Signs of Things to Come?

In Ocean Township and replicated in many school districts across the state, there is a surfeit of signs up for school board elections. Names, slogans, red, blue, and green, abundant. There is a dearth of information online about these candidates. The district website and the school signage boards did not publicize what was an online debate last week hosted by the LWV.

What do these folks stand for, know, and why are they running?

What I do know is that in our critically divisive political landscape, whereas boards of education were at least purportedly non or bipartisan, school boards are becoming ground zero for political and partisan rhetoric, anger, and intrusiveness.

For those running and serving, the first question to answer should be, “Do you believe the 2020 election for president was legitimate?” Their agenda becomes clear based on the answer to this one simple question. For the election deniers, if they win, they will of course accept the results. If they lose, they will claim election fraud.

The basics of democracy are on the ballot, including school board elections. We need to know more about those running. With that simple question, related ones come to the fore.

Censorship is on the rise, in the classroom, school libraries, and even public libraries. What are the positions of those running for board on censorship? What books would they want banned and why? Censorship has been extended to increasing prohibitions on teaching and learning and not acknowledging sexual diversity. Are we now back to denying the theory of evolution or its false equivalence in biblical explanations? Are we now going to teach a revisionist US history, including how slavery was not so bad and slaves were treated OK? Or will we teach the truth, with its values, successes, and positives as well as its scars and negatives, of which slavery and racism is part?

For those running or on school boards, “Do you understand that the separation of church and state is part of the Establishment Clause in our US Constitution?” With anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, Asian and Black hate crimes substantially on the rise, are we going to whitewash teaching the US Constitution, US History, and the reality of current events? What radical revisions will be placed on teaching and learning? With know-nothings in Congress and their partisans, are we going to dismiss anti-Semitic rantings about Jewish space lasers, refute the age-old trope of a Jewish cabal controlling political power and world finances, or that Jews “better get their act together” (implying or else) as recently barked as a dog whistle by the former president. Based on these offenses and ridicules is the corrupted solution, we should be a white nationalist Christian Evangelical nation? Are we going to teach that this was the intention of the framers? It was not. It was the opposite – a separation of Church and State, directly stated – no establishment of a state religion.

Jonathan Shutman
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8 responses to “Signs of Things to Come?”

  1. Jon, you paint a dystopian picture of a life lived under a minority of wackos on the right, but what of their leftist counterparts? A world where basic biology is verboten, fiscal policy is tossed to the side and law has no meaning? You people always bang the progressive drum without self reflection, or the understanding that your trajectory is far worse in many ways than this fictional narrative that is always spouted.

  2. Brad, I welcome and thank you for your response. We have had some communication about it, and it has been I think civil. As I related, my concern is regarding serving in a democratically elected capacity and not accepting the results of the past election. I also related what you refer to as a few wackos are many in fact on the right, several who have hypocrtically changed their views on Trump for their own political advantage. Respectfully, your comments mirror “what about itism” and false equivalencies that do not address present political realities. I see the attacks on democracy, the attempt to delay or overturn the last election, taking votes away from individuals to be settled in state assemblies, alternate facts, censorship, as only some examples of a dystopian world to come if those who promulagate and vote for those in accord with those behaviors become an elected majority.

  3. I keep it plain and simple both sides are shameful. I am just waiting for the midterm results and then 2024 presidency. Just wait you will see riots that are called peaceful protest as well as the loosing party claim that the results are not accurate as seen in the past. As for each it is so sad and has existed since the beginning of time and probably will last till the end of time as we all know it. With this I wish you all peace love life liberty and the pursuit of happiness

  4. The followers of hate are emerging from their crevices and they are getting bolder by the day, they talked in the shadows up until now. Their beliefs are formed from quips and unfair comparisons to unrelated issues and events with the sole goal of creating a superior image for themselves. Teaching truth is too dangerous for their goals and personal beliefs, they possess that spirit of Inquisition and denial of Rights to their neighbor citizens because they are more violent or control the local law enforcement. Jews, blacks, Asians, Moslems, Hispanics and even indigenous peoples are being denigrated by a minority of our population in an attempt to recreate the fascism we had defeated 77 years ago. We said Never Again, yet here we are repeating the same scenario with people who are using the same books to lead us into the darkness that we knew was always there. Is this how the Nazi’s rose to power but here they are called names like the Federalists Society, John Birch Society or just called the Klan, these small groups are intimidation based and will continue until we end their false claims of conspiracies with truth spoken louder than their lies.

  5. The First Amendment has nothing to do with “the separation of church and state.” I am continually amazed at how many people simply do not understand this. I presume this comes from a failure of reading comprehension and a lack of knowledge of history

  6. Well said my friend. I agree that we should keep learning from the past and make a change. Like the late Michael Jackson sang start with the man in the mirror and make a change. I hope by some miracle that it dawns on the people to do the right thing. Thank you for making my day. Stay safe.

  7. Wackos on the right? What about the wackos on the left? What about the nutcases that swear “men” can have babies or by placing “tampons” in boys bathrooms in public schools. The BOE has gotten WAAAAY to political, donating millions of tax payer dollars to the democrat party, the BOE is supposed to be non partisan, but they are not, they are!! And WHY can we question the legitimacy of the 2020 election? Stacy Abrams questions the 2016 election and still says HER election was stolen, and so does Killary Clinton, even after she plead guilty to breaking campaign finance laws by paying fusion gps and the entire Russia Russia Russia spying plot, and why cant us parents question whats being taught to our kids? The entire lgbtq agenda is SICK AND PERVERTED! And why dont you name some of the books that you claim are being censored from libraries? See thats the problem with all the liberal left, they try to pass the blame on to republicans while theyre the one doing the dirty sheet!! And YES I do believe the 2020 election was fraudulent, theres no way in hell Joe Biden got more votes than Obama, theres video proof of thousands of democrat operatives DUMPING ballots into drop boxes across the country, instead of listening to whatever your TV tells you to believe, PICK UP A COMPUTER AND DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES!!
    Oh yeah, and just like our southern border is secure and people are not just walking in is the truth?

  8. Boy, you really have bit into the propaganda, especially about ballet dumps, Hillary pleading guilty to crimes, and especially toTrumps claims. None of which bear any resemblance to reality. As for doing research on the internet, that is valueless unless you use sources other than ones approved by Q-anon.
    You really should have watched the Jan 6 hearings, you might have learned something from all the republicans who didn’t take the 5th but who testified under oath.
    Here’s some things to ponder. Why did all those terrible riots you are so worried about occur under Trump and not Obama or Biden? Why are crime rates often doubled in red cities compared to similar sized blue cities? Why do republicans preach fiscal responsibility while running up the deficit, while the tax and spend democrats reduce the deficit, and in Obama’s and Clinton’s case actually run a budget surplus? And one final question. What are republican’s solutions to all the countries problems other than cutting taxes for corporations and their rich and powerful donors? Trickle down has yet to work for the middle class in any Republican administration. Name one other policy that benefits general citizens that any Republican since Eisenhower has implemented.
    I hope you are well but I also hope you are not in a position of authority, because your lack of critical thinking could get someone killed.

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