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It's time to put the conspiracy theories, the rumors and half-truths, the innuendo and all the other distractions of the school board election away. On a near daily basis, these very same tidbits made their way through various channels to the ears of our citizens. Some of the recipients, not all, would accept these nuggets as fact, repeat them and never question what they had just heard. However, if some of what was drifting around on the air in the city is true in even the slightest measure, the majority of people in this town have no idea about the influence being wielded in such matters as this election and would be surprised if they knew. Actually, surprised is not accurate. Shocked is a better word. As a newspaper, we checked into the rumors and reported the ones that were either supported or debunked with facts. The rest were not reported because they could not be proven beyond anything other than what they were ... rumors.
But let's take a moment to get beyond all the accusations and dirty politics of the last few weeks and get to the real issue which is not who won or didn't win the election but how it ever got so out of hand in the first place. Clearly the voter turnout was high for a school election as indicated by the roughly 2,000 votes cast in both the Sept. 20 election and the subsequent runoff of Oct. 11. With that being said, the turnout was a mere 11.92 percent of eligible voters. In other words, 88.08 percent chose not to participate. What does this say about the overall perceived importance voters placed upon this particular race? It could mean several different things. It could mean that the great majority of people in this community do not pay attention to school board races. It could mean that the candidate choices were not appealing to voters so they opted out rather than choose between either option. It could mean that voters have only seen the outcomes of student tests and rankings rather than the people involved or not involved in bringing the outcomes to life and feel one had nothing to do with the other since education takes place in school buildings and not school board meetings. In any case and for whatever reason, the behind the scenes shenanigans and backroom deals worthy of Faustian glory are known to only the few who fashion themselves as chess masters moving their pawns across the board toward a goal of personal gain.
Thomas Jefferson once said, "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." This is not a statement of religious apathy nor does it relate to religion at all. It means to not merely accept the word of others as your guide or statement of fact. We all must find our facts on our own just as we all must find our own way to God.
It is the opinion of this humble writer that the election was merely a smoke screen and a minuscule piece of a larger plan. It was the "watch my right hand and not my left." It was a "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" moment.
These are not conspiracy theories and there will be those who dismiss them as such. Those who dismiss them are usually the same people who know the true facts.
Proof will be obtained. And sunlight will rule the day.
Thomas Jefferson also said, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." It is time for those people of good conscience to come forward.
The bell is ringing. Recess is over. Time to leave the playground and get to the business of education.