It’d be a really bad joke, if only it wasn’t real.
The death knell of democracy in America has rung, and her name is Betsy DeVos.
It’s not exactly a secret DeVos essentially bought her position as secretary of education. She has no educational degree that qualifies her for the seat, no past experience, no work teaching. She’s never had a student loan or even family members who had student loans. What she does have, however, is money. And having given it generously to the GOP over the decades paid off. It bought her favor with Donald Trump, who’s made his cabinet picks largely out of ‘yes’-men and money givers. People, in essence, who stroke his ego.
The fact that Trump is a horrendous, bigoted, egotistical Cheeto-dusted troll of a man who’s swiftly burning America to the ground isn’t news, though. That alone isn’t what’s made the Economist Intelligence Unit demote America from a full democracy to a flawed democracy for the first time in history. It isn’t enough to kill off the country.
Before she was given the seat, DeVos had to undergo a confirmation hearing. This is the time where the Senate members get to interrogate the nominee to confirm their qualifications and express any questions or concerns they may have. DeVos’s hearing was almost comically terrible. It became increasingly clear she had absolutely no idea what the position entailed and refused to commit to anything remotely resembling an educational position. The only things that were clear were that she was in favor of private vouchers, intended on pushing Christian schooling, and that she’s Donald Trump’s puppet.
What killed democracy before she even won the nomination, is how close the vote was. It’s not unusual for Senate votes to split on party lines. GOP candidates will vote to nominate a Republican candidate, Democrats will do the same for their nominee. But this shouldn’t have been a party line vote. She’s not qualified. She just isn’t. It’s not a matter for debate. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, she couldn’t answer basic questions about the job, something that was obvious during the confirmation hearing even with the unprecedented limitations on time and questions the Senate was allowed.
Republicans and Democrats should have been all over this. It should have been an overwhelming ‘no’. She can’t do this job, a fact made hilariously clear on this regime’s fave platform, Twitter.
Not only did the new Department of Education fail to correctly spell the name of an educational icon, they misspelled apologize in their own apology. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.
The swing of the axe on American democracy was the moment when Republicans looked at this woman, understood she was in no way capable of doing this job, and nominated her anyway. Because they needed to toe the party line. Because Trump demanded it. Because they no longer carry even the pretense of catering to American voters and instead have bowed down to kiss the boots of our small-handed dictator.
Only two Republicans refused to vote for DeVos, and given the GOP majority in the Senate, that put the vote at an even tie. In the event of a tie, the vice president gets to choose the winner, and as a homophobic bigot who’s determined to make his country a Christian one, naturally he was in favor of putting someone in the seat who was both willing to follow his regime’s commands and too stupid to know how to game the system for herself.
It’s done. The head of democracy has been severed from our country. The next four years were always going to be excruciating, but the inevitable damage to the American educational system, the long-lasting effects this will have on both the way schools are taught and funded, and on our children, will last much, much longer.
Comment: What’s your reaction to Betsy DeVos’s appointment?