We’ve Got a lot of Work to do!
By Paul Fong, AFT 6157 President
The first order of business by President Trump will be appointing his new cabinet so he can proceed to cut the U.S. government spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Elimination of environmental standards, grants to arts and music, Obamacare, etc., privatizing Medicare/Social Security are on his chopping blocks, as well as anything progressive that isn’t “sound” business according to multi-billionaire Trump.
One thing the Government cannot do is to file bankruptcy, that Trump has done several times in order to avoid paying taxes for many years. That is part of the big difference between private and public income and expenditures. Without any public service, Trump’s lack of experience can lead to a disastrous state of our economy.
Stop DeVos as Secretary of Education
Having said that, why do all these super rich cabinet appointees think they can make “America Great Again” by eliminating the things that made America great in the first place? It won’t help our public education system, with the appointment of another multibillionaire Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education, a charter school advocate, who wants to privatize our public schools.
This is not the way to go. Our public schools need public funding and the double standard for charter schools allows them to pick and choose their students and to make profits for their owners. During the confirmation hearing DeVos did her song and dance with her elitist behavior that hopefully most democratic senators saw through. But it was clear she was inexperienced, without knowledge of education K-12, specialist education, needing guns in schools to shoot grizzly bears or any knowledge of higher education.
Strengthening our defense is another misguided priority of Trump. Why and for what purpose should we be aggressive toward the world when we are already seen as the world leader in defense? Going on the offense is a very difficult task, which Trump seems to plan on doing with Russia as allies. This is hasty at best and destructive at worst.
Taking Action is the Way to Go
Over the weekend of the inauguration, there were so many protest marches that have clearly outnumbered the people attending Trump’s brief inauguration. The Women’s March scheduled for the day after the inauguration drew more people nationally with the rally and march in D.C. and throughout the entire world, in nursing homes, in subzero weather in north Alaska and in urban areas such as the Bay Area cities – San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
The AFT- 6157 participated in the Woman’s March and rally in San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco on Jan. 21. The leadership and membership of AFT 6157 will continue to fight for social justice as it is a part of our Union’s mission and our values.
The attacks on our students of color were part of the backlash that got Trump into office. If Trump carries out the wishes of the people that elected him, that means the end of sanctuary cities for our undocumented population. We are pleased that many of the mayors of these sanctuary cities are resisting Trump on his executive order to his voters to stop federal funding to sanctuary cities.
There is a huge movement within our college campuses in making our campus or districts sanctuary places for the LGBT, Muslim, undocumented, woman and people of color to feel safe and protected. We all must work diligently to protect our students from the rhetoric of Trump. We do not know if his threats will come to fruition, however, we must be ready.
Our state legislators are standing strong ready for the fight to protect the residents of our state. I am so proud of being a Californian. Hopefully where California goes so will the nation and the other parts of the world. Being one of the biggest states with the 5th- largest economy in the world will keep us strong in this fight.