Ever since he defeated Hillary Clinton on election night, it has been clear that Donald Trump’s administration would garner backlash for virtually every move made.
It seems that no subject, from the man’s personal life to his private business interests, are off the table for his many critics in the media and elsewhere.
Since they couldn’t prevent the man from getting elected, it seems that Trump’s critics are now pursuing a new target- his cabinet picks. While many of the appointees of the newly sworn-in administration have been the subject of debate, I want to focus on two in particular that I feel have received more than their fair share of the flack- General Mike Flynn and Betsy DeVos.
General Mike Flynn, National Security Advisor
One would think that the appointee for National Security Advisor should be a pillar of strength, not only in their rhetoric but in action as well.
Nobody should have questions about the intestinal fortitude of Mike Flynn, a retired lieutenant general in the army who has served in combat in addition to displaying prowess in the intelligence field.
It may have surprised even his most ardent supporters, however, to see the extent to which he openly stumped for Trump.
By August of 2014, Flynn’s time as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency- described as “the Pentagon’s version of the CIA”- had ended somewhat unceremoniously. By most accounts, his bold, fiery personality and his intent to incorporate that brand of leadership into the agency bucked a mode of operation that has been described as painfully bureaucratic.
The theme of the Trump administration embracing figures -especially in the military realm- who have been perceived as too honest, perhaps even too hawkish to adhere to President Obama’s policies of pacification, is apparent among his appointments.
This is no coincidence. President Trump has said all along that his administration will be, essentially, a rejection of the policies implemented during the past eight years.
Clearly, he intends to follow through on this campaign trail message, beginning with the men and women he has chosen for his cabinet, beginning with Mike Flynn.
Flynn’s introduction to the casual follower of Washington’s inner workings would come during his monologue at the Republican National Convention.
He’s placed stopping the unpredictable wave of domestic terrorism among his top priorities, and this has also meant addressing the radical sects of Islam directly and unmercifully. This clear identification of the enemy without pulling politically incorrect punches is arguably his most stark departure from the Obama doctrine, and it is the reason Women’s March participants will eventually identify him among the ranks of the Deplorables.
In addition, his vow to work closely with Russian leadership to strengthen the relationship so degraded in recent years has come under scrutiny, with various “investigations” into Flynn’s Russian contacts, including the ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak, being conducted.
Despite the inquiries, Flynn has been sworn in and presumably commenced his duties upon Donald’s inauguration.
Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary
If there is one thing that liberals purport to love, it is investing in education.
You know the party lines.
Teachers are underpaid, extremely hard-working without exception, and should be protected with tenure and the insulated job security that comes with a perpetually tangled web of bureaucracy. A single national curriculum (Common Core) is suitable for every single student in the system.
Charter schools? Well, those are a threat to the jobs of our noble teachers. They might be held accountable.
But as George W. Bush’s ineffective No Child Left Behind policy revealed, conservatives have not been on the right side of education “reform” in recent years either.
The public education system in America is and has been broken. At last measure, it ranked 14th in the world, behind the likes of Ireland, Poland, and Russia.
Even liberals have to admit that Russia is at least ahead of us in the computer science field.
In October 2015, an alarming semi-annual report, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (or lack thereof), detailed the fact that reading scores in America had dropped for the first time in 20 years.
If that is not a statistical indication of the abject failure of the educational status quo in America, then what is?
Ironically, Barack Obama said this about Capital City Public Charter school not long after he was elected the first time:
“The outstanding work that’s being done here…is an example of how all our schools should be.”
These charter schools, while taxpayer funded, are not subject to government regulation and infringement dictating what curriculum will be taught in the school.
Yes, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act implemented in December 2015, legislation favorable to charter school expansion and considered the most wide-reaching educational reform bill since No Child Left Behind.
Kudos to him for doing what most Americans, especially those parents familiar with the plight of inner-city public schools, see as an obvious step in returning to true equality of educational opportunity.
But despite enacting a Charter Schools Week in May, President Obama espoused the caveat that should a charter school not maintain excellent standards, that it should be shut down.
Interestingly, you will not hear him uttering similar demands toward public schools or the many inept or unmotivated teachers who run them.
He and his party need the teachers’ union vote too desperately to make that political misstep.
Advocates for the expansion of the charter school system that garnered a 68% favorability rating as recently as 2013 cite improved test scores, the increased ability to fire incompetent teachers, and the competitive nature that they inspire in students as some of the differences between them and their purely public counterparts.
If there is a poster girl for charter school advocacy in America, it is Betsy DeVos.
She frequently uses the term “school choice.” What does that mean to her?
“Vouchers and tax credits [to] virtual schools, magnet schools, homeschooling, and charter schools,” she has said.
So, Senate Democrats beholden to the teachers’ unions have held up DeVos’ appointment approval by citing her family’s “financial entanglements.”
Make no mistake about it, her brother being the founder of Blackwater (a private security firm which came under heavy scrutiny as a result of their role in the Iraq War) alone is enough for the left to demonize DeVos.
She also married an heir to the Amway fortune, and together they have expanded their wealth through investing in technology, among other industries, all the while donating as much as $2.7 million to conservative candidates and causes.
And now many fear that she is going to destroy public education as we know it in favor of expanding the charter school system.
For those of us that have been paying attention to trends in American education, there is only one logical response.
It’s about time.