American Shithole #8 — Betsy DeVos: Just Like Mom
by Eric Wilson
With the drubbing she’s received from her most recent interviews, Betsy DeVos may never willingly appear on camera again; although — lucky for her — there’s been another week of endless breaking news. She is literally ten breaking news flashes ago. CNN corporate, on Wednesday afternoon, changed its company name to EBN, Endless Breaking News.
In previous administrations, no one would survive after tanking it like DeVos did on national television — twice. Three times, really. So I suspect this week may be American Shithole’s last chance to shine a light on this administration’s plutocrangelic appointment for Secretary of Education, before she scurries back under the sacristy.
Like any other week, there was again a bevy of worthy topics to choose from:
Not the least of which is the decision of House Intelligence Committee majority republicans to end their investigation on collusion and Russian meddling. Republican congressmen — led by White House mole and guy most likely to cry first in prison, Devin Nunes — found no collusion or meddling. You don’t say?
The latest special election in Pennsylvania certainly deserves copy. Feel the blue tsunami people, make it happen. Early Wednesday and it’s still too close to call. I love the smell of republican butt-hurt in the morning! Wait, that doesn’t quite track right… Oh, the sweet November Rain!
Speaking of rain, tropical Stormy Daniels is about to make landfall on the White House lawn, and that’s a guaranteed money shot I plan on watching, rewinding and watching again, at least half a dozen times — her work often requires multiple viewings.
Ex-Russian spies are dropping like flies in London. Something is in the wind. My guess is Putin has knowledge of information trying to reach the west. He is eliminating possible middle-men that would be trusted to broker that information.
I’ll probably never find the column space to scrutinize the departure of top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, or a dozen other dominant political figures that have already left or have been ousted from this administration. Bye, Gary, you greedy shit.
The day after I wrote the previous sentence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired. By tweet. Oh Rex, how can I pass up an opportunity to send you off? The world is spinning too fast, Rexxy. Go wash yourself off, old fella, old TX Rex, you old-school faux patriot. Seriously, go wash yourself off, you’ve got dirty Russian oil money all over you. Don’t bother scrubbing at the permanent stink of the Trump administration — that will follow you to the grave.
I am not however, missing an opportunity to eviscerate this dolled-up, 1950s Americana, racist, billionaire, creationist dunderhead in charge of education — especially since she’s so keen on choking the last breath out of public schooling. It’s Wednesday goddamn it, and I don’t care what else happens today, I am finishing this scathing rebuke of Betsy DeVos, freight train news cycle be damned!
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from DeVos — American education’s evangelical Betsy Ross — sewing her particular brand of plutocratic dominion posing as conservative Christian education reform into the national fabric of the public school system. I imagine her gently rocking in her chair up in Michigan (where she destroyed the public school system on a state level), just a harmless old grandma, doing the lord’s work from her front porch.
She is so convincingly stupid on camera that I sometimes can’t help but imagine DeVos as Mom from Futurama. The idiot act is but a ruse. Although, Mom’s public persona is well-loved, while Betsy’s favorability is the lowest of this administration’s cabinet. Whoever DeVos really is, she surely dropped a deuce in the public punch bowl on Sunday.
It’s hard to surpass Stephen Miller for humiliating national interviews and public gaffes, but Betsy gave it the good ol’ private parochial college try on 60 Minutes. If you missed it, it was mortifying for everybody, and if this weren’t bizarre-o-world, she would’ve been mercifully shit-canned that night — before she was allowed to embarrass herself further, by bricking it again on the Monday morning squawk circuit.
Well, she wasn’t fired. Not in Trump’s America. Hell, she’ll probably get her own fucking military parade — suitably with a battalion of hungry, uneducated kids in uniform brandishing toddler-sized AR-15’s and shiny new bibles.
Scratch that. From now on, military parades are reserved for Trump and Kim Jong-un, only. Once Trump has his parade later this year, out of embarrassment no western nation will ever stage one again.
These two buttered muffins have to be the most ridiculous people I can think of in all of human history. Their absurd behavior strains the credulity of existence itself.
Back to Betsy. You may remember DeVos from her last sojourn in front of the cameras — her much-pilloried confirmation hearings in early 2017 — where she stammered and stumbled her way to becoming the first Secretary of Education in history confirmed by a vice-presidential tie-breaking vote.
She was so catastrophically inept and visibly uncomfortable during her confirmation hearings, I’d liken it to a junior high kid fielding post graduate-level questions on human sexuality — in front of their deeply religious grandparents.
The extreme discomfort and clueless flop-sweat was palpable. DeVos also infamously cited the danger of grizzly bears in support for guns in schools. Grizzlies.
Now we have an even more embarrassing performance on national television that has revealed yet again, her total and complete inadequacy for the job.
A little refresher on the DeVos family:
Her brother, Erik Prince, founded the mercenary-for-hire organization, Blackwater. He’s a real sweetheart. He’s like G.I. Joe, if G.I. Joe murdered hobos for fun. Prince is now a person of interest in the Mueller investigation due to a January 2017 meeting with a Putin representative. A meeting Prince lied about to congress. If you have been keeping track, that is still a felony.
