by Stuart Egan (Caffeinated Rage)
Dear Lt. Gov. Forest,
On my way to and from the public school where I teach, I see collections of your campaign signs grouped together at certain interchanges that cleverly repeat a line made famous by the Oscar Award winning film Forrest Gump – “Run, Forrest! Run!”
Take away an “r” and you have a clever campaign slogan. But it is not accurate. Nor is it appropriate given the context of both the movie and your actions.
So I want to suggest some possible, more accurate, slogans.
“Fund, Forest! Fund!”
Every time I see your signs I am reminded of the movie Forrest Gump because Forrest needed special attention in school as he was “differently-abled.” I believe your championing of charter schools and of vouchers would be as hard for Forrest’s mother (although fictional) as it is for me – a parent, voter, and teacher.
My wife and I have two children, one of whom has Trisomy 21, commonly known as Down Syndrome. Like any concerned parents of a child with special needs, we investigated all possible avenues for his early education. We were fortunate that a family member was willing to pay for tuition at any institution in the area if it meant that our son could have the best start to his academic journey, one which will probably take different routes than typical children.
No private school in our area would take him. They said that they did not have the resources. They exercised a freedom because they felt that they could not be accountable for his progress. They took security in knowing that they could choose whom to be accountable for when it comes to academic achievement.
Even the charter schools that existed would not take him. None were prepared to do so. So we sent him to his neighborhood public school.
And he has thrived. Why? Teachers. Teachers who loved him and wanted him to succeed before they even met him. They did not choose to have him as a student; they already wanted to have him as a student. But they are having a harder time being able to secure resources because you and others are intent on the use of vouchers and charter schools that siphon tax-payer money away from traditional schools which are still held accountable for his progress. Even the academic endowment fund you created is keeping money from being used for kids like Forrest Gump and like mine.
“Repeal, Forest! Repeal”
Your ardent support of HB2 has been very apparent since the divisive law came into effect. By throwing out a red herring of an emotional appeal, you have successfully helped North Carolina become a state of regression.
You said following PayPal’s announcement not to expand in NC back in April,
“If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it. “North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless.”
That’s a bold statement in defense of our women and children.
Since then, North Carolina has lost millions of dollars in lost revenue and it will only get worse as the NCAA and the ACC have removed championship games from our state’s venues. That means that we won’t be able to say “Run, Athletes! Run!” when championship season comes around. It also means that we won’t be able to get the “Revenues, Forest! Revenues!”
“Renounce, Forest! Renounce!”
In July, you spoke to a loud crowd in Raleigh in support of Trump when he was campaigning here. Considering that your support for HB2 has hinged on protecting women and children in bathrooms and presumably locker rooms, it would seem odd that you still would support Trump given his comments on a released tape concerning “locker-room” talk that literally speaks of sexually assaulting women.
If you need to review Trump’s “locker-room” words, you can hear them on this link.
Ironically, it seems that if you are so intent on saving women and children from predation as you have said in the past, you would renounce your endorsement of a man who clearly testifies to committing those actions. Either that, or you are not really sincere in your vow to protect women and children.
As Trump is calling all of the republicans “hypocrites” for renouncing his candidacy in the wake of his latest scandal, I believe it would be hypocritical of you to not speak out against him considering that you have led a crusade for the very people Trump brags about assaulting.
“Grammar, Forest! Grammar!”
Your campaign slogan as it is written on the tour bus and your signs is actually a grammatical error because you are interrupting an imperative sentence and then creating a fused sentence with yet another imperative. There is a natural pause that is needed when you insert the name “Forest” after the first verb, hence the need for a comma. You then have another imperative sentence following that needs to be separated as an independent clause, therefore the need for ending punctuation like a period or exclamation point.
Since you are on the State Board of Education, it might set a good example to use good grammar, usage, (Oxford comma emphasized) and mechanics in all communications.
“Revise, Forest! Revise!”
But while grammar is important to make sure what you say is communicated well, you might want to consider revising what you say because the content in this case is more important than the punctuation. And the content of your words and actions speak very loudly.
Stuart Egan blogs at Caffeinated Rage.