It’s creationism all over again

It wasn’t that long ago (and it’s still ongoing) that creationists followed a relatively successful strategy of packing school boards with loons. School boards are not popular career destinations — it’s relatively easy for a fanatic to run for the board, and often they get strong support from local churches.

Now take a look at this: the same strategy is being followed by anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and anti-CRT kooks.

We need more reasonable, serious people to run for school board positions, so do consider it yourself. When I first moved to Morris, I offered to run…and got nothing but looks of horror from local DFL people. I guess I’m not the kind of guy to be popular with the church crowd that is likely to turn out for a school board election, so they were probably right to look for more congenial candidates.

If you can’t run, the next best thing is to VOTE in those elections. School board elections are far more important than most people assume.


  1. Susan Montgomery says

    Running for office? Voting? Bah! All the cool kids know that “getting involved” is a one-way ticket to Squaresville. It’s selling out and playing the cryptofascist game The Man wants us to play and we’re all too hip for that

  2. whheydt says

    The trick is to weed out the religious nuts and other kooks on the ballot. One thing I always check for is if a candidate talks about how much he supports his church in his statement. That gets a candidate off my list of who to vote for immediately.

  3. Paul K says

    I got elected this year to my fourth three-year term on our local school board (first elected in 2012). I first ran because the person in my ward was retiring, and I was asked to run. I had an opponent in that first election (not that common an occurrence) who was a Tea Party supporter. I actually had to campaign — pretty much unheard of here.

    This year has been really tough, with meetings disrupted by anti-maskers, public commenters speaking nonsense, and anger expressed like never before. And, as PZ says, what school boards do is very important, so it’s always a job with challenges and responsibility. I’ve been struggling emotionally, and not sleeping well. I don’t suffer fools easily, and have even gotten into a yelling match (though that was with a school board member). The thing is, we’ve gotten into some legitimately controversial areas in my time on the Board, over topics that reasonable people might disagree on. Discussion is had, and compromises reached, or things set aside. We are almost always completely apolitical. But this stuff, absolutely wrong-headed, manufactured to be disruptive, and then passed by organized right-wingers down to dupes through social media, is infuriating. I just keep asking myself, what the heck can I do to stop this nonsense? The answer is to just keep on keeping on, but it’s sure not easy.

  4. flex says

    I’ve always been amazed at how little attention people lay to local government.
    It’s the local government actions which have the greatest impact on your life.

    Local government impacts your life in many ways, for example they manage:
    Your roads, and repairs to them (there are exceptions, but local governments are always consulted)
    Your water supply
    How your sewage is managed (sewer or septic)
    Your garbage collection
    Your schools/schoolboard and thus your children’s education
    Your parks/nature preserves open spaces
    Your libraries, and access to them
    Development/construction permits and inspections
    Zoning restrictions (whether you like them or not)
    Manages the elections for all levels of government
    Assesses the value of your property and levies property taxes for all levels of government

    These are not all the same body of people, Schoolboards are different than Library Boards which are different than Parks Commissions, but they are all local people trying to do what they think is best for their local community. These local governments are always looking for good, dedicated, people to serve, and it’s a great way to learn about and help build your local community. I served 12 years as a Township Trustee myself. It’s not always easy, but I felt it was worth it.

  5. notaandomposter says

    educate yourself on who the kooks are and VOTE for someone else (you cannot always tell by party affiliation) if safe to do so, go to a school board (or city council/local government) hearing/meeting – SEE who the kooks are

    the kooks/cranks/schills start somewhere in government
    keeping fanatics form becoming members of congress (or state legislatures) starts with electing folks to local office that aren’t fanatics. Some of those kooks who win go on to other offices (county trustees, state reps etc)-but if they can’t even win a seat on a school board , maybe they’ll spend their time elsewhere? hopefully doing something that doesn’t endanger the public?

    if you don’t have the time to dedicate to running yourself (many folks don’t) at least VOTE, maybe volunteer as an election judge, maybe spend some time letting friends and neighbors know who the kooks are so they know whom to vote against

  6. Susan Montgomery says

    @4. Far too many people don’t realize that today’s first-term city councilman is tomorrow’s mayor and next week’s governor and so forth. This notion is it the heart of what conservatives have been doing for the last 40 years.

    And, by the number of cites, counties and states telling Biden to piss off with the COVID-related mandates, that strategy is paying off bigly. The US Congress and the White House are bonus points in politics, not the game-winners.

  7. kestrel says

    I really sympathize with poster Paul K. I volunteer on the local community irrigation ditch board and have for the last ten years. For my troubles, I’ve been threatened many times, for instance like having my house burnt down, and am currently dealing with several threats of litigation. (Due to global warming, people are finally waking up to the fact that water is a finite resource, so they are suing people to try to get it. News flash: suing me will not make there be more water.) I’ve been harrassed constantly by these particular people on this for over a year and this is aside from the “normal” threats I receive. (I don’t think it’s normal to threaten people.) It really makes me question my community service. Just a warning: if you are going to volunteer or run for office, be prepared for a level of harassment you never knew existed. You are most certainly not going to be thanked or appreciated. Well! SOME people will appreciate you. But you will hardly be able to hear their voices over the rabble. You have to really stick to your guns and keep in mind you are working for the good of the whole, not for the good of some asshole who has decided to go after you thinking you are “weak”.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Kestrel and Paul K.
    I sympathize.
    In my distant youth, I dabbled with local politics but soon realised just how time-consuming it is if you want to make a proper job of it.
    Back then, there was no social media where toxic cranks could get off on hateful comments so my generation had it easy.
    The current situation makes decent people burn out under the onslaught of hate. I suppose you just have to be as pugnacious as the mutoids who are trolling you, but that limits the recruiting base of future politicians drastically.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    I just realised, we need to clone Bob Geldof one million times and send the clones to school boards and other local political bodies.

  10. rpjohnston says

    Run for school board? We had one of the Board members in the next county over (Loudoun) quit because of all the death threats. In my county, one of the members I know personally and his husband had to back off social media cause of the incessant tirade of hate.

    You want anyone to run for these minor offices, how about the people in high places have our fucking backs instead of throwing us to the mongrels?!

  11. fergl says

    You can tell that those folks in the video are pretty angry types. They are not going to change their minds on anything. Any contrary view will be countered by shouting louder and getting angrier.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    We need a bug that selectively strikes down gammons…. wait! We have that already! It is called Covid.
    (This is a strong argument for brewing up new variants in a lan to make new vaccinations necessary)