Slouching toward activismJanuary 31, 2017
My wife and I, not political activists by nature or habit, are trying to figure out how we can do our part to shape the future of the United States for the benefit of our literal and figurative sons and daughters. As a small step in that direction, we sent the following email today.
Dear Representative Jayapal and Senators Cantwell and Murray:
We write to you to express our concern about Donald Trump’s nomination of Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, and Scott Pruitt to the respective cabinet-level positions of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Education, and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
As citizens with liberal political views, we share many of your broad concerns about the new administration. It is hard to know which battles to fight, and which to concede. The three nominees above, however, seem especially worthy of scrutiny for the following two reasons.
First, all three have demonstrated alarming tendencies to dismiss research data from rigorous studies. Dr. Carson, while an accomplished physician, does not fully embrace Darwinian evolution. Ms. DeVos appears uninterested in careful studies of charter schools that question the efficacy of the “Michigan model” that she favors. Mr. Pruitt has expressed hostility toward mainstream climate science. As professional scientists, we find this behavior deeply concerning.
Second, each of these nominees, in the words of the Washington Post, “have key philosophical differences with the missions of the agencies they have been tapped to run.” As the Post explains, “Pruitt has spent much of his energy as attorney general fighting the very agency he is being nominated to lead… Ben Carson, named to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has expressed a deep aversion to the social safety net programs and fair housing initiatives that have been central to that agency’s activities. Betsy DeVos, named education secretary, has a passion for private school vouchers that critics say undercut the public school systems at the core of the government’s mission.”
In light of these serious concerns, we urge you to oppose the confirmation of these three individuals.
Gregory J. Crowther, Ph.D.
Leila R. Zelnick, Ph.D.
[street address redacted]
Seattle WA 98103