Alliance for the Separation of School & State
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The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 5, June 1996

Separation speech provokes tears and laughter

A view from the seats

by Edi Swearingen

It was an evening of laughter, seriousness, insight and out-of-sight company. Saturday, April 27, 1996, we were invited by our friend Marshall Fritz to attend the Ohio State Libertarian Party Fundraising Banquet, held in Cincinnati. It was a full house and my husband and I and a friend were blessed to be Marshall's guests. It was a wonderful turnout and an exciting evening.

Marshall was the banquet speaker, addressing what I believe is one of the fundamental hurdles we must overcome to survive as a nation and raise our children to be positive additions to society. He spoke of the solution, "Why The Separation of School and State is Closer Than You Think." Another notable attendee was Steve Dasbach, national chairman of the Libertarian Party.

With a speech very well received, Marshall drew many laughs from the crowd, as well as a few gasps when presenting some hard facts about the tax-funded public schools. There were times when I hoped I was not the only one holding back a tear as he spoke about "race-normed discipline," and the horrible realization of what is being taught about sex to some children (e.g. "outercourse") and other harsh realities. He told ussome of the signs that the "public schooling" system is weakening, that teachers in the system are despairing, even desperate, and he described the process for change and what to expect to come from that change. For me, this was an awakening experience.

This function was a personal first for me. Attending a Libertarian Party gathering was an unexpected treat. Not only did I learn more than one person should in an evening, the context of the meeting sparked several hours of conversation after our departure. The main topic centered on, "What can we do to insure a safe, happy, fulfilling education for all children?"

This question was answered for me that Saturday evening in April as we, and many others in attendance, showed our support by signing the Proclamation and acknowledging that the future of this country is ultimately in our hands. I was amazed at the support I saw for a movement like separating school and state, that I hadn't taken notice of before. It makes perfect sense and so the people there proclaimed their support one after another.

As these ideas of separating school and state continue to move forward, we were advised to expect and endure in good spirits the attacks, lies and ridicule that will be heaped upon us. But what could we not withstand for this tremendous cause and, more importantly, our children? That is the real question. My hope is that the answer is "Nothing!"

Edi Swearingen is married to Varrin Swearingen, an airline pilot and former student of Marshall Fritz.

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