From a Local Fundraiser Event, October 2023

    So here I am, a write in candidate. A fair number of people are exasperated with me for waiting so long to enter this race. Let me explain. If you had told me back in June that I’d be here at this event tonight, I would have assumed I’d be seated with all of you, listening to and supporting candidates for this election. But with no candidate to support for the Rivanna district school board seat, my role shifted from supporter to candidate, and so here I am, in front of you now, attempting to do what I think needs to be done. In the few short months since July, when I signed onto this project, I’ve come a long way in going down each of the rabbit holes that concerned me about the school system --- the lack of financial constraints, the lack of academic achievement, the lack of acknowledging the rights of parents to make decisions for their children which carry life long consequences, and so much more. After feeling like I was going in every direction, chasing all these issues, I began to see a common theme as to what the problem is in the school system. That theme is a lack of objective reality. Hear me out on this.  I started off in life as a painter, having studied classical, old master painting techniques at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the country, founded by artist and scientist Charles Willson Peale and sculptor Benjamin Rush. The painters and sculptors connected with that school did most of the artwork we have today of the great historical figures of our country. They were adamant in their pursuit of objective, scientific reality. At the Academy, we were taught to avoid falling prey to seeing what we expected to see, or what we wanted to see, and to see what was really there in front of us in order to paint it representationally. We became keen observers of people, places, and objects, analyzing what made them look like they did. We learned how our eyes fool us with illusions and we learned to see past those illusions. And then we learned how to create a painting out of all that data that looked as solid as reality itself, only a little better. Those skills are serving me well now as I see past the illusions put forth by the school board and superintendent, illusions that they are succeeding in making their students smarter and kinder, while giving us the best value for our tax dollars. But more importantly, I’m concerned that the decisions of this board are causing our students to lose their own moorings in objective reality, in the understanding that there is a shared reality that is inescapable, solid, and continuous. As a blatant example of this, regardless of what you may think about this notion of transgenderism, you have to acknowledge the damage such a notion has on every subject the school professes to teach. If someone can be whatever gender they wish to be, then the logical conclusion of that is that history is whatever we want it to be; math is whatever is expedient, science becomes the handmaiden of ideology, and words become so personal in meaning that communication becomes impossible. How does one teach in that environment? What does one teach in that environment? How do students become grounded in the idea that there are facts in this world, and those facts matter. Facts keep bridges up, people healthy, the electricity on, the roads safe, and food on the table. I started on this campaign focused on the out of control spending by this school board, but I see the task is so much more profound. I am convinced we can take care of both problems, that refocusing the mission of the school system to create strong students ready to take on their adult roles in our society will show us the way towards fiscal sanity by cutting out all that does not support this mission. It will take not just winning one seat on the board, but four. It’s a shame there wasn’t the possibility to have four reform-minded candidates on the ballot this year, but we have three, which is better than the two there were before I started on this campaign. And that’s why I’m here, as a write in, to help make that change in the direction of the school system possible.


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