Also, though, if you’re more upset that Chelsea Manning will be released from prison after seven years than you are about the contents of the video she leaked — video showing U.S. forces gunning down journalists and other civilians — then you need to re-enroll in Humanity 101.
• Oppressors generally fear the truth-telling insight of precise language, so they tend to avoid and to disparage words and ideas like “intersectionality.” But oppressors have alway been intersectional.
• Betsey DeVos says she wants to use America’s public schools to build “God’s kingdom.”
This brings us back to a perennial theological debate. Some, like my Patheos neighbor Scot McKnight, argue that the “kingdom of God” refers, primarily, to the church. DeVos, by contrast, believes that the “kingdom of God” refers, primarily, to Amway.
DeVos was in the news yesterday because her testimony revealed her to be unfamiliar with the basics of public education and because she oddly suggested that students might need to bring guns to school to protect themselves from grizzly bears. Don’t get distracted, though, from the key point here, which is that DeVos wants to get rid of public schools. Putting Betsey DeVos in charge of America’s schools is like hiring Richard Dawkins to be in charge of church growth.
(Public schools were a major part of the Radical Republican agenda following the Civil War. The agenda of radical Republicans in the 21st century focuses on undoing all of their efforts — getting rid of public schools, birthright citizenship, the 14th Amendment, the 13th Amendment …)Somehow during all the scandals and horrors arising from the Bush-era employment of Blackwater mercenaries, I missed the disturbing fact that Blackwater founder Erik Prince is Betsey DeVos’ brother. Prince is horrifying. If you don’t remember Blackwater, they were the model for the worst villains on the subversive Jericho. These days, they’ve been twice rebranded — first as “Xe,” then as “Academi” — in an attempt to distance themselves from the disgrace and liability stemming from their My Lai-ish massacre in Baghdad in 2007.
The jackboots-for-hire mogul behind all of that paramilitary profiteering is part of the DeVos clan — the multilevel marketing empire that provides generous, but highly conditional, funding for many mainstream white evangelical institutions. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is fun. Two degrees of Erik Prince is the stuff of a dystopian nightmare.
• Sam Kestenbaum takes a fascinating dive into the complicated views that Trump-loving American Nazis have toward Jewish people: “The ‘Alt-Right’ Hates the Jews. But It Also Loves Them — and Israel.”
Donald Trump has chosen A “poem” has been submitted to be read at Trump’s inauguration. It is not good. [Corrected thanks to several folks in comments.]
I suppose, at least, it’s better than sending Monica Crowley out there to read her original inaugural poem, “The Gift Outright.”