In a resounding blow to the national education "reform" movement, voters in Jefferson County, Colorado on Tuesday overwhelmingly chose to recall three Koch-backed conservative school board members who, among other transgressions, last year suggested censoring U.S. history curriculum to promote patriotism.
As a Jeffco resident myself, a hearty "thank you!" to the fine people who worked so hard to make this happen. To take on one of the great, emerging scourges of our time and kick it square in the jimmies is a wonderful thing.
That said, there are darker lessons here that activists need to understand and take to heart. The first is that there is no longer any such thing as local politics. Increasingly, especially in the post-Citizens era, corporate money is flooding critical local elections in ways without precedent, driving up the "price" for victory well beyond what is tolerable for local conditions. School board seats costing a million dollars a pop? That's what the Kochs and the Adelsons have done with the most basic element of democracy. they raised the price of it well beyond the reach of the rest of us.
On the other hand, my hope is that all that money supporting local reactionary candidates and issues will make them organizationally lazy in the longer run. Letting television ads do their work for them, which would open up the ground for our people to beat hem by mobilizing voters the old fashioned way as happened in this board fight here.
Anyhoo, a nice win for the forces of good and light here in Jefferson County! Let's drive these corporate pigs into the sea.
Congratulations are in order for the people of Jefferson County--may your example spread far and wide! Your good organizing skills along with tenacity and work won the day.
This also happened in the Thompson Valley School District in North Colorado where 4 neocons were ousted and replaced by actual humans with hearts and souls. Maybe this is the beginning of a shift away from Big Money dictating the rules by which every crumb is siphoned upward to the already bloated Aristocracy and a shift to a more democratic, people based paradigm. Lesson: it takes work and involvement by 'We the People' if we hope to have a livable planet for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.
driving up the "price" for victory, I hear what you are saying
The critical point to be remembered here is that votes don't cost anything.
Yes campaigning and getting out the message is more costly, but as with any project it isn't the cost,
it's the idea and the effectiveness of the idea.
When we were broadsided by Citizen's United, it caused exactly the affect it is named for.
The Citizens United with an opposing idea and it's time is maturing.
You can't fool all the people, and most everyone is tired of neocons & money.
They don't even like each other.
Thank you to everyone who put in the legwork. This will grow.
There was much coverage of the Teaturd win in the Kentucky Governor's race, the failure of Virginia Dems to gain any ground in the legislature, etc. to make it look like another bad election overall. However, when you look at a slew of other results, such as this great outcome in CO, the Initiative in Seattle that passed, the clean elections one that was approved in Maine....there were actually a lot of encouraging signs.
Kudos, of course, for the activists in Jefferson county. But another way of looking at it is while big money is endless and can be effortlessly spread, the time the limited numbeer of activists put in on school board issues is time not devoted to climate change, health care, election reform, US drone killings, out of control military budget, etc.
A guarded congratulations of the coalition of parents, students, teachers, and unions that won such a victory in CO. Guarded because if you think that the Koch money will just go away after this event you are missing the larger point--as George Orwell observed in 1984:
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
It is no accident that in places like CO (teaching "patriotism" instead of "history"), Arizona (forbidding studies of Native American history in public schools), and Michigan (seeking to ban Howard Zinn's "Peoples History of the US" as a supplemental text in public school history classes) that "the past" is being assaulted and not comprehensively taught to our youth who are "our future".
It is also no accident that the corporate socialists who champion school vouchers and charter schools are doing so for the chance to establish a tax payer supported monopoly on education from which they can pocket magnificent profits as they increasingly seek to acquire the great tax payer funded commons of the public school infrastructure for their monopoly on education which they seek in order to control the thoughts of our youth.
They will be back, next time with perhaps more subtle and different lies, to try to seduce gullible voters to support their apparatchiks standing for election. The activists have won this sprint of an election, but the battle is a marathon and the prize is the control of our youth ("the future") through thought control of their understanding about our common past. Those activists in CO who won this past election would do well to remember and not let their guard down.
Applause, applause for parents and their neighbors in those Colorado counties for their admirable and successful efforts to tack back control of their public schools from the moneyed interests (Koch brothers and others) whose only purpose behind infiltrating local school boards and government entities is to MAKE MONEY on the backs of the youth and our nation's future.
Things go bitter with Koch
this is true, but it's campaigns like this that teach the skills necessary to fight the bigger battles successfully. A lot of ordinary people who had never engaged the system were involved, and those people came out much more aware and active as a result. That only helps the rest of us. You radicalize and mobilize one body at a time.
You need to look at this another way. Without an education that teaches our country's history, our children will not be educated enough to give a crap about climate change, health care, election reform, US drone killings, or an out of control military budget. That is he whole point in having a Koch-backed school board. The dumber we are, the more they can get away with. See the big picture here.
Yes, drone1066 & bignoisybird, of course that's true. But my point is, stupidity aside, politics should be a full time job for politicians - not everyone else. Many of us are busy working, raising families, starving, sick or just trying to find time to have a good time. There's barely time to read and converse on sites like this, let alone spend our of hours working against the 1% or giving money to counter the money of ours they're using against us.
I'd like to inject race and misogyny into this discussion since the conservative syndrome includes both (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/27/us/officers-classroom-fight-with-student-is-caught-on-video.html).
Excuse me, but isn't that a big part of the problem? A working democracy requires participation by We the People on a near daily basis: knowing what is going in the world and in your own community, the proposals to deal with issues, and the forces at work. It's about being informed and taking action when government fails to address our concerns. It is about giving consent to be governed or withdrawing that consent when government acts against our interests, which it has been doing with impunity for decades.
We the People are the sovereigns of this nation. Government works for us. We are the boss. So, KyleGo, democracy is at least a part time job for citizens, since our elected officials main goal is to stay elected, not secure democracy.
Hey lobo4justice, you wrote: "It is about giving consent to be governed or withdrawing that consent when government acts against our interests, which it has been doing with impunity for decades," followed by, "Government works for us. We are the boss.. ." Sounds like your two statements contradict each other.
Re, the school board, you have a situation where the activists who threw out the Koch board members probably put in more time, for free, than the paid board members did showing up to vote.
Anyway, point is, we don't have a "working" democracy. Or, apparently the time and resources to protest and change everything that "our" government is doing for us, in our name.
The point, Kyle, is that whatever you do, DO NOT not vote. The engineered apathy of American voters is something your comment purveys. Government will work for us if we participate at least minimally. Some fights, like against big oil/ gas require constant participation at the local level at county and municipal commissioners' meetings. Most of what they do is Koch-like: they suppress the common people's comments by limiting their time, making up stymying rules as they go along, delay the time for public comment to the very end of the meeting and then say there's no time left. It takes supreme patience and dedication to fight such things and then experience the total put-down of the government leaders totally ignoring all the public's comments and doing what they damn well please. But your not being able to hold both contradictory ideas in your mind at once utterly nullifies democracy. We must hold the contradictions constantly before us and fight like hell to keep our logic pure.