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This is Not Conservative

Updated: Mar 10

I know a bit about conservative values. My father still lives in the town where I grew up—a small municipality at the base of the Uinta Mountains in rural Wyoming. Every fall, my dad would take us target shooting and then hunting for that winter’s meat, and that venison graced our table through the winter. He still hunts, and I’m still a pretty good shot.

Much of my family is religious and deeply conservative. (I still have a regular spot in my church pews.) I was taught to value limited and local government, to honor tradition, and to align my politics with my faith. In yesterday’s conservative circles, individual liberty was key, and free speech was something we should preserve at all costs. My parents taught me that government shouldn't have anything to do with whose pockets are deepest and that I should vote for the leader who is most principled and most capable. I still hold many of those principles, but when I look around, I don’t find them in my community’s “conservative circles.” To be fair, I’m not sure how rose-colored my lenses were or how long ago I took them off.

But something is amiss in conservative politics. Especially in St. Charles County. If you look at our Republican Central Committee, there are quite a few new faces. If you weren’t on board with Trump-style policies, you were shown the door, and there was no tolerance for a principled servant taking a moderate approach. The Old Guard has been pushed out. 

This new brand of conservative politics is especially damaging to our schools. Two years ago, a new political action committee (PAC) formed in our district. This PAC and its financed candidates have strong ties with the new (more extreme) Republican committee members, and together, they won five seats on our local school board. These new board members were chosen for their loyalty to an ideology, one of deep distrust in our public schools. So now, at every turn, they overreach. 

They scour the titles of hundreds of training sessions looking for topics they deem dangerous or any communication from conference organizers that doesn’t align with their political ideology. 

But the new majority isn’t just content to filter information for our students and teachers. They even reach back into the past to rescind resolutions passed by former board members, including the Resolution Against Racism and Discrimination and a statement about private school vouchers draining money from public schools. Then they spark an uproar by eliminating elective classes, then pivot when they receive national backlash. In both cases, they ignored the majority of community input as they acted.

This isn’t what conservative looks like. It isn’t tradition or small, local government, and it certainly isn’t a preservation of free speech. This is what it looks like when corporate interests with national political strategists and deep pockets disrupt our local government. * 

We need every willing parent and community member to spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tell your family members and your coworkers. And help us mobilize to defend our public schools! Follow us on our socials and share our content. Then volunteer or donate. Give our kids a fighting chance.

Author: Jamie Martin



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