Oh Mary Don’t You Weep (Bethune-Cookman Invites Betsy DeVos)

Fortunately, Mary McLeod Bethune didn’t live to see what the school she founded, Bethune Cookman University, did today. It was announced that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would be this year’s commencement speaker. This immediately lit up Twitter, sparked an online petition to prevent her from speaking and generated hundreds of calls to the University.

Betsy DeVos had already made news regarding HBCUs by suggesting they were, “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” As if there were options for black students to attend college at white institutions at the time. As Education Secretary, DeVos has already threatened to dismantle an income based repayment program for student loans which is important to many BCU students.

In the press release issued by the school, they said, “ “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”

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They went on to describe the commitment of Betsy DeVos to education and highlighted several financial contributions to minority causes in the nearby Orlando area where her family owns the Orlando Magic. Many of the family members were involved with the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation which was the vehicle through which the team made most of their donations. I served as a member of the Youth Foundation Advisory Board during their early years and never saw Betsy at any meetings. I did meet her at a charity golf tournament sponsored by the Foundation and played with her in my foursome. She was nice.

Bethune-Cookman is headed down the road already traveled by Darrell Scott and 100 Black Pastors, Talladega College and their Marching Band, Steve Harvey, Jim Brown and Mike Tyson. After their treks and obligatory photo ops with Donald Trump. They all smiled, and the Trump machine rolled on. Trump has unleashed Jeff Sessions on the inner-cities. Commissioned Congress and Secretary Price to dismantle The Affordable Care Act . DeVos was chosen to champion Charter Schools and ultimately promote an inequality in schools seen in that nostalgic time when America was Great in Trump’s mind.

The University’s statement made note of the importance of Federal funds to the school. The current President of Bethune-Cookman, Edison Jackson, made the trip to the White House along with several other HBCUs to meet Donald Trump. Apparently not satisfied with personal genuflection. He’s now subjecting BCU graduates, parents and alumni to a forced audience with the person whose purpose includes lessening their impact.  Mary McLeod Bethune was a strong woman. Submission is not the path she’d have chosen. Don’t weep Mary.

TRAITORS!

 

  • a person(s) not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy

 

Joe McCarthy served as a United States Senator from 1947 until his death in 1957. After three undistinguished years of service in the Senate, he gained national attention when he indicated he had a list of “members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring” serving in the State Department. He used charges of communism, communist sympathies, disloyalty and homosexuality to attack political opponents and others in and out of government. Joe McCarthy, a Democrat, saw communists and sympathizers everywhere.

We now have several Republican leaders that refuse to see Russian sympathizers anywhere. They are willing to allow potential Russian influence to go unrestrained in the Trump administration. Refusing to see or allow the public to see or hear the extent of infiltration and influence that Russia had on Donald Trump and those around him. Some do this under the belief that they can accomplish much of their agenda which they put before the security of our nation. Others because they’re afraid that Donald Trump will turn his supporters against them with a tweet, causing them to be defeated in future runs for office. Whatever the reason, they ignore the peril to our country for personal reasons. They are TRAITORS!

As information leaks out about the level of influence Russia exerted to elect Donald Trump. They grudgingly began half-hearted investigations into what occurred. Rather than allow an impartial independent investigation. They fight to maintain control within existing Congressional Committee’s where they can control the scope, the witnesses and more importantly the result of the investigation as they did during the multiple Benghazi investigations.

Mitch McConnell refused to agree to information on Russian influence to be made public before the election. He’s the main one seeking to limit and control the Senate investigation. The likely meddling by Russia “is a serious issue, but it doesn’t require a select committee,” said McConnell, R-Ky. The Senate intelligence committee is able to investigate the matter, he added.”

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Photo: slate.com

Paul Ryan subverts any attempt within the House of Representatives to have an independent investigation. He said, “I’ll leave it up to the administration to describe the circumstances,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to prejudge any of the circumstances surrounding this until we have all of the information.”

