Heavens To Betsy

Today’s article will be a bit whimsical in that it will deal with some expressions and a personal idiosyncrasy but the core issue is deadly serious as is my concern for America. Let’s explore.

The title is an American expression of unknown origin that dates back to the 19th century. The exact identity of the “Betsy” in the expression is unknown. My best guess is that it is a way to utter an exclamation without cursing. I will make it perfectly clear that I am referring to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and in my case the “Heavens to” phrase is a substitute for profanity.

Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the thinnest possible margin with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie breaking vote in the Senate. In fact, under the old rules a Cabinet nomination was subject to filibuster therefore Devos was confirmation by a historically thin margin. In her confirmation hearings her lack of qualifications and knowledge was so glaring that I’m certain the only thing that saved her was the norm that Senators try to give a president their Cabinet nominees if at all possible.

Time and again as she does interviews she proves her ignorance of the American educational system and this past weekend was no exception. President Trump has made Devos the point person on school safety. School safety is the latest way the NRA owned GOP has spun America’s gun and mass shooting problem.

For all of Trump’s talk in his various “listening sessions” he is reverting to NRA doctrine. In the end the only group he really listened to was the NRA at a private lunch. The NRA is little more than the lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers and their primary mission is to sell more guns. The NRA’s magical solution to school shootings is to put more guns in schools by arming faculty and/or staff. That is pure insanity.

Constraints of time and space won’t allow me to offer every rebuttal so I will simply tender one. The argument for arming teachers is based on the contention that shooters would never enter schools in the first place if they knew they would be met with return fire. The reality is that most mass shooters are on a suicide mission. They also possess superior firepower and tactical advantage over school personnel as partly proven by the fact that lightly armed law enforcement officers refused to enter the building during the most recent school mass killing.

The National Education Association (NEA) is an organization of educators who care about students and the American public education system. The students are America’s future and an educated population capable of critical thinking is necessary in a functioning democracy (even a representative democracy like America).

I had predicted that in the long run that nothing would change. I may still be correct and if not history will again repeat itself in that instead of some (albeit inadequate) tightening of gun regulations and thereby the proliferation of guns in a country that already has more guns than people, we will see a loosening of regulations and more guns. While not a panacea, the restriction of weapons of mass murder would have been a good step in the right direction. Trump has backed off from the simple step of enacting a minimum age for the purchase of said weapons to 21. It currently stands at 18 in many states. A more logical step would have been to eliminate the purchase and possession of such weapons but that never even got “on the table” that Devos says everything is on.

In researching this article I ran across the phrase, “Happy as Larry”. It was the first time in my life I became aware of it probably because it is popular in many English speaking countries to which America is an exception. A lot of things make me happy but Secretary Devos’ job performance is certainly not one of them.

With a little poetic license I am happy because today is Pi Day, named after the mathematical value express when rounded to three digits by 3.14. (I learned that from teachers.) I of course think of it as Pie Day. Typical of most Americans I love apple pie. Atypically I like mine served cold.

My hope is that nothing comes of Trump’s current gun proposals and that is why he gave it to his weakest Cabinet member. Here is a scary thought: she is the weakest in a historically weak field. One certain conclusion is that nothing heavenly will come of Betsy’s endeavors.

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