Alright everyone, play some relaxing meditative music, maybe light a few candles to set the mood. Find a comfy chair to relax in and close your eyes as you begin to visualize what it’s like to be a billionaire who bought her way into a cabinet seat in the United States Federal Government.
You’re sitting in your office in Washington D.C. because you’re no longer just a really rich, sheltered, privileged, religious fundamentalist woman who can afford to buy things like right to work, hijacking Detroit Public Schools, and lifting for-profit charter school caps; you run an entire government department – the Department of Education – and now you can do the damage God commands you inflict on an entire nation’s public school system. Something to do with pig bones, pagans, and those evil government-run schools.
You find out from your people who actually run your department there is an issue that needs to be addressed, and education is one part of that issue. Something about education is important because the issue involves competing with other countries. Of course, you have no idea what the issue is and how you’re supposed to fix it, so what do you do? Likely, one of those staff people who actually do all the work might suggest you contact the government agency who knows all about the issue and request a briefing.
The government agency’s representatives arrive to provide this briefing you requested. They’re smart, knowledgeable, and already aware of something they know but you don’t: They have gained lots of experience briefing complete morons over the past nine months, because they also have to brief that fat guy with the spray tan and gravity-defying comb over currently squatting in the White House between golfing vacations at luxury resorts he owns and the American taxpayers get to pay for.
Introductions are made, everyone gets settled into the conference room, and the agency staffers begin their briefing of how education is a vital component of the work their agency does, and what is needed from the Department of Education to make the United States internationally competitive with the issue at hand. You sit and stare at the staffers as they talk.
The people doing the talking will never tell you this to your face, but they’re very quickly evaluating you and your ability to actually fix any of the problem they’re briefing you about. They’ve seen that glassy, deer in the headlights look before: At the White House. The fat guy with the spray tan and ridiculous gravity-defying comb over gives them the same look whenever they have to brief him too – except there’s one noticeable difference. He tries to hide his lack of intelligence by opening his mouth and speaking, and all that ever accomplishes is solidifying the first assessment of how much of an idiot he really is, and he wouldn’t understand what he’s being told even if they provided a pop-up picture book to illustrate.
You on the other hand, you’re sitting there without so much as an occasional “uhuh” or “okay” tossed into the conversation to hide how much of a moron you are. The briefing has nothing to do with you understanding a problem at all, it’s devolved into a humiliating assessment of your lack of intelligence and causing you so much shame, the only way to try and save your shattering pride is remain mute.
You’ve convinced yourself that your silence will save you, but you’re wrong. The agency staff going through the motions of pretending they’re explaining something to you already know their words are floating high above your head and will never connect. The only difference between briefing you and briefing the fat idiot squatting in the White House is you’re self-aware just enough to know you’re a complete moron, and the briefing is getting pretty weird and annoying for the agency staff. You probably aren’t aware of the fact that if staff from this agency are briefing you on something, it’s because there is an actual problem that you need to fix, and they’ve already figured out you don’t have the intelligence to even understand there is a problem.
The agency staffers end their briefing and leave your office. On the way back to their office, they’re shaking off the weird, annoying, wtf, she’s so dumb moment they endured with you. The complexity of the problem is beyond you, but you shake it off because God wanted you to spend all that money to get the fat idiot into the White House, and controlling the Department of Education is your heavenly reward.
And now, as we drift away from that vision, we open our eyes and refocus on the room we’re currently occupying in the here and now.
Congratulations, you just experienced a day in the life of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.