sign.
The opinion was so flawed that House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, used it in court to defend the actions which caused him to be indicted.
Attorney General Luther Strange and District Attorneys Association President Scott Anderson wrote to the commission: "After careful review of this opinion, which practically permits an interest group to pay a legislator to lobby the legislature and state and local governments, we find the Ethics Commission analysis to be fatally flawed and ask the Ethics Commission to withdraw and reconsider this opinion."
To their credit, the commissioners revised the opinion, which now states that a public official cannot be paid to promote the passage or defeat of legislation before any legislative body.
'Best Elementary Schools' are in just six communities
Niche, a website that focuses on neighborhood school quality, recently released a list of what it considers the 20 best elementary schools in Alabama. But if you're a parent who doesn't live in Mountain Brook, Homewood, Madison, Hoover, Auburn or Vestavia Hills, don't bother checking to see if your child's school made the list.
All of the top 20 elementary schools on the list -- in fact, all of the top 35 on the expanded list -- were in one of those six communities.
Montgomery County had no elementary schools on the list of the top 100 in the state, but it can take some solace in the fact that the No. 1 public high school in Alabama on a similar list compiled by Niche was Loveless Academic Magnet High School.
Niche says of its list: "We believe that the quality of a school or district should be measured, at least in part, by the parents and students who actually go there. They should also be measured by hard data and across a number of key factors so that no one factor dominates a ranking. Most importantly, they should be measured by their results. The most unique thing about our rankings is that they incorporate student outcomes."
According to Niche, the top 20 public elementary schools in Alabama are:
1. Cherokee Bend Elementary School (Mountain Brook)
2. Shades Cahaba Elementary School (Homewood)
3. Crestline Elementary School (Mountain Brook)
4. Brookwood Forest Elementary School (Mountain Brook)
5. Edgewood Elementary School (Homewood)
6. Mountain Brook Elementary School (Mountain Brook)
7. Madison Elementary School (Madison)
8. Cary Woods Elementary School (Auburn)
9. Mill Creek Elementary School (Madison)
10. Hall Kent Elementary School (Homewood)
11. West Madison Elementary School (Madison)
12. Green Valley Elementary School (Hoover)
13. Rainbow Elementary School (Madison)
14. Dean Road Elementary School (Auburn)
15. Heritage Elementary School (Madison)
16. Horizon Elementary School (Madison)
17. Deer Valley Elementary School (Hoover)
18. Ogletree School (Auburn)
19. Liberty Park Elementary School (Vestavia Hills)
20. Columbia Elementary School (Madison)
To see all schools, go to: https://k12.niche.com/
Ken Hare was a veteran newspaper editorial writer and editorial page editor who now writes a regular column for wsfa.com. Feedback appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org.