The race for School Board is on in West Bend and, once again, we have some conservatives trying to unseat the lefty-leaning incumbents. I was amused by this letter to the editor in the Washington County Daily News.
Here we go again. A partisan request to vote for a “conservative” for a School Board position. There are two problems with this request: (1.) School boards are nonpartisan for good reason. Members must be able to work with everyone for the good of the students, community and taxpayers — not represent a particular viewpoint or push an agenda. And (2.) there is no universally accepted definition of what being a “conservative” is.
As the last few years have shown, working to divide the population based on political party has had no lasting benefit to the country as a whole or West Bend in particular. Rather than pushing propaganda and a political point of view, we need to hear why the candidates are able to work with everyone in the community to educate each child to their full potential.
I, for one, don’t care what political party you belong to. I want to know you understand how schools work, teachers teach and students learn. And I want a fair hearing of all points of view. You get no points for wearing your political party or religious beliefs on your sleeve.
— Joan Thompson, West Bend
“Conservative” is not “partisan.” Conservatism is not a political party. It is a philosophy. And while the definition covers a range of variance, it is a useful shorthand to describe a political candidate. It is very telling that no school board candidate in West Bend ever runs as a “liberal,” despite many of them being just that. And “liberal” also covers a range of variance in philosophy, but nobody wants to use it.
In any case, do you know who constantly gripes about school board races being nonpartisan? Liberals. Because they can’t use their label and they want to take the ability of opponents to label themselves. Liberals running for nonpartisan races in conservative areas like to create a great beige slate of candidates so that they don’t have to explain their own philosophy.