My father used to tell me a story about his youth. When he left the navy, he went back to work for a while at an aircraft factory in Wichita, Kansas. (Wichita is, btw, the nation’s capital when it comes to small and private plane manufacturing. Beechcraft, Cessna, and Learjet, all had their start there.) After about a year of life in the city, he left again, this time to go to Manhattan, Kansas, where he’d eventually get his Master’s in physics.
That had always been his plan. But, when his co-workers found out about it, not all of them were supportive. Several of them, I gather, told him he was going away “just to become an educated fool.”
My Dad was educated, but he was anything but a fool. In fact, for years, I wondered how such a combination of characteristics…education and idiocy…was possible. Seemed like oil and water.
Alas, in Betsy DeVos, we have the perfect amalgam of both. Not only is she herself educated (she has a BA in business from Calvin College) but, as Secretary of Education, she is charged with the instruction of America.
And, yet, she is an idiot. Pure and simple. She has been grossly, even criminally incompetent in the performance of her duties. She has bungled, mismanaged, and generally made a fool of herself from day one. And if you need evidence, watch her recent performance on “60 Minutes” (see the embedded player below. Thanks to The Washington Post). She bumbles, she mumbles, she misses cues, she is unable to explain herself or her policies. If she were not doing such damage to the nation as a whole (and she is almost fantastically destructive) you would feel sorry for her.
However, she deserves no pity. She took the job of her own initiative. She knew it would bring her attention. She surely knew ahead of time that anyone looking at her closely would reveal her to be a buffoon of the first (and muddiest) water.
But there is another reason to yield her no mercy. If this woman is an educated idiot, she has set out to build up a generation of idiots worse even than herself. Her whole career has been a crusade against public schools and secular education. What she wants, quite simply, is a nation of Christian Schools (pseudo-Christian, and pseudo-schools), and unregulated charter schools, and education vouchers which would not pay the cost of a single teacher’s salary.
She, and the others like her, want a nation of the ignorant, men and women who know just enough to read the National Enquirer, to write their names on charge card slips, and to watch Fox TV news without the need of a translator.
They want, in other words, slaves…sufficiently mentally deficient that they cannot think for themselves, yet sufficiently educated (educated in the sense of graduation from obedience school) to follow orders.
Such is the world envisioned by Betsy DeVos and her kind.
Let us hope that the American voter has brains enough to see that.
And to reward this woman, Betsy The Dunce, with the cap, the stool, the F, and the reprimand …
Which she so richly, if so stupidly, deserves.