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Updated: Feb 29

Title: The Devil Doesn’t Swear an Oath, Hippocratic or Otherwise

The Hippocratic Oath was named for Hippocrates of Kos, a.k.a. Hippocrates II.  As well as being known as the “Father of Medicine,” he was also known as “The Great Hippocrates,” according to Aristotle. 

Hippocrates was a Greek Physician of the classical era and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in medical history, he made many lasting contributions to the medical field.

A few of his contributions are as follows:

  • Prognosis

  • Clinical Observation

  • Systematic Categorization of Diseases

  • Humoral Theory

The Hippocratic School of Medicine made medicine a discipline distinct from other fields with which it had traditionally been associated, such as philosophy, essentially establishing medicine as a profession.

Before I get to the reason, I’m writing this, I want you to think of all the things we are still learning regarding the medical profession more than 2,400 years after his death. Without the want and need to educate ourselves, just think of where we’d be right now.

Now, on to the point of why I’m writing this blog update. You’ll note the title of this update, “The Devil Doesn’t Swear an Oath, Hippocratic or Otherwise.”

The Hippocratic Oath is rather long, so I’ll not linger on the whole thing. Instead, I will boil it down to two sentences, that explain how I believe it ties it to any oath taken when one is sworn into public office, especially a school board position.

The two sentences in question appear back to back in separate paragraphs but go together. The first sentence states, “I will do no harm or injustice to them.” The second one states, “Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.

That said, I was recently approached regarding a situation that has arisen in the news surrounding an after-school Satanic club.  (, and I was asked if I would support something like this, and my response was a resounding NO.

Just Say NO to Evil!

As a member of the Sullivan County School Board, it should go without saying that I will also "do no harm or injustice," to anyone, nor will I allow any poison to be administered to our public schools, which a club glorifying Satan would surely do.

I will not support or remotely ask anyone to sponsor, support, or join a club that celebrates or promotes the worship of Satan, or any other evil deity for that matter. I get that the 1st Amendment to the Constitution may technically or arguably allow for this type of after-school club, but as an elected official, I believe it would be my job to work towards bettering society, and standing strong against that which would only serve to destroy our society. If it were to come to pass that a court ordered something to the contrary, my response would be simple, you have your court order, now try to enforce it. I would hope that no legitimate law enforcement official in Sullivan County would enforce such a thing, but we would have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

That said, I'm not saying I'm going to violate anyone's 1st Amendment rights, as it would also run contrary to the 1st Amendment. However, there's nothing that states that I have to support this type of club, and I certainly wouldn't nor would I ask others to do so either, as I stated.

The role of our schools should be to mold young and impressionable minds positively, not warp and destroy them. So, to me, when the evil busybodies come around to try and inflict their vile and evil agenda onto the youth of our county, I’ll stand as a bulwark, with my feet firmly planted like a responsible person should, not unlike the Pillars of Hercules against such evil.

The term “not on my watch” will mean something!


Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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  • Writer's pictureTodd McKinley

Updated: Mar 6

Title: More than just a swimming pool!

For starters, this is by no means an attack on any of the great people associated with West Ridge. I believe those folks would agree that questions from the public should be answered by their elected representatives. If not, then those representatives are not doing a good job of representing the public, but instead representing their interest(s) and those of a select few. As for myself, I will not represent the interests of a few, but those of ALL voters and residents of the 5th Sullivan County Board of Education District.

Believe me, I’m fully aware of the slings and arrows that are about to come my way once certain people read this blog update. To me, a good representative doesn’t shy away from answering or asking the hard tough questions and they must say to heck with the consequences of what some people might say. Instead, they should drive on and do the right things anyway, which is what I will do once elected, God willing.

The swimming pool, or lack thereof at West Ridge, hasn’t been one of the big questions I’ve received thus far. Regardless, it’s still an important issue to discuss, especially given the astronomical $11 million price tag we’re hearing. This is outrageous, especially considering this was part of the original plan in the first place until somehow it wasn’t. Also, funds were set aside to build one after the fact, until they were somehow reappropriated - or misappropriated in my book.

To quote The Big Lebowski, “Where’s the money?” 

Before delving further into the questions about a swimming pool, I think the public should be asking the following questions.

1.)    Why was the process of building West Ridge initially such a secret?

2.)    Why has the process of closing various schools in recent years been so secretive?

3.)    Why hasn’t there been accountability for all the money that was spent on West Ridge?

4.)    Who secretly profited off West Ridge?

According to many reliable sources, there was under-the-table money and kickbacks. I’m not making allegations directed at any one person, but these are questions and concerns brought up by many in recent years. I get it, some of it might very well be hearsay from those who either were or are still upset, but many of these people are honest and reliable, and it’s because of those good people that I bring all of this up here.

Now, I’m not one to put much stock in hearsay or nonsensical conspiracy theories, but I can say if the public is concerned about certain issues, then as their elected representative I’ll be concerned about those issues as well.

That said, when it comes to an $11 million pool, with the cost-benefit analysis not favoring such an expenditure at present, it’s a non-starter for me at the moment. I say that because many other problems and concerns need to be addressed first well before we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on something that 99.99% of the public isn’t asking for.

