Donald Trump’s picks for his cabinet are quite alarming, and I find myself bouncing between disbelief and fear.
First and foremost, he has chosen Betsy DeVos as his Education Secretary. Ms. DeVos never attended public school and her children did not attend public school. She is not an educator, and her only ties to education are promoting school choice through charter schools and vouchers. This essentially diverts public money to charter and private schools.
As a public school teacher, I am floored. I am in disbelief. I am angry. I would never have thought such an important government official would not represent government-funded public schools and would not want to work to improve the education system.
“DeVos isn’t an educator, or an education leader. She’s not an expert in pedagogy or curriculum or school governance. In fact, she has no relevant credentials or experience for a job setting standards and guiding dollars for the nation’s public schools. She is, in essence, a lobbyist — someone who has used her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform, and to bend that conversation to her ideological convictions despite the dearth of evidence supporting them.” (Source) I am scared to see what will happen to public education under DeVos’s leadership. I am scared about what could happen to my job.
Second, his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, does not believe in global warming and climate change. Global warming has been documented by scientists over and over and over again. I do not understand why people refuse to believe scientific evidence. Here’s the thing: science revises itself. If scientists find something new, or find conflicting evidence about something they know, they change their thinking. They experiment more. They investigate, expand their knowledge, and change their ideas based on evidence. That’s why we can trust them. Also, Obama has done so much to protect the environment during his tenure as President. I fear Trump’s policies would erase that.
Third, Trump has chosen Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions has a documented history of racism and a documented history of being anti-immigrant, even anti-legal immigrant. “Sessions has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate the past two decades that has included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. He’s also fought legal immigration, including guest worker programs for immigrants in the country illegally and visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high-tech.” (Source)This man is a threat to immigrants, refugees, and minorities in our country. I fear for them. This could potentially erase the positive mindset Obama has demonstrated toward immigrants and refugees and could and leave no chance for DACA and DAPA to be restored.
Fourth, his choice for Healthcare Secretary, Tom Price, will most likely tear down Obamacare. Now, I have heard stories from both sides of the Affordable Care Act. I personally know people whose insurances costs have increased due to the Act. However, because of Obamacare, “we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades.” (Source) 20 million people have gained healthcare coverage in the past 6 years. While I don’t think Obamacare is perfect, and I don’t like that some of my family and friends have dealt with a greater insurance expense, we cannot deny that many Americans are benefitting from Obamacare. Why can’t we take the idea of affordable health care and improve on it? Honestly I wonder people just want to tear it down because they hate Democrats and Obama. We have to move beyond partisanship and consider what will benefit Americans. What is going to happen to all the people who have been helped by Obamacare?
Tom Price also voted against funding for groups like Planned Parenthood, a law that now requires the FDA to regulate tobacco as a drug, and a bill that would have provided four weeks of parental leave for federal employees. (Source) While I consider myself generally pro-life (though I believe pro-life means inside and outside the womb) and don’t like the idea of abortion as a form of birth control, the fact is that Planned Parenthood provides the healthcare and contraception needed to prevent abortions. To completely defund them would most likely increase abortions in this country because low-income women would not have affordable access to health care and contraception.
The fact that Price voted against paid family leave irks me. Until we have paid family leave, women will continue to have to fight for respect in the workplace and families will continue to have to fight to find quality time together and financial stability. I strongly believe that Hillary Clinton would have brought this to the table. She is such a voice for the rights of women, children, and families. It’s a shame that we are still electing old white men who want to take us back to the 1950s era of America and who care nothing about women’s rights and bringing families together. (Okay, I’m ranting now. Moving on.)
Last, Trump has placed or is considering other billionaires and millionaires in positions in which they have no experience (sounds a lot like Trump himself, right?) These include business executives Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary, Steven Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, (possibly) Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and Linda McMahon as administrator of the Small Business Administration. I just don’t understand. Why would you want inexperienced people running your government? I want people who know what they are doing. I get that Trump is trying to shake things up. I see his anti-politician, anti-establishment agenda. I get why people like that. People are tired of same-old, same-old politicians. But I’m not convinced that it’s the best thing for America. It looks like Trump is just trying to surround himself with his billionaire buddies.
I don’t know what else to say or do. I just know that we all must be very, very vigilant. People who voted for him and people who didn’t vote for him must hold him to a high standard. We all must. As President-Elect, he is already making questionable decisions and surrounding himself with people who are not the best fit for their jobs. We must speak up for the quality of life of all Americans. An America run by rich, inexperienced men and women is not an America for the people and of the people.