The last year and a half has not been all that fun for me personally. You see, I started my BESE campaign about that long ago. I was told I would enjoy the experience, make new friends, and have an opportunity to guide the conversation. Maybe that’s true in other states, but not Louisiana. I actually lost a number of friends who felt I had sold out to corporate interests. My health declined, and I had to disappoint my children and family during the ordeal.
I was happy being an erstwhile blogger. I actually became a candidate at the request of some allies (who later turned on me, sadly enough.) I suppose there are worse things that could have happened, and I did make some great new friends along the way, but “friends” who become enemies without warning and continue to participate in my campaign and spy on me? Not cool.
I rose to moderate prominence because of my blog, the one you are reading now. In the campaigning process I had to give up more of my controversial and saucy subject material in favor of more bland and positive fare. This of course sapped much of my interest in continuing my blog. I found it difficult to strike a balance between going after wrongdoing, and not alienating potential voters.
I also found I had very little time to maintain my blog as campaign activities overtook all of my free time, forcing me out of Karate with my kids, boy scouts with my son, and family vacations (I stayed home and campaigned while the family went away without me.) I did all of this for the opportunity to serve on an unpaid board, BESE, which would not only take all of my free-time but also my vacation time as well. Unlike candidates and re-elected BESE members like Holly Boffy or Kira Orange Jones (who work for organizations where serving on BESE is considered part of their jobs) I work as a normal nine-to-five stiff, outside of education circles. I don’t pay my house mortgage with my contract job (like Holly Boffy has said she does with her CCSSO position) with an organization that directly profits from my service.
Had I been elected to BESE, for the next 4 years a minimum of 12 of my 18 vacation days would be needed to serve on BESE. Those 18 days also include sick-leave, doctor visits, taking care of sick children or trying to attend field trips with my kids. Additionally BESE often has unscheduled “emergency” meetings which would have taken up additional time. For the next 4 years I would have probably had to take unpaid leave to serve, and miss out on a lot of time with my own kids and family to help out all Louisiana families, but I was willing to do it. Sometimes it’s important to take a stand and sacrifice for what you believe in, and I wanted to lead by example.
So losing the election is not that great a loss to me personally. Actually, the way things fell into place I could not lose. Either I got to keep all my free-time, vacation time, time with my kids and family, and work on my own health (I developed diabetes and high blood pressure during my campaign) or I would serve on an elected board for the betterment of Louisiana, (and perhaps the nation, as I planned to prove how misguided and deceitful our education reform movement has become in Louisiana.) In truth, I personally got the better end of the deal. Nevertheless, I tried my best and greatly appreciate all the donors and volunteers who believed in me, donated to me, or just urged me on throughout the ordeal. Without that support I would have given up my quest long ago.
All that being said, now the question becomes, what do I do now? I have already been helping out the campaigns of the two remaining FlipBESE candidates. One of the problems with running a campaign of your own, is not being able to help others with theirs. It may be that my best move would have been to stayed out of the race and taken on a more supportive role.
I am free to do that now.
Here are some of the things I wanted to accomplish with my BESE run, so you can deem for yourself if I was successful.
- I wanted to pull a team of folks together from across the state to run candidates against the education reform backed candidates.
- I wanted people to see that if a little known blogger can run for a BESE seat, so can anyone else. I believe bizarre attacks launched against me by the puppets annointed by the status quo showed that I was seen as a real threat to their plans.
- I wanted to drive Chas Roemer from his post as BESE President. Chas declared he was not running hours after I formally qualified to run. (Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not.)
- I wanted to finally clear my conscience of feeling responsible for knowing about all the false claims and reports and the illegal, unethical, actions of John White and the Louisiana Department of Education.
- I wanted to face these lying cowards down face to face and call them out for the deceitful, ignorant, puppets that they are. (That one was fun.)
Now I am set free. I’ve contacted everyone I could (including reporters at the New York Times). I’ve told parts of my story in front of a live studio audience. I’ve created a blog and helped launch a movement. I’ve even run for a political office to try and impact change directly.
All that my enemies have accomplished is making me stronger by moving me beyond their reach to critique. They should have done more during the campaign, but now it is too late. They foolishly chose to strike me down too soon. The millions of dollars they spent over a month’s time span to lie their allies into BESE won’t protect them from me over the next four years. I was playing nice before, but now I’ve come to see all the pieces on the playing field.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Obi-Wan Kenobi
And this time. . . I’m coming for the puppet masters, and their allies too.