Do you like ice cream?

Or is that a treat reserved for children?

Because grown folk in Portland, Oregon, love it.

Salt and Straw ice cream shop was a universal recommendation during a recent trip.

From my Delta seatmate, on his way home from grad school, to our Uber driver and even the barista at our groovy downtown hotel, we had to get to that ice cream shop.

Salt and Straw was the place to try, getting the nod over the equally famous Voodoo donuts, with their oddly named confections packed in rose-colored boxes.

However, Salt and Straw may be forced from their location.

The shop's owners are concerned for their staff, who've been held at gunpoint. And who've lost power to the block their building is in, because of a random RV fire.

Who cares? This isn't Portland!

We don't deal with their issues. Like the homeless, who live in neglected tents decorated with trash or were drugged up and tripped out, people stand in line just in front of you at Target.

You're right.

This isn't Portland, a place whose leaders refuse to deal with the destruction they've allowed—sending lofty businesses out of town. While others, like Columbia, are considering it.

This is Alabama.

And as it turns out, we're not that different from the city 2,570 miles from Montgomery.

Portland has her own set of ugly issues.

But so do we.

Ones that no one wants to handle.

Ones that seem too big because the will is too tiny or the fear too great.

And so, in Alabama, we are handled by what we won't.

For example;

We wring our hands about lobbyists in Montgomery.

And yet, there they are, co-chairing the Governor's inaugural day festivities.

Y'all did see the list, didn't you?

Now that Ivey has nothing to lose, she does not need to pay lip service to us about our values and how gloriously conservative our state is; we see clearly, don't we? We know whose calls she answers. We see whose emails she returns.

But who will handle that? Who has the will?

Or is that issue, like the homeless in tents, something we have to live with?

Or what about education?

Why won't we deal with that?

Indeed to goodness, something will happen this legislative session.

More than the blanket size, we will improve the education approach.

Which makes everyone feel good. And they say it every session.

But how will they do it if AEA is still in charge?

AKA, those people, including many of our own, who got juicy paychecks, ahem, campaign donations, this last go around.

So now, is it even worth a day trip to Montgomery to speak with our officials?

Or should we come with cash to put in some of our elected officials' pockets? Asking for a friend.

It's ironic.

These issues, from an ice cream shop's possible move in Portland to Montgomery, and lobbyists who still run the show, remind me of the classroom.

The one run by THAT kid.

Because that kid, the bully, is running the political show right now.

Do you remember that kid?

The one that ran their teacher ragged?

The one that no one wanted to deal with.

The one whose parents fixed everything for them. And couldn't imagine that their little dumpling was ever to blame.

The one that you, and everyone else who's honest, was a little afraid of?

And, whether it was you who saw it or you who experienced it, you know them.

You know who I'm talking about.

They were boisterous and demanding.

Remember when they eyed your tiny carton of Barber's chocolate milk, and you handed it over?

Because who knew what would happen in the bathroom or playground if you didn't?

Because right now, that kid, that bully, is in charge.

And despite the will of the people in Portland, they run the streets.

Sadly, they run Montgomery, too.

And right now, immediately, we need the teachers who dealt with those children back in the day.

We need teachers who didn't sweet-talk those kids into obedience.

We need teachers who refuse to play ball with the bullies.

That's us, of course.

We're the teachers of old.

We're the only ones who can help the citizens of our communities, whether it's Portland or Montgomery.

We're the only ones who can wrest power from the lobbyists.

We're the only ones who can fight for our children and their education.

We are the only ones who can handle what no one else will.

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].