Paul Greenberg

The best idea some public officials ever have is to resign, effective immediately. See Richard Nixon, 1974. Resignation remains the sincerest form of apology. You don't have to be president of the United States to realize it. Resignation can even become a member of a city council. Or of a school board.

Which brings me to the poor sap who just resigned from the board of a small school district here in Arkansas.

His problem? He'd posted one loathsome comment after another on, of course, his Facebook page. Like an instantaneous, written confession. The subject of his ire was homosexuals, but the principal victim of his outbursts turned out to be himself when his rants -- oops! -- attracted national attention. And a national reaction.

Why people so expose their ugliest sides to one and all in this internetted age mystifies me, but there was no doubt this guy's were ugly -- full of hate, name-calling ... the full quotient of vulgarities that mark the schoolyard bully. Only they came from a member of a school board -- someone responsible for the education and formation of the young and their character. If there's a single word to describe his posts, it would be Unacceptable. All the more so coming from a member of a school board.

There's no reason to repeat the poor slob's comments here. You've heard the names before. Nor is his name important; it's not worth much now anyway.

Suffice it to say that our Facebooking friend was promptly denounced, disowned and generally chastised by everybody, nationally and locally, from the embarrassed school district's superintendent to the Arkansas School Boards Association to the Human Rights Campaign. That last outfit tries to prevent suicides among teenage homosexuals -- one of the sadder wastes of human life in our all too wasteful society.

At last count, some 50,000 people had joined a Facebook site demanding that said miscreant quit the school board. He heard, he listened, he resigned. Nothing became his service on the school board so well as his ending it.

It was a relief to hear that he'd quit, raising hopes that he'd no longer trouble Arkansas' schools or its good name. Strangely enough, this misguided soul had described himself as a Christian in his posts. Isn't that the faith whose God is love?

This poor wretch really needs to sit down, pray about this, and maybe have a good long talk with a decent minister -- not the fire-and-brimstone kind who wants to cast first stones in all directions -- and go and sin no more. And be left alone to repent among whatever shards of his dignity may remain.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.