He didn’t need to be recruited to run for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1992, nor even to seek out the groups or individuals who might be his allies in the fight. He just rode out onto the campaign trail with a message like an old circuit preacher in the 18th or 19th century. He didn’t “craft” a message, choose three topics to hammer exclusively, or create “sound bites.” He campaigned as if public offices would be won or lost in America by an open exchange of ideas, debated openly in public, for the citizens, who would vote accordingly. Think Lincoln/Douglas debates.
Jed Brown knew his subject.
When he could find an intellectual debate, he never lost. I never met a man more conversant about the mechanisms of education, the mechanisms of education administration, the mechanisms of political control of education or the mechanisms of deception that had permeated the politics of American education in the latter half of the 20thCentury. Confronted by professional prevaricators he usually could cite specific references from numerous sources disproving their fabrications.
I knew Jed Brown.
It was not until 1993 that I encountered him, as did other allies in the public education wars, who were fighting like grassroots guerillas to stave off the final, formal, forced transformation of public education from a system based on academic goals to a tool of indoctrination in socialism and sexual license via the omnibus Washington State “outcome-based-education” (OBE) destruction bill, HB1209. They were, to a woman, voracious researchers and found Jed in spite of himself.
It was all B.F. Skinner, explained Jed.
Behaviorist programming based on the agnostic psychologist’s work on the conditioning of rats in mazes. He understood, in great depth, from his Masters work at the U.W. and his Doctoral work at Stanford, as well as his own research, both the methods of manipulation that were to be employed to control the next generation’s minds, and the strategic objectives of the control, to produce “human resource material” for the New World Order, and he was well aware that it was diabolical.
We had all been shouting out the warning that the Education Establishment was consciously employing what has popularly been called the “dumbing-down” of America. Jed pointed out that it began with the “dumbing-down” of the teaching profession.
Jed knew what to do about it.
He understood the curricula in use, and in circulation for use. He understood the mechanisms of legal and political control of Washington’s education system, the confusing myriad of overlapping jurisdictions, the Superintendent’s office, the local school boards and the unconstitutional Federal interventions. He understood the interface of public and private systems and the interdependency of all of the above with the legislature. He could tie opponents in knots.
I knew Jed’s potential.
Among the grassroots academic education movement I was uniquely experienced in the inner operation of the Republican Party and I knew what an incredible resource Jed was. Well spoken and articulate, a much better public speaker that at least half the candidates out there and intimately familiar with the subject. If we had had conservative leadership of the Republican Party we would have made him the next Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1996 and begun to turn the system around for the sake of our State’s children.
But we didn’t. We had Ken Eikenberry, a former State Attorney General who couldn’t follow the rules. And we had Rob McKenna, a future State Attorney General who was the chair of the Dole Presidential fortunes in Washington in 1996, as he was for McCain in 2008, and his ethics haven’t changed much.
Jed was not allowed to tell the Republican Party what he stood for in 1996.
McKenna made sure of that. Rob did everything he could to secure the Republican Nomination for SPI for one of his allies; a far-left, unethical RINO who actually FAVORED, worked for, and, as a State Legislator, helped VOTE-IN the mind-control social programming desecration of public education the whole grassroots base of the Party opposed: Chris Vance. (Vance would go on to finish third in that race and become State Party Chair, banning campaigning on conservative issues, implementing draconian censorship and organizing worse defeats for Republicans the longer he was in office. Thanks, Rob.)
Jed was not much impressed with the Republican Party.
He had not seen the wars grassroots conservatives had won in the past against Party Elite cheating. He did not know that the base would have made him their champion if given the chance, as they had done with Bob Williams, and Linda Smith, and Ellen Craswell, and as they did that very year, overcoming the GOP/unprincipled LEFT to leave Dole’s delegates at home in 1996 and send an overwhelming majority to the National Convention for Pat Buchanan.
People assume, and Jed assumed that the Republican Party is the compromising, directionless half-hearted corporate proxy the Party Bosses make it appear by their infidelity to our principles… and the fact that they chew up and spit out gems like Jed Brown.
Jed just went back out on the circuit with his message. And he was brilliant.
