Thursday, May 26, 2016

Referendum on Ignorance

Meet Mary Lou Brunner.

Precious, isn’t she?

She’s a 69-year-old retired kindergarten teacher from Mineola, Texas.

Gotta love her!

But somehow she lost her bid in Tuesday’s run-off primary election for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education.

Captain’s Note: Among other things, this Board selects the textbooks for the public schools throughout Texas. And because Texas is such a big buyer, they set the trend for public education and many other states follow their lead and use the same textbooks.

This is an important job.

The Tea Party organization “Grassroots America – We the People” had endorsed Ms. Brunner as the true conservative in the race, and many of the folks in District 9 (31 counties in Northeast Texas) also liked her; in fact, she collected 48% of the votes in the primary. Unfortunately, that was not enough to prevent this week’s run-off ballot.

On Tuesday she was handily defeated by chiropractor Kevin Ellis, president of the school board in Lufkin, Texas – also a conservative Republican. He will go on to face the Democrat challenger Amanda Rudolph, a professor of secondary education at state college.

Despite her credentials, as a Democrat Ms. Rudolph doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected. But you have to give her credit for trying.

So what happened with dear Ma Brunner? It seems her undoing was the result of her posting her personal opinions on Facebook.


For what it’s worth, the Captain supports every person’s right to free speech, including Ms. Brunner’s.

But I also understand that there are consequences when we exercise our 1st Amendment rights.

For example, folks at my last church didn’t like that I was posting pictures of women in bikinis on Facebook. It didn’t matter to them that they were pictures of 3-time Olympic Beach Volleyball champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, or that I have been following these athletes (and their male counterparts) since before the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, or that the photos were from actual sporting events and not simply cheesecake shots.

Is it my fault the league specifies the uniform? 

So I get it. It’s not fair that someone would use your Facebook posts against you. Right?

But Ms. Brunner, running for a seat on the State Board of Education, wrote posts that encouraged parents to home-school their kids, and opposed free public education, especially for immigrants.

An odd position for a candidate for the state Board of Education.

She also believes the United Nations is a secret Illuminati plot for one world government.

Go ahead. Google “Agenda 21”.

And the Boy Scouts is a homosexual organization.

She also believes that as a child, President Obama worked as a gay prostitute; by her reckoning, that is how he paid for his drug addiction.

And, she calls him “Ahab the Muslim”.

She opposes feminism and the teaching of Mexican-American history. And she believes there is no need for reparations to former slaves in America because they were granted “40 acres and a mule” after the War of Northern Aggression.

[Captain’s Note: Congress did approve a reparations bill during Reconstruction, but President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill. Funny thing about history – you’ve got to read the whole story!]

She believes that school shootings began after schools started teaching evolution, and that the dinosaurs died because they didn’t get onto Noah’s Ark.

All of this she freely shared on Facebook.

Not realizing the consequences.

And, in the end, even Ms. Brunner’s Tea Party supporters had heard enough and withdrew their endorsement.

And teachers turned out to vote against her.

In the run-off vote, Mr. Ellis, the chiropractor, beat Ms. Brunner, the kindergarten teacher, by 18%.

But Ms. Brunner remains unbowed in defeat. She insists she was just stating what she believes and what she believes most of the people of East Texas believe.

Scary, but probably true.

Fortunately, for the sake of the nation, the people of East Texas came to their senses and made a better choice.

One can only hope.