A lot of times when I write these little political blogs I’m very confrontational and frankly downright mean to the other side. I do this on purpose. I like making fun of people because I’m a horrible and spiteful little man. But this isn’t one of those times. Every once in a while I realize I need to dial back a little bit because i really want to understand an opposite point of view. I want this to be one of those times. I want to ask people actually understand a viewpoint that is pretty much diametrically opposed to my own. So I’m going to try to play nice. I’m really going to try. But it’s going to be hard… really hard…. because,
Betsy Devos, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!
Today, in my freshman writing class, I was teaching my students about logical fallacies in rhetoric. Things that you might want to look out for because they actually make for bad arguments, even though they’re sometimes very effective. One of the fallacies on our list is a “straw man.” Some of the students were having trouble with this concept. If you’re not familiar with how a straw man works, it’s very simple. Person A makes an argument. Person B doesn’t have a good refute for that argument so instead they try to argue against some vaguely related argument (sometimes only barely related at all) so as to have something they feel like they can compete on. In my example I said, what if I was running a political campaign against Amy (my co-instructor for this class) and she was campaigning with the primary case of “I want more money for public schools!” I certainly can’t campaign that I think schools are stupid and want them to have less money, so instead I argue against her wanting higher taxes. Sure she never said anything about wanting to raise taxes. Maybe she intends to take the money from another program. But campaigning against education is a losing battle so I attack the straw man of my opponent wanting higher taxes. It’s generally considered a weak way to argue, but it’s fairly common.
Ok, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but will someone please teach Betsy Devos how to attack a straw man?
So if you’ve been too busy today worrying about hurricanes killing you or you’re loved ones… or even if you were paying attention to political news and so are consumed by Trump making backdoor deals with the democrats to undermine the republican party (yes, I actually just said that), what you might have missed was that today Betsy Devos gave a speech where she talked about reversing/rewriting the Obama administration changes to Title IX regarding Sexual Assault Investigations on college campuses.
For those who don’t know what that means, basically Obama essentially made it policy that colleges and universities had to take accusations of sexual harassment seriously. That’s it. He set guidelines for investigating rape charges. Which, for the most part were basically: “you know… do it…” and also “and if you find that you have a rapist, do something about it.” That’s pretty much all he did. Like for both democrats and republicans this should pretty much be one of the least controversial things to come out of the Obama presidency. But for Betsy Devos? I mean… WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!
So here’s where I’m looking for other people to explain her reasoning to me. Back when Devos first got nominated, Stephanie wrote about her and about how unqualified she clearly was for the position of Secretary of Education. Some people argued with her… mostly i think because Devos supports vouchers, even though she doesn’t seem to understand what it means or how the education system works. But you know, she wants this one thing… so uh… yay I guess. And I argued about why she was a bad pick then. I also made quite a bit of fun of her when she argued that we needed guns in schools because of all the wild bear attacks we teachers have to fend off. I mean, how could I not?
But on this one? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!
Like, I get the complaint that the University has become too much of an ivory tower. I get the complaints about political correctness run amuck. I get that some people might be worried about the liberal snowflakes and their safe spaces. And honestly, there are even reasonable arguments that one can make against all of that. Unfortunately, often the people arguing against it aren’t very smart and they make really shitty arguments against it. But there are reasonable arguments that are intelligent.
There isn’t much of one here. What you need here is to attack a straw man. If you really want to go down this road — and HOVA knows why you would — what you need here is to do your best to ignore the sexual assault part at all and focus on “typical liberal government overreach. Trying to stick federal control into situations that it has no business.” That’s at least a defensible stance. But not ol’ Betsy. Nope, her argument is that this needs to be corrected because it creates an unfair burden on the accused rapist.
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!
Like… who willingly walks into this argument on that side? What are you thinking? Like even the MRA groups who want this have the sense to attack a straw man. They focus on the rights of the people who are falsely accused. They play up the numbers— make it seem like there are millions of young men being falsely accused and having their lives ruined. It’s not true… but fine…. I mean… make some shit up! But not Betsy… she is worried that having these regulations forces schools that aren’t equipped to be judges and juries deal with sexual predators. The punishments are too severe. There are so many appeals to go through… Blah blah blah…
Once again…. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!
How do you come out in favor of the rights of the accused over the accuser in a rape case? Seriously though… I mean, I get that I’m predisposed to not be on her side. Sure. But like is there any way to defend her on this? What am I missing? I really want to know… is there anyone out there who thinks this is a good idea for any reason? If you have friends who are supporters of her or support her on this, send them my way. I’ll even try to be nice…, I just want to know what the line of thinking is here.
Because like, the only ways I can work it out…. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!!!