He talked to groups that would listen as long as he could afford the gas. He didn’t have fund raising and no support from any organized group. He had no advertising budget. He addressed a community group here, a candidate forum there. His campaign was only grassroots word of mouth.
In that 1996 race he was stabbed in the back by the Christian Coalition.
Jed did not favor “vouchers” as a solution for education (for one thing it was unconstitutional in Washington). The Coalition did. But he filled out their forms, writing responses and checking boxes. Shortly before the election they sent their guide out, but Jed’s answers had been literally falsified to distort his position in the two counties where he had the strongest support.
Jed caught it and demanded a correction.
They refused. Jed threatened to sue. They whined, “but, but, Christians don’t sue each other…” and continued to refuse to correct the mistake. Jed did not sue them. The Coalition was, however, shortly thereafter, removed, without hands, from the leadership of the conservative movement they had achieved in Washington State.
The real losers, defrauded between the unethical actions of the GOP and the Christian Coalition, were the people of the State of Washington, who, to this day, continue to pay more and more to teach their children less and less.
In more ways than one, Jed Brown was the answer.
But rejected. The only people who voted for Jed Brown were people who had heard his message, live, from Jed’s mouth. That was, as it happens, just about everyone who ever heard him speak about education; roughly seventy seven thousand people.
But they won’t get to hear him speak again.
Jed Brown passed away about 2AM, last Sunday after a battle with cancer. They say he just got more and more weary each day and finally went to sleep permanently.
He is survived by his parents, so your prayers for them are warranted, (what a loss) and his sister, and brother-in-law, his nephew, and niece, and her son, to all of whom go our heartfelt condolences. Jed is worth all our grief.
A memorial service will be held Sat. 9/12 at 1 p.m. at North Kitsap Baptist Church. Interment will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery in Ferndale, WA. An online memorial can be viewed at www.lewischapel.com.
Jed is also survived by his cohorts from those “education war” years, dynamic, independent, creative, intelligent and persevering. Pulling at the thread of Education, they unraveled (in research terms) much of the structure of the garment of tyranny that then, and now, threatens the Republic:
- Abrun McCarrow (who lived, confusingly enough, in Auburn and coined the hilarious term, “Vegesexual”)
- Don Finrow (who continues his research to this day and worked, in 2008, for Ron Paul)
- Chey Simonton (my sister-in-law and the originator of the “Kitchen Militias” of mom-activists)
- Katie Levans
- Sandy VanderBerg (who was the direct target of an illegal State of Washington attack on her freedom of the press)
- Chris Shardleman (who produced prodigious volumes of research and also worked, in 2008, for Ron Paul)
- Mike Sherstad (Brilliant and young, Mike won and defended a seat in the Washington State Legislature until he concluded he was beating his head against brick walls fruitlessly on behalf of a totally indifferent GOP elite) and
- Dale Anderson (who published a conservative newspaper, working uphill, as did they all, not only without the help of a conservative Party, but against the GOP’s frequent opposition).
It is testament to the substance of O. Jerome “Jed” Brown that he had such friends. His (and their) legacy includes a generational plurality of young people who were schooled at home and, consequently, were taught two to five times more than their publicly-schooled contemporaries.
Jed Brown was very comfortable in front of a crowd of politicians and attorneys in a tailored suit. But he appeared to be in his element wearing western boots and Levis.
We continually debated intellectual topics, but he was equally animated discussing the demands of painting a whole car with aerosol spray cans. He was very adept at completely destroying opponents intellectually, but what I (and I believe others) will remember most is his gentle and loving nature.
I pretend no “Special Revelation” of such things, but it would be my strong inclination to bet that Jed is, right now, riding the kind of mount that shames every horse you or I have ever seen. It is black. I believe he has conversed with Ellen and Jack Metcalf and the three of them have walked down the rocky path to the place where there is a great gulf fixed, across which they can see, but not reach, Jennifer Dunn and Veda Jellen and Joel Pritchard who await the addition, to their midst, in the near future, of Mssrs. Vance and McKenna.
It’s just how those groupings are done.
And I’m quite certain that I’ll talk to Jed Brown again and that we’ll have a great deal more time, then, to give to it.