Betsy DeVos is the newest confirmed member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. As Trump’s choice for secretary of education, DeVos is in charge of running our country’s education system.
What lifetime career of fighting for education has she led? What passion for providing public education for the youth of this country does she have?
None. Absolutely none.
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DeVos and her family have been top donors to the GOP since the 1970s. Supposedly, the rough estimate is $200 million in donations to Republican candidates and causes since that time.
With donations like that in a world like ours, eventually she had to be rewarded.
I am not here to bash the DeVos family for donating to the GOP. I believe it is a wonderful thing to donate to the causes one deems important.
But the fact this is the only plausible reason as to how Trump chose DeVos for the position is not okay.
The only experience DeVos has with education is her support of taking money away from public schools to be put in charter schools.
She is absolutely unfit to be the education secretary — a position that requires advocating for public education.
There is nothing that can be done though … right?
In coming days, as DeVos begins her role as U.S. Secretary of Education, the rest of us have work to do.
There is something that all who oppose this presidency can learn, if they have not already.
The U.S. Senate is 52-48 with a Republican majority. So when Vice President Mike Pence had to break the Senate tie to confirm Trump’s pick, it meant two Republican members of the Senate voted against DeVos.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Arkansas, are both Republicans who sided with every single Democrat in the Senate against DeVos.
If one more Republican had flipped, I wouldn’t need to write this column.
Both Collins and Murkowski cited the countless phone calls they received in the past weeks as their motivation for voting no.
As members of the Senate, they represent the people of their state. They were able to recognize the people were not content with DeVos being appointed. They listened.
Last week, I helped in calling every single Republican senator in the hopes it would urge them against voting for DeVos.
The calls worked with two members.
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If there had been even more involvement from the public, would someone else have switched?
While it isn’t good to think “what if” after the fact, it is important to think about “what if” ahead of time. In the next four years, when you see something that upsets you, do something about it.
Whether it is legislation or an action our president takes, research what you can do.
It may be a daunting task and it may be useless, but change does not occur without action.
It is so easy to get involved during an election season. You knock on doors, make phone calls and vote. Getting involved in our democracy — trying to intervene in our democracy — is uncharted territory for many.
But always remember you are not alone.
Trump did not win the popular vote. The confirmation of DeVos barely slipped through.
You are not the only opposition.
Trump as President of the United States is not normal. DeVos as the Secretary of Education is not normal.
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Do not find ways to justify it or sit back. Fight for what you believe in because there is now a generation of students who might be at risk. Take a stand for them.
These next four years will be a test — something DeVos might not be very familiar with — of our ability to unite.
This country is absolutely divided. But when it comes to the subject of education, there should be no question. Every single person deserves access to public education.
We need to remind Democrats and Republicans alike they must come together because we have a lot of work to do.
Claudia Meyer-Samargia ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in strategic communication and journalism with a certificate in digital studies.