I certainly realize the merits of having a pool, not just for a swim team and those who might compete at a West Ridge pool from time to time. There are several public programs to consider. I remember going to the Sullivan North pool in the summer when I was very young. I remember the swimming classes that my late mother enrolled me and my brother in. I remember like it was yesterday- swimming nearly 3/4th of the length of the pool underwater without coming up for a breath and winning a tootsie roll. So I have sentimental reasons for wanting a pool, but sentimentality has no place in fair and rational decisions, especially when it comes to spending the taxpayer’s money.

More About My Campaign

Please put the following link in your favorites at least until August 1st as I’ll certainly be adding more blog updates between now and then.

Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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  • Writer's pictureTodd McKinley

Updated: Feb 29

Title: School Choice vs School Vouchers

To quote a line from President Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” given at Rice University on September 12th, 1962, “In an age of both knowledge and ignorance, the greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.”


“Why did he start with that quote” you might be asking. It’s simple. We, contemporary humans, truly do live “in an age of knowledge and ignorance” except it seems that society currently allows our ignorance to stifle our knowledge. However, we can change that by placing more emphasis on commonsense education policies, and that’s for beginners.


Making Public Education Work


Given that I’m running for the Sullivan County School Board in District 5, I want to see our public schools prosper and those who graduate from our schools flourish and succeed.


This starts by working to improve and strengthen our public schools. This can be accomplished not simply by throwing money at the problem(s), but by understanding our shortcomings and finding real solutions, not one-size-fits-all solutions. We need to begin by hiring and retaining the best teachers and administrators, which requires adequate pay and benefits. It also requires removing the “woke agenda,” national teachers unions, the federal Department of Education (which should be abolished), and other such nonsense from our schools once and for all.


Simultaneously, we must allow teachers and schools to innovate, to find ways (new & old) to reach students, as well as provide a curriculum that sets our students up to be successful in the world, they’re likely to find, instead of trying to indoctrinate them or teaching to a standardized test.


I can say that I’m ready to do my part. I’m ready to be a bulwark against bad ideas, be they from the left or the right.   


When it comes to “School Choice” and “School Vouchers,” local School Board Members have no say, besides (perhaps) passing a nonbinding resolution expressing their thoughts, and of course voting for State Legislators like every other voter, as this is a matter that will be decided in Nashville, not the Sullivan County School Board. However, since I’ve had many questions when it comes to school choice and school vouchers, in my book, the two aren’t precisely the same things, but I wanted to go on the record here.


School Choice vs School Vouchers


To me, school choice is a basic freedom. In other words, a person’s school shouldn’t necessarily be determined by one’s physical address, especially if the school the government says one must attend is failing or doesn’t meet the needs of the student(s) and their families. In other words, parents should be able to send their kids to any public school in their home county, (which is a thing in Tennessee, but the parent must plan for transportation,) not just the one in their given school district. It also means that parents may homeschool or send their kids to a private school provided they’re accepted.


As a Commonsense, Constitutional Conservative, and a Republican, this boils down to exercising one’s “inalienable rights,” which are spelled out in the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”


Before delving into school vouchers, I want to say that taxpayer dollars should never support illegal immigrants (which is the legal term), the “woke agenda,” such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), social-emotional learning, or any revisional history, and that’s for starters.  


In Tennessee, when it comes to vouchers, we’re hearing a lot about the Governor’s education “freedom” plan. We’re also hearing some Republicans say that the state should attach oversight strings for homeschoolers in exchange for taxpayer dollars, which should be a non-starter. I say nonstarter because governments have no business getting in the business of home or private schools, even if school vouchers are used, after all the parents of the kids who attend these types of schools are also taxpayers in one way or another.


In other words, there’s no such thing as “government” money, it’s money that was first taken from the citizens or other areas. When I hear a politician in Tennessee talk about “government money,” I think I’m hearing a Congressional Democrat speaking on the U.S. House floor, and not a Tennessee Representative in Nashville. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe we shouldn’t have a government or public schools, it does mean that we should have a government that works for the people, instead of against them. And when it comes to education, that means local school boards working with parents, teachers, school administrators, and the local community all the time, and with the state in a positive cohesive manner when it makes sense.


Mind you, not everyone who homeschools or sends their children to a private school ever requests or uses any type of voucher. This could be due to many reasons. Regardless, the process should be open and honest, and nothing should be kept secret from the public. As JFK put it, “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.”


As for me, I’ll not be secretive, I believe the amount of money parents receive should be equal to the amount paid per student within their given school district, nothing more, which is a wash for the local school, in other words, they lose one student, they lose the funding for that one student, which is fair.


I don’t believe any government be it local, state, or federal should stick their beaks into the business of private or homeschools. Think about it. With many failing public schools outside Sullivan County, and school systems, why would we allow the government to ruin those schools as well? Instead, they should first focus on making government-funded schools work.


Bottom Line


I’m committed to making our Sullivan County Schools work for everyone, but that doesn’t give me any authority over home or private schools. If you don’t like what the Tennessee State Legislature is going to roll out, may I suggest voting this August for a state legislator who shares your beliefs and values on this topic? This means getting involved politically to find candidates who’ll do all they can to make the right decisions, and less government interference is always the right call.



Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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