State of the Union within Butler County, Ohio: Playing the right chess game

I talk to a lot of people over the course of a week, and if I went to everything I was invited to I’d never have time for everything if I even tried. But because of the festivities of last week, I did make an exception which put me in contact with several people I haven’t spoken to for quite a while so this is a kind of the “state of the union” within the Lakota school district and Butler County politics in general and what comes next as Donald Trump moves into his first week as president of the United States.  My purpose is to keep it general because that’s all that’s necessary—as I don’t want to put people on the spot after they’ve shared some good food and a few drinks with me—because the details are what’s important.

I will say that the current Vice President and the President of the Lakota School Board told me directly that they have no intention of putting a tax increase on the ballot until the 2022 time-frame which sounded good to me. They were very proud of a union contract they just signed where they were able to balance the books somewhat surprisingly–so they deserve some credit—both the union and the school board.  That kind of thing makes me happy with all sides involved.  Just because the union worked with the school board for a change at Lakota—it doesn’t make me like labor unions any more—but it makes me hate them less—which is a good thing.  As long as they aren’t asking for more money and are striving to educate kids properly, I can support Lakota schools in the role they play as a public school—people use the service and get what they get.  It was nice to get along with members of the Lakota School Board for a change—and it was nice to see that they have come a long way over the last decade from what they were.  Hopefully that trend continues and they won’t overpay for the next Superintendent—because they are looking for one now.  (Hint, bring Spurlock back for a fraction of the cost—or someone of that caliber.)

As I listened to all the education talk I couldn’t help but think that Betsy Devos from the Trump administration will have an impact on how education is funded, how strong the unions are in public education, and what the emphasis will be—so by 2022 education will be a very different place in America and I suspect by the current trend line that it will be better—and cheaper. The per pupil cost now is just too expensive for what we are getting and that is likely to change dramatically under Betsy at the federal level.  She’s an education activists with access to deep pockets and a president who supports her—so there isn’t any reason she won’t be somewhat successful, and if she gets just a little of what she wants education will be changed forever—for the better.

The other thing is the Margy Conditt seat that is coming up and I won’t mention the names, but they know who they are. As conservatives and Tea Party people, if everyone were as perfect as one mind playing chess with many enemies who were vanquished over the last 7 years, these same people would do well not to get cocky and think that that coalition will hold up under the strain of competition.  I would move my rook into the governorship by the mid 2020s and I’d keep my queen on the inside for an election term and discover how things change under Trump then I’d move her against the opposition at that time.  Remember—in chess—rooks move in straight lines.  They cannot move diagonally, so use them wisely.  Also remember, queens in chess are most effective when they are in the center of the board.  So put them there so that more moves are available depending on what the enemy does.  But if the chess pieces change sides and work against each other then the entire game changes and that isn’t a predictable outcome.  The best thing to do is for these various chess pieces to continue doing what they have for the last several years and support each other for the obvious checkmate that is inevitable against the radicalized left.

Now to those within Southern Ohio that were nice enough to extend nice offers to the Trump Inauguration. I appreciated it, but my wife and I didn’t go because honestly, unless I could get a seat in the VIP area, I wasn’t about to meander away in the crowd where even Diamond and Silk had to watch from the pit.  They stayed at the Trump International Hotel, but were in the pit with everyone else which looked great for the cameras, but that’s not me.  My wife is kind of a girlie girl and proud of it, and I don’t put her in circumstances where conflict with anarchists might become a problem.  I have no problem dealing with those kind of losers, but I don’t put my wife in those circumstances—so we stayed home for the inauguration.  I enjoyed the festivities of the inauguration from my home county and that was enough for me.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, but even so, there were a lot of people at the inauguration and that was impressive.  Since I wasn’t at the balls talking to some of the national people directly I’d say this to them, be cool.  The political left has already lost.  They showed their ass on Saturday and the more they do things like that, the more mainstream Americans will turn away from them.  If Trump continues to show a quality side of himself as an administration keeping the bar high in every regard the political left will wither away like a flower after the first frost of autumn.

Yet even with these obvious victories well in hand, if we change our approach and start getting defensive, or allow ourselves to be divided in any way—the gains we’ve made will swing back in the other direction. So if everyone wants to keep the victories going, keep doing what you’ve been doing.  Work with the people you have and stay on target.  Forget about making politics a career and don’t look to it for personal enhancement in any way.  Let the chess pieces do what they are good at and spend the energy in the proper direction.

This is all just some friendly advice. We are looking at for the first time in American history a new day in politics and the philosophies that follow—and to keep that momentum, we shouldn’t take our foot off the petal in any way.  Good things do happen when the chess game is played properly, even if the people you’re playing against don’t know what game they are playing—is it “tick, tack, toe,” or a crossword puzzle.  Let them think what they want so long as we move the bishops in the right direction while protecting the queen so that the king splits that tactical objective and divides the forces of the other side.  You have to play the game you’re good at so that the right strategy gets implemented—and that is what we should all do going into these next few months and years.  And the first step is in playing the game the way we have.  Why change perfection?

Rich Hoffman


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