Her father-in-law, Richard Marvin DeVos, Sr. founded the multi-billion dollar consumer goods distribution company, Amway — a name now synonymous with pyramid schemes. It is also synonymous with that one dumb relative we all have that fell for this shit. Distant cousin “Amway Jeff” has not been invited to Thanksgiving in decades.
Her husband, Richard Marvin "Dick" DeVos, Jr., is the inheritor of his father’s fortune, and he spends the bulk of his time supporting Dominionists (they want Church to fuck State and make Church-State babies), and not becoming the governor of Michigan. Tough break, Dick.
I think I’d rather take my chances with the Bender Family, honestly.
What has Betsy DeVos done to deserve such value from Americans, that we should trust her with our children? Nothing. I get that she was foisted on us, it’s not as if we had a choice. She bought her way into this crooked administration with hundreds of millions in family donations to conservative causes and republican candidates, including nearly 1 million to senators voting on her confirmation! She has no experience in the field, no relevant experience at all, really — and she is taking a wrecking ball to what is left of public education; the only option for the vast majority of American families.
She refuses to make even a pass-fail attempt to inform herself of the responsibilities of her office, much less act appropriately on that information in the best interests of our country’s youth — this is not out of stupidity, it’s because she has no interest in such things. She is interested in the further dumbing-down of the middle-class and poor, and the privatization of public education for profit.
Scientific American ran an article in April of 2017 that is a rabbit hole of reasons why Betsy DeVos is the most despicable cabinet member in modern history. Be careful, you could spend an afternoon on the links alone.
I have harped on this a great deal over the years because I believe the following to be a fundamental truth about the human condition:
There is no greater threat — in any age, in any country, under any economic conditions, under any form of government — there is nothing more dangerous and frightening to the ruling class, than an educated populace.
What worries me most about our country, is that America may be beyond some sort of educational event horizon. We may be spiraling towards whatever black hole awaits a nation too selfish and shortsighted to properly educate its own — and the concerted effort to dumb-down mainstream America has been going on for three generations.
Anyway, so Betsy DeVos is the kind of administrator that gave Roger Waters nightmares in school, she gives me nightmares now, and she’s in charge of education in an already breathtakingly ignorant America.
She is in charge of education in our country not because of her expertise in the field, her previous success working in government, or her experience as an administrator of any kind — she has absolutely none of any of that — she’s here solely because of her political contributions.
Her family is worth several billion dollars — and I would ask the same of any of the world’s wealthiest, greediest assholes — what the hell do you gluttonous cretins do that could possibly convince humanity you are equal in worth to the GDP of several countries? What could any single person point to, even the most deserving and productive among us, as evidence that they should be worth more than half a billion of their fellow humans?
This particular entitled billionaire know-nothing couldn’t even spend half an hour preparing for her one national interview this year, where she’d be answering questions about the fucking job she bought. Not surprise questions about foreign affairs, or gotcha moments about her personal life — simple fucking questions about her goddamn job.
A job that she still holds, for some inexplicable reason, even though she failed miserably by all accounts to express even a rudimentary understanding of her position’s function, or a familiarity with the basic facts and figures germane to her department.
That so much wealth and power could be concentrated into the hands of someone so undeserving, so spectacularly unqualified in all aspects of public service, is dumbfounding.
This leads me to one of the reasons public schools are now such mouthwatering targets for privatization:
The only business model in corporate America today, is the business of shareholder profit. Automakers don’t make cars, shoe factories don’t make shoes, we make shareholder profit now. We have one product.
Schools are the same. They don't produce students, they produce Profit Machines.
It is this paradigm shift that has eventually led the plutocrats to eye public education as fertile ground for strip-mining value. In the past, conservatives generally concerned themselves with promoting prayer in schools and limiting sex education — they identified public schools as social institutions. Today, nothing is purely a social institution, and the barbarians are running out of other places to pillage, so it was only a matter of time until they realized there is profit to be made.
Unfortunately, it seems late-stage klepto-capitalism has left our country with few shareholders of its own, and it shows. Our blind subservience to neoliberalism’s inherent embrace of greed has led to a 4 trillion dollar deferred infrastructure deficit dating back to the seventies — as politicians instead are beholden to line the pockets of their donors and special interests, versus fixing bridges and building schools.
That’s on both political parties.
Public schools are failing for the same reason many of our other social institutions are failing — public education on a national level, and the greater social welfare have little to no value in this distorted economic system. Certainly not when that broken system is also being held hostage by a handful of sociopathic billionaires.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
I’d like to believe that all of this changes for the better with a relatively moderate restructuring of capitalism, a recommitment to the education of all Americans, and the immediate return of young, electable politicians — on a national, state, and local level — that are devoted to the well-being of the constituency they swear an oath to represent.
Easy peasy, right?
The poor are too many, and the rich are too few. We need to raise the floor and lower the ceiling, my friends.
On Tuesday, a memorial of 7,000 pairs of shoes representing all of the children we have lost to gun violence since Sandy Hook was displayed on the Capitol lawn. It was a stark, beautiful, haunting image.
On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of their schools demanding meaningful gun legislation, and an end to the senseless gun violence that plagues our nation. Thousands are seen here marching in Washington, D.C.
In closing, I would like to share one of the many powerful student speeches from around the country. There were so many courageous young Americans out in the streets today, it really is cause for hope. There is real hope here. Can you feel it?
Let's be the adults they deserve.