#331 – The Board of Escalation

My friend Ava called last night to discuss her recent Board of Education election. She’d campaigned against four opponents for one of three open seats, and lost. Although she’s vowed never to run for office again, she appreciated the valuable lesson she’d learned. As she put it: “I think it’s fair to say parents don’t want drug-addicted tattletales making educational policies for their kids!”

Ava’s commentary on the cutthroat world of elections began: “I planted campaign signs all around town. Within a week, they’d been thrown down or taken away! Someone I know thought she saw one of the candidate’s kids drive off with the sign from her lawn, but I couldn’t prove it.”

The theft of her signs seemed a pittance compared to the next assault: “A few days after, I cut my finger putting up replacement signs and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. Later that day, a person I barely know posted on my Facebook Wall that he’d heard I’d been taken to the E.R. for an overdose! He prayed that the wake up call would make me seek help for my addiction! I spent hours denying I have a drug problem and thanking all the people who posted ‘get better soon’ comments!”

“The thing is,” Ava added, “when I was leaving the hospital, I ran into the husband of the bitch whose kid stole my signs. I think she put one of her friends up to the Facebook post. But once again, I couldn’t prove anything.”

“Anyway,” she went on, “I started to think I couldn’t win unless I got my hands dirty too, and my chance came at the Q&A session. It’s probably the most important part of the campaign. The Board hosts a town hall meeting, and people submit questions in advance for the candidates. At the meeting, a moderator chooses which ones to ask. The week before the event, a Board member I know told me another Board member had slipped all the questions to a friend of his who’s running. Although my friend wouldn’t say who, she told me I should be able to figure out the cheater easily enough.”

“At the Q&A session, one woman had note cards with answers on them. Every time the moderator asked her a question, she pulled out a card and read off it. Having spotted the cheater, I attacked at the first opportunity. I said: ‘It’s bad enough we have cheating in our schools, without having cheating in Board of Education campaigns too!’ Do we really want a Board member who secretly gets copies of all your questions ahead of time, and then writes out her answers on note cards?!'”

I asked Ava what happened after she made her accusation.

She replied: “Naturally, the woman denied the charge. And that bitch who’d stolen my signs and arranged the Facebook posts spoke up in her defense, telling everyone that ‘we can take pity on people whose personal demons cause them to make irrational, false charges against others, but we shouldn’t want them overseeing our children’s education.’ There wasn’t much in the way of further Q&A after that, and I lost the election by a landslide. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have said a word about cheating at the meeting.”

I disagreed, and said as much: “Whadya mean? You had to call out that woman with the note cards. It’s not your fault the parents couldn’t spot a cheater as easily as you could.”

“Well, as to that,” Ava began, “apparently, I couldn’t spot a cheater either, as I learned when I was leaving the building. That bitch came over to ‘congratulate me on a spirited campaign’ and whispered in my ear: ‘I didn’t think I could remember all the questions I’d gotten before the meeting, or the answers I’d prepared’ but thanks to your diversion, I didn’t have to.'”

 
 
Elections can be dirty affairs, at all levels!


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