As a conservative in 2017, it would seem I am expected to completely align with the Republican platform.
Let me assure you that I, among many of my peers, find myself split on several issues – both socially and economically. As a college student, I’m aware that I’m here to learn and be open-minded, so I like to consider all sides. I stand up for what I believe in, and sometimes those beliefs fall towards the right and the left.
With this said, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to liking our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
To start, as many have already pointed out, Secretary DeVos has very little experience in education. In fact, she has none in a classroom setting. Is the education of our country really in the hands of someone so inexperienced? If this weren’t enough, she has been very vocal about her religious beliefs, and how she intends to merge them with policy. Please don’t misunderstand, having faith and believing what we choose is a wonderful thing — it’s what this country was built on, but there’s a reason state and religion are separated. Just as different Christians were raised with their own world views and truths, so were people of different religions. There is no way the human race as a whole is going to agree on one religion. It’s simply not realistic to tie in one group’s doctrines into state policies when the policy in question is one as large as education.
The big controversy surrounding DeVos’ swearing in was the topic of school vouchers. She made it very clear that her goal was to privatize education, turning it into a free market system of sorts. These vouchers would take governmental/public funding and divert it to private/religious-based schools. If school vouchers weren’t controversial enough in and of themselves, they’re now being backed by someone whose focus is to expand Christianity (a harmless and even acceptable mission outside of politics) using governmental office. Although We the People have the right to pursue whichever religion we so choose, our government has an obligation to serve us in as unbiased a manner as possible. Does this mean those in office shouldn’t be religious? Of course not. It does, however, mean they need to be able to set it aside and put themselves in everyone’s shoes, including those who don’t hold the same beliefs.
Most recently, however, DeVos has gone a step further. She has reversed Obama’s sexual assault prevention plan for college campuses. Her reasoning is that by raising the standards for evidence against sexual assault, the accused will have more protection. On one hand, it seems like a noble goal — not everyone who is accused is guilty. However, too many men and women go without justice or closure because a judge decided the victim was at fault or was lying. To add salt to the wound, a judge will sentence the guilty to time that isn’t anywhere near long enough. Secretary DeVos has successfully helped victims stay at a disadvantage by making them once again have to prove beyond measure they were sexually assaulted.
As a young college conservative, I’m not okay with this. I’m not okay with having someone so inexperienced spearheading America’s education. I’m not okay with victims of abuse having to be abused by both their attacker and the system. Ideally, our system would find a way to fairly judge the accused and the accuser in cases of sexual assault, but until then, it shouldn’t be allowed to further hurt victims.