Over the past year I have immersed myself in city, district, and state matters. I have thrown myself into the middle of political campaigns. Not because I am particularly political, but because I have begun to recognize the importance of regular citizen engagement in politics. I have met the most amazing people in the GOP party, and they have accepted me with open arms. It is quite something to be a part of such a genuine group of individuals … passionate, hard-working, knowledgeable and creative.
This November election was very important to me, and I spent the majority of my time focused on supporting candidates with strong family values who were grounded in their faith and who would promote the healthy network of a tight knit community. I have not published much in the past couple months because of this.
The People of Minnesota did not choose those candidates though. I am not quite sure why the People of Minnesota chose the opposite. They chose to elect the same Governor, the same Secretary of State, the same State Auditor, the same Attorney General, and on down the ticket: mostly DFL.
Why are we drawn to the darkness? Why do we dig ourselves into a deeper darker pit? We choose lapdogs puppets instead of competent, upstanding, independent thinkers. We choose to dig ourselves deeper into darkness. Why? Is it like how a fish doesn’t know he is wet, a human does not know he lives in darkness? I am reminded of the book, “City of Ember” by Jeanne Duprau (spoiler alert next!) The people of Sparks knew nothing of sunlight, but only of darkness, until finally they discovered that their city was built in a cave buried deep inside the earth. It wasn’t until they dug themselves back to the surface of the earth that they could look back and understand they had been living in darkness and why.
“So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.”Isaiah 59:9-11
We have eyes, but we don’t see. We have ears, but we don’t listen.
“So JUSTICE IS DRIVEN BACK, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS STANDS AT A DISTANCE; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.”Isaiah 59:14-15
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A Neutral Non-Partisan. Is there even such a thing?
If there is one thing I have learned over the past year of being involved in politics, it is how inter-connected the political system is. Even leadership positions which are not intended to be political (like school boards), are very much politically aligned to one party or the other, and within each of those party alignments, there is a tightly knit group of people. What has surprised me is that there are not many of them (or us, now that I am in the mix). A very small percent sets the groundwork the greater percent. I have seen “non-partisan” candidates, who claim to be neutral, sitting pretty comfortable at 3rd Act with their DFL partisan party. I would much rather a candidate be upfront about their alignment during the election process, and then carry through with that standard when elected.
The truth of the matter is, it takes a strong inner conviction to run for any office: partisan or non-partisan. That conviction may be grounded in a biblical worldview, or it may be grounded in something else, but whatever that conviction may be it will always lean to one political side.
I feel the title “non-partisan” in the election process is actually a lie. Every single 833 “non-partisan” school board member stands on their chosen moral ground and are consumers of their chosen flavor of media. It all speaks into their political opinion. I think we could do ourselves a huge favor by removing false labels like “non-partisan” from the election process.
This is not to say that there is no such thing. There are plenty of citizens who strive to be non-partisan in their approach to politics, and some of them succeed. “Non-partisan” is a good standard to strive for among people, and I completely agree with being balanced on our school boards, city councils, and county seats. But at the level of government where votes are cast that will ultimately affect my child, my family, and my ability to support them financially, I will vote for the candidate that reflects my chosen moral ground.
I am Thankful for PEOPLE
What if the goal of an election is not to “win” an election”, but is to bring together our people?
To find each other … good people to meet, and bond, and grow stronger from one another … together, accomplishing more than we could have accomplished alone.
I think, what if I had never dipped my toe in politics? There are dozens of wonderful people I would not know today. There are hundreds of people who have affected me, and hopefully I have given them something in return. Running for school board in 2021, as it turns out, was not about winning. It was about the people. It was about being there, in the present, with people at their door steps, listening to stories, finding common ground, working together, and organizing volunteers.
It was the people. And it still is the people. There are countless bonds I have forged because of one decision I made in my life, and that was to follow God’s plan and not my own. That has led me to politics and that has led me to meeting PEOPLE.
Before the election, I wrote an article titled “I have HOPE”. (Read that article HERE). I wrote that I find HOPE in the space in-between, in God’s natural world, in friendship and fellowship, in the giftedness of children, in We the People, in parents on school boards, and in improvements to higher education. The election does not change any of those “Seven Seeds of Hope.” In fact, the results of this election have prompted me to write about seven MORE seeds of hope, and you will see that article in the upcoming weeks.
I do have such tremendous hope, and it comes from God’s Word, God’s Natural World, and God’s People. I want to share a message from the Thanksgiving Church Service I attended last night at Woodbury Lutheran.
These are the articles I am working on at the moment. They will post over the next few weeks, in no particular order. I have been working through these ideas over weeks and even months (for some), as I watch what is happening in school board meetings, listening sessions, education departments, legislature, and the election. Follow my blog, JAiME for SCHOOLS, to see them as soon as they are posted.
- Hear and Listen -Thoughts about the ISD#833 Listening Sessions
- Transparency : TO BE or NOT TO BE -Review of 833’s additional workshop live stream, School Board updates, improvements to communication in the district, and areas for their improvement.
- One Foot Each in Two Worlds -Sharing the back-and-forth world of my every day experience going from public school to private school, Washington County to Ramsey County, and the city of Woodbury to Roseville.
- Student Data Privacy at the House -Follow up to “In Matters of Transparency”
- Light Ever Changing -Seen and unseen through human eyes
- Seven MORE seeds of HOPE -An extension to “I have HOPE”
- The Teachers Will Teach -Follow up to “Molding the Claymation Teacher”
The titles may change slightly and one article may become two, but these are the drafts as they are presently.
Thank you, as always, for reading! Happy Thanksgiving to you!