Today, I finally found the best place to announce my candidacy for the President of the United States. It happened at the annual fall conference of the West Virginia School Counselor Association. I know what you’re thinking: There are hardly any better places than Charleston, West Virginia to spontaneously get a presidential campaign rolling.
My presidential ambitions probably won’t get me into the next Democratic or Republican debates. In fact, after announcing my intentions and getting a few responsive chortles, none of the West Virginians EVER mentioned it the rest of the day. It was just like the fall of 1974, when, as a senior and captain of my high school football team, I tripped during the opening celebratory introductions and fell flat on my face. Being embarrassed, angry, and disoriented . . . I exited sideways through the tunnel of fans. It was a bad omen for our season; we lost all 10 games. The incident was so exquisitely humiliating that NO ONE, not my parents, not my friends, not my coaches, and not even my arch enemies, EVER spoke of it. Some things are best left in the past where they belong.
As a part of my presidential announcement, I shared my political platform.
The road to economic vitality . . .
The road to environmental sustainability . . .
The road to excellence in health care and social support programs . . .
And the road to good government . . . always has and always will run through education.
Education isn’t part of a civil society. It’s the essence of a civil society. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is peace. Knowledge is justice. Knowledge is dignity. Knowledge creates the awareness that makes all these things possible. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “I hold these truths to be self-evident.”
It may be no surprise to find out that I’ve made this speech before. Nobody ever really listens. But it might be a surprise to learn that way back in 1775, John Adams the great architect of the American Revolution (and our 2nd President), articulated a similar belief. He wrote:
“Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially for the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that to a humane and generous mind, NO EXPENSE FOR THIS PURPOSE WOULD BE THOUGHT EXTRAVAGANT” (McCullough, 2001, p. 103; the ALL CAPS are added for emphasis).
Even though they seemed unmoved by my campaign-launching announcement, in the moment, the West Virginians were fabulously supportive. That might have been because I promised, if elected, that I’d get them all the raises they deserve. They responded with applause. Now I understand why being a politician is linked to lying. I liked it when they clapped. I was tempted to keep on lying to keep them clapping.
But they do deserve raises. And their students deserve more school counselors. We have too little funding for schools ACROSS THE BOARD. So, why hasn’t that come up in any presidential debates? Why don’t any American politicians currently view the value of education as self-evident? Do Americans REALLY THINK we can perpetually underfund education and maintain health, humanity, and a functional government? I hope not. We can’t.
But the real purpose of this blog post—other than to kick-start my campaign donations—is to say thanks to the superb school counselors of West Virginia. It was a great day. It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with you. In particular, I owe BIG THANKS to Iestyn Bright and Christine Schimmel for making my appearance in Charleston possible.
And so, in conclusion, the keynote powerpoints are available here: WVSCA No Photos
And the break out session powerpoints are here: How to Listen for WVSCA No Photos
And a selfie of me with my new presidential campaign staff is here:
4 thoughts on “Take Me Home, West Virginia (and the platform for my presidential campaign)”
Great post John, thanks.
I’d like to say that I’d vote for you John…and I’m not even an American. 🙂
Very similar issues here with Australian politicians, their lies and lack of educational funding (to name just one important area lacking, like mental health). Maybe it’s a worldwide political trend?
The only other point I’d like to make regarding knowledge being power…is that sometimes just having the best available knowledge is not enough (think of all the smokers out there who KNOW what they’re doing to their body). We also need education on how to use that knowledge.
I totally agree with your point about deficiencies in the application of knowledge.
It’s nice to know I’ve got the Australian vote.
I’m a high school school counselor in WV, and I loved hearing you speak on topics that are actually useful! I even found myself wanting more from you on your session on how to talk to parents, everything was spot on. Thank you again for attending our conference, I believe everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves; I know my team and I did. You have our vote!
-Meaghan Jarrell, WV
Thanks for your positive and kind feedback. I’m very happy to hear that you and your team found the information USEFUL because that’s one of my big hopes. There’s a chance I’ll be coming for a return visit and, if so, I’ll look forward to seeing you then. Sincerely, John SF