Today marks the first day of the Trump Presidency. The optimist in me hopes that the next four years go smoothly for all Americans. The realist in me understands that the institutions that so many people depend on will be manipulated for the benefit of a few greedy special-interest groups that spend millions on lobbying for policies that benefit their corporate bank accounts.
My two biggest concerns are with energy and education:
With energy, there will be so many people in power who have ties to the fossil fuel industry and not enough with strong academic backgrounds in science to solve our energy crisis. There are too many climate change deniers instead of climate change fighters, which means we're going to expedite our species's endangerment through inane policies. Rick Perry is going to be the Secretary of Energy and as made clear in his hearing, has little to no clue about what his position and department will be directly responsible of. He had even called to close the energy department in the past...the same one he will soon be running. He doesn't believe that climate change is affected by human behavior, and is a strong proponent for fossil fuel use over any other form of energy. Scott Pruitt will be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, but he publicly denies that climate change is an issue and refuses to accept that humans have any effect on the environment. He basically doesn't believe that there is a point to protecting the environment...and he's going to be running the EPA! At a more peripheral position, Rex Tillerson, the former CEO and Chairman of ExxonMobil, obviously has his own personal interests in energy policy, and he will be closely working as a part of the Trump Administration as the Secretary of State.
Hopefully, private energy producers that rely on fossil fuels will move away from coal, oil and gas resources to cleaner sources on their own as a monetary investment in a field that has very low production costs and high consumption rates. Hopefully, private energy producers that create renewable/clean/green energy can grow and support the energy needs of our country even if the government is against them. Hopefully, our country can reduce our fossil fuel use as a courtesy to the Earth that serves a home like no other.
With education, there is little hope when it comes to making schools a more productive environment for the students in this country. Betsy DeVos had her hearing and is very unaware about the fundamental topics and ideas that education policy is centered around. She is a strong advocate for school choice, encouraging families to have their kids enroll in private schools and charter schools (which are basically semi-public schools that can have their own admission requirements). This benefits the administrators of the schools, but may be incredibly inconvenient and difficult for average Americans to access a strong education. She has no stance regarding the discussion between proficiency measurement (not good for students but easy to standardize) and growth measurement (more difficult to standardize and administer but great for student development). DeVos wants the federal government to back off on school funding and monitoring, but won't advocate for increased education budgets at the state level, leaving the school districts at a huge disadvantage. She believes that guns shouldn't necessarily be kept off school grounds. She is not good for students, teachers, schools nor our country's future.
As destructive as these choices in leadership can be, it's something we as a nation need to come to understand was a result of the person we elected to the presidency. President Trump is allowed to appoint those who he sees fit to his cabinet, even if it's proven that they are mostly inept for the job. This can be fought, however. Call your legislative representatives, and voice your concerns. Policy is in the minds of the people, but in the hands of politicians, so speak your mind, and make America great...the way you envision it...the way it was promised to you.