Billionaire Betsy DeVos, the heir to, an empire which, the likes of Nathan Daniel might call the longest running floating Ponzi scheme in New York and elsewhere, has been tagged as the new Secretary of Education. Her fortune is derived from a multi-level marketing scheme aimed at homeschoolers. She is a board member of The Alliance for School Choice, an organization founded in reaction to Brown vs Board of Ed. With this choice, Trump is no longer even bothering to keep his cards close to himself. Another kleptomani-aire has purchased control a government department. DeVos has already spent millions of her own money, investing in the meme, School Choice which is fascist talk for taxing the American people and then using that revenue stream to fund the Department as it becomes a marketing arm for the Christian Industries. That is disconcerting.
This is the sort of thing we should expect when one sect proposes stamping “In god we trust” all over our money, and our elected representative fail to asserts our rights to be free from this establishment of religion? How can a speaker of English reconcile, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, with having “In god we trust” printed on government property? We Americans originally chose “E Pluribus Unum”, as our national motto. This was the original intent of our founding fathers. Instead, we now stamp all our money with the statement of our official surrendered of the very first right, underscored in out Bill of Rights. More than ever, we need our original motto back.
We are constantly told that the phrase is translated as “From many, one”, more accurately, “E Pluribus Unum”, describes an action. “Many uniting into one”. Personally, of the two mottos, just from a literary point of view, the choice is clear. The one on our money is passive and transfers all responsibility to an un-agreed upon mystical entity. The other is active, assertive and ongoing. We are the many, and that’s our political identity. We are the full range of the American character. We need to know one another if we are going to do any uniting. We must revel in the options before us. Our list of friends and allies, members, and supporters is as broad as we have able to make it during the 500 plus years of nearly uninterrupted wave upon wave of immigrants. Hyphenated Americanism was cooked into our DNA.
We are the ones that know how to get along. We have been and hopefully will always be, “Many uniting into one”. However, there is one element of our republic where that motto does not apply. There is no constitutional mandate to funnel all the religions of the world into one, and such a strategy is not in our best interest. Just the opposite is necessary. By adopting and preserving the elements of cultures from all over the globe, we don’t concentrate or homogenize the many into one, instead, we expand the size and scope of the one. Our goal should not be to create some hybridized uber-American who places all his or her eggs in some Judeo-Christian basket. Our goal should be to create the intellectual equivalent of bio-diversity and by doing so increase our chances of survival as an experiment in self-government. And, make no mistake about it. The concept of self-government may have its roots in antiquity, but the American experiment is actually a fairly recent development on the world scene, and a sizable portion of the most powerful governments on earth, still doubt our ability to endure. Some are taking affirmative action to see to it that we don’t.
We have constantly received the message of American individualism, and that is also baked into our birthright, and it should hold just as much value and respect when applied to religion and politics as it does vis a vis fashion and entrepreneurship. The magic sauce of liberal democracy is being able to foster and release the power of the individuals as they pursue their own dreams, by uniting their passion and talent into enterprises of impressive size and capacity. Maintaining control of what we have wrought, will take the work of many toward a united goal. Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, sends the exact opposite message.
Once again, when examining a potential Trump appointment, we will be called to consider the definition of the term” emoluments”. There is a very real chance that Ms. DeVos will use her new position to further her educational pyramid scheme to the benefit of herself and other evangelical homeschool advocates. I worry that when push comes to shove, and the question goes to the Supreme Court, we will see that branch of government massage the definition of emoluments to fit the needs of the Republican Party rather than the republic. Vigilance is called for. We can’t screw-up this experiment in self-government. The USA holds the patent on this form of government in the form of our founding documents. We inherited an imperfect union from our forefathers. For generations, we have each been doing our own part to resolve the contradictions of our heritage. This is work that cannot be abandoned. How will you respond?