Here we are at another fine juncture in time. I am writing a column for a deadline that is set prior to a major event. In this case the deadline is 9 a.m. PST, just as Trump is supposed to be sworn in as president and start his big speech. I can’t get a break. It’s very hard to make fun of a speech I haven’t heard yet. My life is blessed with hot and cold running sucks.
I was briefly enthralled by hearing of a Mr. Joseph Charles MacKenzie — a renowned great contemporary classical lyric poet, indeed the first ever classical lyric poet of New Mexico — who wrote a glorious poem for Trump to be read at the inauguration. A poem which delightfully refers to the outgoing president as a tyrant and names the new president Domhnall (“scion of Torguil and best of MacLeod!”) because Domhnall is the Scots equivalent of Donald, don’t you know.
The possibility that such a poem might actually be read at the inauguration filled me with glee. It was just the sort of pretentious drivel I started out making fun of in this column back when it began 22 years ago, in its classic name of Adventures in Poetry. What a great opportunity this will be to wallow in memories of our beginning, I thought. But then I learned that the poem was nowhere on the schedule. The sucks are running thick and soupy.
At least the confirmation hearings have not disappointed me, in the sense that I’m never disappointed in Hamlet because the crazy man who talks too much keeps everything lively up until the very end.
I thought Ben Carson was going to be the worst choice for a Cabinet position ever. Based on the kind of career he’s had as surgeon, I could only suppose that he would approach managing hud as a grand experimental intervention. It’s so important to try new methods, maybe the patient (the U.S.) will die, but we will have learned so much.
But then Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to serve as education secretary. A woman whose entire qualification in education has been — I’m not exaggerating — having had the same uninformed opinions about education that other non-educators have had, and had the money from an inheritance to channel massive funds to organizations that shared those uninformed opinions.
Such organizations include Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, both founded by James Dobson, who was never ordained a minister and never took a degree in psychology, but he’s a Christian psychologist, he says, and has opinions about schools that are about as unrelated to anything schools are about as you can get.
Likewise DeVos has never been a teacher and apparently has never attended a public school, but she knows that schools in Wyoming ought to have guns handy to shoot grizzlies that might come around to eat poor public school children. I guess in the rich private schools that she went to as a kid they had a bazooka loaded and ready to go, mounted in the hall behind glass. Just in case the teacher was already being eaten by some carnivore. Three kids to hold it, one to pull the trigger, and I’ll bet they’d let Betsy aim it; she’s the one in the know.
DeVos also thinks the states should decide what educational opportunities, if any, should be made available to disabled children, even though Congress has passed a law called the Individuals with Disability Education Act, which leaves the states with no options if they want to keep getting federal funds. A law she’d never heard of, but she’s going to be our education secretary, and overseeing the enforcement of that and other laws she doesn’t know about.
Now I suppose DeVos could say, no problem, then let’s not have federal funds be distributed to state schools so there won’t be any reason for the states to not go their own way. But why do we bother having an education secretary, then?
Meanwhile, Rick Perry, who wanted to scrap the Energy Department, changed his mind since he got picked to run it and was finally sat down and told what it does. No, it does not feed the federal Energizer Bunny.
We are in such trouble. This better be one fantastic speech coming up.