Power is an interesting thing. During this week’s board meeting I heard the word used a few times. Personal power was equated with freedom, freedom to choose, but it did not take into consideration other’s freedom to choose.
In fact, we saw blatant disregard for others in statements like “I’m not responsible for your family’s health,” from Representative Phil Jensen. In pushing public comment to after the business of the meeting, the board exercised power and showed blatant disregard for those who hoped to persuade us to act on their behalf, who wanted us to have more information to make the important decisions before us. I regret my vote on this matter. Power is greedy, it doesn’t have to listen when it is in control. President Kate Thomas is correct, when you are in the minority you don’t get to make decisions.
I also heard many times, “you are the elected board you have the power,” power to run this school district which the highly qualified Superintendent who you hire does not. With a win in the recent board election (12% of voter turnout is pathetic and the subject of a great lesson I hope this community is learning), this board now interprets the state codified law governing schools to have given them full power to operate the school district versus govern the school district. These are two very different verbs. A group of people without the education and experience to give them the qualifications and expertise to operate the second largest school district in our state has been empowered to control this organization. They will tell the superintendent what to do, not just create policy to govern and let a highly qualified, expert superintendent operate and manage the organization. RCAS has seen this done before by currently sitting board members when they took control and operated the district during the last superintendent’s tenure. The situation is dangerous because a public board is not qualified, but they have been given power by the voice of the people. “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse,” James Madison.
Elections Matter, but why? Because the people we elect in a Democratic Republic represent the public, the public who elected them. If we do not elect people who will listen and understand the issues, engage in a healthy debate, and weigh the evidence, (albeit it is hard to find valid evidence when now days evidence can be created to validate any point) and then work together to promote the well-being of the whole, then we live in tyranny. And each election cycle the tyranny tends to switch. “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson. Elections matter.
Amy Policky is the RCAS Board Representative for Area 6.