Who represents us?

I have never voted Republican in my life. I believe their policies are variously un-Christian, naive, greedy, uninformed and consistently lacking in imagination, empathy and plain old common sense. As a result, I find it disappointing and entirely typical that my “representative” in Congress, Bill Flores, is 110 percent behind the bleak, backward vision of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Emperor Donald Trump. (I use quotes around the word “representative” because, with the exception of Chet Edwards, I have literally had no representation in Congress of my concerns, needs, ideas or hopes for the future during my 23 years of living in Central Texas.)

In his utterly tone-deaf regurgitation of GOP doublespeak in the Trib in the wake of Trump’s election, Flores implied Americans had given Trump and the GOP a triumphant mandate when a lopsided majority of eligible voters went blue or third party, didn’t see any point to voting or were prevented from voting by GOP gerrymandering, xenophobia and phony voter-fraud apologetics.

I hope Flores and his fellow oligarch wannabes remember, for a change, that they are expected to represent all the people, including those of us who need Social Security and Medicare, who gratefully embraced the Affordable Care Act, who believe in freedom for all Americans to worship in peace and safety, in free speech and a free press, in sane gun regulations and clean air and water, in democracy and voting rights for all Americans — not just the wealthy white ones with great investment portfolios and, in some profligate cases, solid gold bathroom fixtures.

Michael Jones, Waco

Defending DeVos

America’s schools are failing. The United States ranks 40th in math, 25th in science and 24th in reading behind countries like Estonia, despite spending 31 percent more on education per pupil than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average.

Yet teachers unions blame the problem on “disinvestment following the 2008 recession.” Now union bosses are viciously attacking President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos — a supporter of education reform — as “an actual danger to students.”

Why? Because DeVos believes in school choice, merit-based pay and tenure reform — all of which threaten Big Labor’s public-school monopoly. In her home state of Michigan, charter schools consistently outperform traditional public schools, providing students with two months of additional gains in reading and math every year. Stanford University research shows that “charter schools have significantly better results . . . for minority students who are in poverty.” Why should they be stuck in failing public schools?

Education funding isn’t the problem. It’s Big Labor, America’s school bully.

Richard Berman, executive director, Center for Union Facts