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Photo: newsweek.com

Jason Chaffetz, Chair of the House Oversight Committee refuses to investigate Trump both in his relationship with Russia and any potential conflict of interests including Russian that Trump has which could compromise his decisions as President. He recently told a raucous Town Hall, “The President is exempt from conflict of interest laws” while the crowd chanted, “Do your job!” Instead of following up on Russian ties to the Trump administration, he’s beginning investigations of those leaking information to the Press who are the only reason we know what we do.

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Photo: politico.com

In addition to supporting an enemy, these men and others have betrayed their country by approving several Cabinet members with no interest in serving in the nation’s best interest. Beyond merely being incompetent (Carson) they’ve confirmed candidates whose express purpose is to destroy the Agencies they now head (Price, Perry, DeVos.) Special mention goes to Scott Pruitt of the EPA who has filed 14 lawsuits against the Agency. Some of which are ongoing and in which he refuses to recuse himself. They have put Party before country. Betrayed the Constitution and the American people. The committee chairs rushed thru these candidates. In Pruitt’s case refusing to wait the weekend while thousands of Emails between himself and the Energy Companies he’d regulate were to be released by order of a Federal Judge. Pruitt had illegally refused to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for two years before being finally compelled to do so.

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Photo: abcnews.go.com

The only way to change this behavior is through public pressure and voting them out. I pray the leaks continue and the eventual outcry forces even these men to act and then not be allowed to cover-up the investigations. We are watching these men literally give America away to large business interests and a foreign power. Traitors!

Featured Photo: republicbuzz.com

It Is A Dark Day… But Joy Cometh In The Morning

There is no longer any question that Donald Trump is who we thought he was. Steve Bannon is who we thought he was. And their definition of, “Make America Great Again” applies only to some.

Within hours of his blasphemous use of two bibles. He delayed a Federal lawsuit against the State of Texas for its unconstitutional Voter Suppression; implemented the day after the gutting of the Voter Rights Act. The Whitehouse.gov website got rid of its pages dedicated to Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT and Native Americans. In other words screw you, you, and you too! His “America First” never meant all Americans. Just those that Trump and Bannon approve of.

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Photo: twitter.com

His first day actions highlight how meaningful his Cabinet choices are. Sessions who has opposed Civil Rights and supports Voter Suppression. DeVos for has bought her way into a position where she can put her imprint on America’s education system. Putting Charter Schools with no accountability ahead of Public Schools that will be the only option available to you, you and you. Tillerson who has always put his company’s interests ahead of the nations. Despite his campaign statements, Trump hasn’t issued a single tweet on behalf of Planned Parenthood that is the only proximate health care available to many of you, you and you.

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Photo: breitbart.com

There are investigations underway by the entirety of our intelligence operations to determine what role Russia had in our recent election. As we speak they are following up on intercepted communications and tracing the money trail from Russia to the United States. We know Trump people changed language in the Republican Platform at their National Convention favorable to Ukraine and Russia. We still don’t know how or who.

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Photo: twitter.com

Trump in ascending to the Presidency made no effort to be the President for all America. I won’t pretend that this is not a dark day in America. Transposed against the departure of the hope and grace that was Obama. We are greeted by the crude, misogynist, nationalist and xenophobic Trump.

In spite of the reality that Trump will never suddenly become anything better. He’s still the son of a Klansman. He marked “C” on rental applications to deny “colored” applicants. He took out a full page ad exhorting the death of the Central Park Five later found to be innocent. He currently supports Stop & Frisk in inner-city communities. Even knowing all that to be true and that a white-nationalist racist is Trump’s chief advisor. Joy still cometh in the morning.

