As part of our continuing ‘Play of the Day’ series, Sauron’s Army, Lady Parts Justice League is exploring the key players Donald Trump has chosen to surround himself with. We’re taking a deep dark look at his advisors and the people being appointed to his cabinet, all of whom have a history of being strongly anti-choice.
Betsy DeVos – Position in Sauron’s Army: Balrog
You remember the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring (if not you better brush up on your LOTR because we are living it). Gandalf is all “You shall not pass” and the Balrog pulls him down into the depths of darkness. That’s exactly what DeVos is doing to people trying to get a good public school education.
Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, billionaire Betsy DeVos, evidently wants kids to graduate from the School of Hard Knocks. She’ll be supplying the knocks, the taxpayers will be footing the bill. DeVos is a former Republican National Committeewoman from Michigan and has spent two decades advocating for Charter Schools and taxpayer funded school vouchers. (No that totally makes sense, an Education Secretary who is against public education, I mean why not?!?!) She is a major Republican Party donor and has been heavily criticized by her own state of Michigan for her lack of oversight in the Charter School Program (two things Trump seems to love, a big donor and total inadequacy for the job at hand).
Balrog Betsy was a member of the Board of Directors of The Acton Institute for 10 years, and is believed to have funneled thousands of dollars into the conservative nonprofit. The Acton Institute, wait for it, came out in favor of child labor. Child labor! A recent essay posted to its blog by one Joseph Sunde called child labor “a gift our kids can handle.” No, really, Joseph, thanks for the gift, but we don’t need presents, just an education.
The essay said we shouldn’t “just teach our children to play hard and study well, shuffling them through a long line of hobbies and electives and educational activities. A long day’s work and a load of sweat have plenty to teach as well.” Sure, soccer or the marching band are great, but coal mining builds character!
When she’s not fighting to make the workhouse of Oliver Twist a twisted reality, Balrog Betsy spends her billions on every retrograde, repressive cause you could name. She reserves an especially special nastiness for attacking LGBTQ people as the benefactor of organizations that promote conversion therapy and fight anti-bullying efforts. She actively (financially) supports orgs/Orcs that oppose marriage equality, workplace protections for LGBQT people and adoption by gay couples. WOWSAH! Into the darkness indeed.
The DeVos family has been a huge funder of conservative politicians and Religious Right agendas (like piles and piles of money), including supporting groups who promote anti-abortion legislation and Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation and The DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative have donated over a million dollars in unrestricted grants to The Pregnancy Resource Center, a “life-affirming” clinic (not clinic) in Grand Rapids, MI.
As a special side note: Betsy’s brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater. He started the privatized army that got paid way more than American soldiers, creating contractors of war who answer to no one. Prince raked in Moria Mines of Gold with his mercenary military. The Balrog’s bro actually is the architect of the army of Mordor!