Students, Teachers, the CDC, We’re All Means, Not Ends

A quote from presidential niece Mary Txxxx’s new book:

“While thousands of Americans die alone, Donald touts stock market gains,” Mary Txxxx writes. “As my father lay dying alone, Donald went to the movies. If he can in any way profit from your death, he’ll facilitate it, and then he’ll ignore the fact that you died. … The fact is that Donald is fundamentally incapable of acknowledging the suffering of others. Telling the stories of those we’ve lost would bore him.”

A quote from Immanuel Kant’s old book:

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.

From Crooked Media’s “What a Day” excellent newsletter:

The Txxxx administration is ramping up its efforts to force the country’s schools to open prematurely, through a wholesome combination of tampering with scientific health guidelines and some good, old-fashioned extortion.

— President Txxxx and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have each threatened to cut funding from schools that don’t resume in-person classes this fall. The president doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally withhold federal funding, and most education funding comes from states anyway, but Vice President Mike Pence helpfully clarified that the White House plans to use the next coronavirus relief bill to pressure states into compliance.

— In a world-class feat of projection, Txxxx has repeatedly claimed that Democratic state and local officials are keeping schools closed for political reasons, dangerously casting another public-health issue in partisan terms. In Txxxx’s framing of the argument over schools, the coronavirus doesn’t exist: This morning he tweeted, “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS.” There’s something different about those countries, but we can’t quite put our finger on it; if only Americans weren’t banned from entering them, we could go sleuth it out [Hint: Germany had 390 new cases Tuesday; the US had almost 51,000].

— The goal of that framing becomes clear just one tweet later. In the alternate reality where the pandemic is no longer raging, who needs all these public-health recommendations? A few hours after Txxxx complained that the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines to safely reopen schools are too cumbersome, Pence announced that the CDC will simply issue new guidelines. “We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open,” said the vice president, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed three million.

Betsy Devos, who’s currently being sued for trying to divert coronavirus relief funds from public schools to private schools, has happily taken a lead role in the administration’s efforts to force those public schools to reopen.

— DeVos told governors on a Tuesday conference call, “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.” 

— Education and community leaders see their roles differently. The country’s largest teachers’ union has slammed Txxxx’s push to reopen schools without guaranteeing the safety of students and staff, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced today that the nation’s largest public school system will only partially reopen in the fall, with classroom attendance limited to one to three days a week, and Harvard and MIT have sued the Txxxx administration over ICE’s order that international students leave the country unless enrolled in a school offering in-person classes.

— The U.S. just confirmed a record 60,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day. At least 56 ICUs in Florida hospitals reached capacity on Tuesday, Texas alone reported 10,000 new cases, and Arizona has an astronomically high test-positivity rate, at more than 25 percent. The country is in a state of crisis as extreme as at any point during the pandemic, and the Txxxx administration hopes only to hide it behind a facade of normalcy.


It’s a word that hasn’t been used much lately. “Kakistocracy”. Rule by the worst. It deserves to be used more often.