To borrow from the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to government under Governor Bevin.
In just three short years, Governor Bevin has transformed Frankfort from a place where Kentuckians from all walks of life could peaceably assemble, peaceably exercise their right to free speech, and peaceably assemble to petition the government to redress their grievances, into an armed palace, a palace where only the few friends of the governor dare tread. In just three short years, Governor Bevin has transformed Frankfort into a place where Kentuckians are banned from the capitol building, banned from the governor’s office, and even banned from following Governor Bevin’s social media by anyone who would dare criticize him.
In the past few weeks, the war against teachers has been elevated to an unprecedented level by several despots appointed by Governor Bevin. The education secretary, and now the labor secretary, have elevated their limited statutory and administrative powers as they have trampled on the constitutional rights of teachers under the First Amendment of the United States constitution, and by extension, the constitutional rights of parents, school children and anyone else who might dare challenge Governor Bevin’s quest for charter schools.
In Governor Bevin’s world, a world where he has surrounded himself with a handful of loyal palace guards willing to do his bidding, it really doesn’t matter what happens to the future of Kentucky’s public schools, or for that matter Kentucky’s pubic school children. In Governor Bevin’s world, he knows that he won’t be around when the public schools collapse as the next generation of teachers choose other opportunities, opportunities where these dedicated educators will no longer have to endure the condemnation and criticism of Governor Bevin. In Governor Bevin’s world, it really doesn’t matter if public education in Kentucky is destroyed, as long as Governor Bevin gets his charter schools, in his mind he wins.
The rhetorical questions which all Kentuckians must ask themselves is what happens if we fail to stand with teachers; then who is next? If we fail to stand with teachers; then who will be willing to teach? If we fail to stand with teachers; then who will be left to teach? The answer to those rhetorical questions is that if we fail to stand with teachers, we are destined to repeat history, and in the familiar words of Edmund Burke, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
So, in the end, the rhetorical question which all Kentuckians need to ask themselves is what can be done to end the tyrannical reign of Governor Bevin, and the tyrannical reign of the other despots Governor Bevin has appointed to transform public education in Kentucky? What can be done is that Kentucky’s 44,000 public school teachers and their families, the families of the more than 656000 public school students, and all Kentucky voters who will no longer tolerate a governor who governs through fear and intimidation, is that they can exercise the right to vote, a right which even Governor Bevin and his appointed despots cannot deny Kentuckians. Remember, when Governor Bevin is voted out of office, not only will his tyrannical reign end, the tyrannical reign of his appointed despots will also end.
So, as you consider the future of Kentucky’s public schools, the future of Kentucky’s public-school children, consider the words of Horace Mann, known as the father of American education, when he said, "Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the condtions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery." The future of public education, this great equalizer, is now in the hands of the voters, voters who can choose to extend, or end, the tyrannical reign of Governor Bevin.
So, as I often do, I would invite all Kentuckians who want to end the tyrannical reign of Governor Bevin and his appointed despots, to join me on my imaginary mountaintop, no better yet, this time I would invite all Kentuckians who want to end the tyrannical reign of Governor Bevin to join me at the polling booths all across Kentucky, a place where Kentuckians can cast their votes for freedom, or they can cast their votes to continue the reign of this tyrannical governor.
Mark Wohlander, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, and an advocate for public education, practices law in Lexington, Kentucky and throughout the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Other of Mark’s columns and Liberty prints are available at www.fivesmoothstonesky.com.