To the editor:

To say that I am incredulous and feeling gut-punched by the article “County wants partisan school board elections” (Nov. 18 News-Topic) would be an understatement! When will this cult-like devotion to a political party end? What’s next? ... segregated public bathrooms, those for Republicans and those for Democrats, so those of us who choose to be “unaffiliated” can squat in a ditch by the road as penance for paying no fealty to a specific political doctrine? Besides school boards and judgeships, insistence that our small towns also must run partisan races? Do our county commissioners believe that we are incapable of reading a newspaper or posted candidate information, to come to our own conclusions? Maybe that IS the point … to herd folks into their political postures, without question.

Truly, as a military veteran who served in an apolitical environment, and also having served as a public school classroom teacher for decades, I have learned that one of the tenets of good leadership is noting through another person’s actions where that person’s values lie. I had “Methodist” on my dog tags but never questioned the patriotism of another Marine who professed to be Catholic or Jewish, or any other religious faith. I knew those standing by me would have my back. In my classroom and amongst my teaching peers, students and staff could tell by my actions that I knew my subject content and taught the curriculum. They could trust my authenticity.

Does it matter that a commissioner publicly admits that “divisiveness is a real problem,” states that he personally does not feel strongly about seeking partisan labels in school board races, but then votes for a resolution that would create obstacles for an unaffiliated candidate? Yes, it does. Only 39 out of 114 school districts choosing to have partisan school board races is NOT a majority. ”Multiple phone calls” does not in any way equate with proper public notification and discourse on such an important decision.

I am weary of so many things … heated election rhetoric and a deadly virus that has taken away many planned celebrations, travel, even those things we took for granted such as grocery shopping. But I am an optimist at heart, as I see friends and family members “stepping up” in their roles as teachers, ministers, police, fire, and EMT workers … the scientists and medical workers around the entire globe doing their best as new information and medical treatments help to guide their best practices. Many of our small towns have felt sick at heart over decisions to curtail local festivities … but took seriously their role to provide the safest environment possible for their constituents. We are grateful that you know us well enough personally to make well-researched, difficult choices. When trust has been established in “good times,” trust will remain in “trying times.” “In God We Trust” is fitting at this time of Thanksgiving. May politicians never forget who actually is in charge of this world!

Kathleen Mitchell