I am reminded that as dark as today is. We’ve had dark days before. In 1857, the “Dred Scott” decision had the Supreme Court said that African-Americans whether free or slave were not American citizens. In 1877, politicians gathered in a smoke filled room to negotiate the winner of the Presidency for one party in return for the removal of Federal troops from the South after the Civil War, effectively ending reconstruction. In 1896, the Supreme Court decided Plessy vs. Ferguson upholding “separate but equal” and state’s right to discriminate. 2010 gave us Citizen’s United and in 2013 the Voter Rights Act enforcement powers were decimated. Even some sunny days were partially cloudy like the clear win of Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954 being tempered by its implementation “with all deliberate speed” delaying progress for decades.

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Photo: twitter.com

My point in bringing up all these dark days is that joy indeed cometh in the morning. The arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice but has no respect for complacency. We, and when I say we I still mean you, you and you; must continue to fight for justice. And when we stay focused and don’t get distracted by every shiny object, bad day or tweet. That joy will come. The only variable is what morning not will it arrive.

The best thing about Donald Trump is that he is a clarifying force. He has made the situation perfectly clear. It’s now time for you, you and you to decide what path to take to resist, not whether. The President of the United States has limited power unless unchallenged. We cannot count on the Republican Congress to be that challenge. It must be you… and you… and you! And when you do. It will be then that joy cometh.

Featured Image: cnn.com

Me And Betsy

I’ve met Betsy DeVos. It would be more than a stretch to say I know her. I would be fairly surprised if she remembered me but as I was unaccustomed to mingling with the very rich she stood out in my mind. When the DeVos family bought the Orlando Magic they introduced themselves to the community. For a number of reasons including that the land the then Orlando Arena and surrounding parking areas was built on; displaced a hefty section of the poor black area near downtown selected for the Arena. The Orlando Magic formed the Orlando Magic Minority Advisory Committee and I was its first Chairman.

None of this has anything to do with Betsy DeVos in particular but it was in that capacity that I attended occasional meetings with her husband Dick and played in a charity golf tournament for the Orlando Magic Foundation with Betsy DeVos in my foursome. I have nothing bad to say at all about Betsy DeVos personally. She was hospitable, quite comfortable in the setting and very personable. She was a better golfer than me but I’m not so petty as to hold that against her… much. In my defense I took up golf late in life and I’ll presume she’d been playing most of her life.

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Photo: livingstondaily.com

There’s a number of things I could see Betsy DeVos doing well. I waited to form an opinion of her being the Secretary of Education until watching the confirmation hearings on television. I don’t doubt her interest in Education which she’s tried to influence in Michigan and elsewhere for years. She and her close family have spent an estimated $200,000,000 primarily in political donations to influence education policy including attempts to funnel public funds to Christian schools. She thinks education is highly important and has put her money where her mouth is. She just doesn’t know very much about how it operates, especially in the area of Public Schools.

She’s never attended Public Schools, her children never attended Public Schools. She never taught or served as an administrator in a Public School and is apparently unaware as to what the major policy considerations are in that area. She’s never run anything like the Agency she’s slated to take over and in fact her stated views are make her more likely to privatize Public Schools and turn most all into Charter Schools with far less oversight as she has in Michigan where she’s basically bought the legislature while transforming 80% of the state’s schools into Charters.

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Photo: twitter.com

She has many conflicts of interest including ownership in a company that manages public for-profit Charter Schools and a student debt collection agency. To her credit, unlike Donald Trump, she had promised to divest herself from all potential conflicts. As she has yet to turn in all the required financial information requested. Senators are apparently expected to approve her and get the information later.

I know I’m not qualified to run the Department of Education. Yet my experience in Public Schools far exceeds hers as I’ve attended Public Schools, sent my children to public schools and even spoken a few times in classes and presentations at public schools. I even knew the difference between “growth and proficiency” which the proposed Secretary of Education head did not. If I were somehow nominated for that role I would expect someone to note the ways I’m not qualified in the ways Republican Senator’s somehow cannot see about Betsy DeVos. There will be winners in this process which appear to be Donald Trump and Republican Senators. The losers will undoubtedly be the nation’s children.

Featured Image: abcnews.go.com