Betsy DeVos

I went to public school. When taxes were high, there was enough paper for the mimeo machine and Mr. McCann taught music in the basement.

We pledged allegiance, learned that anybody could be President, but it don’t really happen that way at all anymore.

Ever get the feeling the game is rigged? Those who voted for Trump famously say this, but I feel this way too. I grew up and never saw a Ferrari. An exotic vacation was a family trip on Eastern Airlines to Florida, a journey I never took, and we all agreed that Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor were speaking the truth.

Of course there was that blip on the radar screen called the Vietnam War, and as one got older it scared the living daylights out of you, because you realized you might get your ass shot off in an unjustified meaningless conflict, but LBJ countered his aggression with his Great Society plan and even Richard Nixon opened China and now I’m looking for the silver lining in Trump’s victory and I can’t find one.

I know, he won, we lost. I got it. Fair and square. I won’t even complain about the Comey letter or Russian hacking. Hell, I won’t even bring up the lopsided popular vote. But I will bring up gerrymandering. Where Democrats win the House but lose it. Where Republicans lose their seats to right wing zealots. Where our country is pulled in a direction where it’s every man for himself, women and minorities are second-class citizens, and the rich run herd over the rest of us.

Amway is a pyramid scheme. And its heir, with no experience in public education, seemingly no experience in education at all, is now in charge of the learning of the nation’s students. Expect the gap to get bigger. Expect the disadvantaged to fall further behind. Meanwhile, all the blame is heaped upon the backs of unions.

Did I have lousy teachers in school? Of course! Did people get tenure who I wish had not? Of course! But please explain to me what society you want, one in which no one can ever lose their job or a pure meritocracy with no safety net.

The truth is there are inefficiencies in all businesses. Money falls through the cracks. But there’s a fiction that when it comes to government, all dollars must be accounted for, spent wisely, or else the beast needs to be starved.

Well, education is being starved right now.

I went to one of America’s finest colleges. My father paid full freight. And the truth is that although I learned tons outside of the classroom, the teachers I had in my public high school were more influential. Mrs. Hurley taught me to challenge authority. Mr. Harrity taught me how to write. Mrs. Spitalny took a student with a progress report in Algebra, who was doing it by trial and error, and made him the smartest guy in the class, with an A+ in both Geometry and Alegbra II. And none of these educators got rich, they were doing it for the love of inspiring students.

And there was no religious instruction. And we thought that the world was our oyster.

And today most students cannot contain two opposing thoughts in their brain at the same time. They don’t know how to analyze a situation. The focus is on creating automatons who can perform on the test when the truth is education should be about developing the person, making not only good workers, but good contributors, people who make our society whole.

But a segment of the population wants to leave the rest behind. Take their God and their privilege to create private enclaves where the rest of us are left out and told either to follow in lockstep or be forgotten.

How did we get here? Where everybody believes they’re entitled to every dollar they make and the general good is irrelevant, where those who triumphed financially believe they can run herd over those of us who have not?

So the same Republicans who fought Trump now support him.

And the President is a one man disinformation campaign.

And there’s no accountability because the proletariat can’t understand the issues and isn’t paying attention anyway.

We are in this together folks. And the best candidate for a job may be a woman. But not this woman.

P.S. We may be winning the immigration battle, but not only have we lost the education battle, but we’re going down for the count on financial issues and truth just went out the window. And if you wonder how the President can lie and get away with it I’ll point to an entertainment industry that lies for a living, which the news media does not call them on, busy boosting their false heroes. All those shows the newspaper says sell out? Oftentimes they do not. But if the media can’t get it right on the small stuff, what are the odds it can get it right on the big stuff? What are the odds that an abused public is gonna be outraged when a President spews falsehoods when everybody is lying and cheating to get ahead? Bill Gates is a national hero, yet Microsoft succeeded by charging for Windows whether it was installed or not.

P.P.S. It can’t happen here, but it has. Ever since election day I’ve been in a black mood. And I understand those who voted for Trump out of frustration with the status quo, but this guy has thrown the baby out with the bathwater, he’s a bull in a china shop. And if you think he’s making you more safe, getting you a better job with a higher wage, keeping the immigrant from taking your gig, then you should have lobbied your congressperson to vote against DeVos, because you got a bad education, you can’t see that they want your support, but they don’t want you, you’re just a pawn in their game.

P.P.P.S. The only way we can reach the vast swath of voters and change this country’s direction is via entertainment, because it’s the only thing people are paying attention to. It’s incumbent upon movies, television and musicians and other artists to stand up and speak truth. But they’re all silent, because they’re afraid of jeopardizing their income. Tech companies lobby against immigration nonsense, musicians sign sponsorship deals. One can argue strongly that the plight of the native American didn’t reach national consciousness until Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather on stage to accept his Oscar. He was derided at the time, made fun of, but he brought the issue to a head. And his performance in the “Godfather” lives on while I challenge you to name the head of the Academy at that time, never mind the channel the show was broadcast on. You’ve got to start somewhere. There are more of us than them. Our only hope is to mobilize. This is a long hard slog that so far is going in the wrong direction and until you and me start standing up and organizing, we’re doomed.

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