Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will Diversity Be An Issue in Obama's Administration?

This is from the Christian Progressive Liberal over at Jack and Jill Politics:

Will Obama's Administration look like this?

Before you shoot the messenger on this, please hear me out. So far in the named nominees for Mr. Obama's Cabinet, we have one Latino (Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary) and an African-American for Attorney General (Eric Holder).

We already know that he's named a couple of African-Americans to insider posts on his personal staff (Valerie Jarrett and one other who's name escapes me). Robert Gibbs is on tap as Press Secretary.

We also know he's going with Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, Tom Daschle for HHS Secretary, and Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary. And Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is tapped for Homeland Security.

We have yet to see an Asian named for any post in the Obama Administration. One of our regular posters, dcgtn, made this salient point in replying to one of my comments:
"But it will be another matter if Mr. Obama sends the message he can't find any of US who's qualified for the Cabinet."

This is what I'm saying. If you go by his picks so far, the message is that only white people are qualified to run the government and that's crazy. The cabinet is the face of the president's administration and the fact that the face of our Black president's administration is white, so far, is disturbing to say the least.

I've stated in one post that Mr. Obama has to walk a fine line regarding his Cabinet picks - too much diversity earns him a bigoted label from the reich wing. Lack of Diversity brings the protests from those of us who wore out shoe-leather, gave up time, money and energy, and believed that he was campaigning for true change in American Government. But we must also remember that none of the nominees are a done deal - they still have to get through a Senate Confirmation, and let's not be fooled - just because there's a Democratic Majority in the Senate, there is still Traitor Joe Lieberman who lurks in the Senate and was welcomed back into the fold, despite his treachery and openly campaigning for the Republican candidate against Mr. Obama.

So, how does President-Elect Obama handle this? First off, please stop acting like you can't find any qualified people of color within a 100 mile radius of Washington, DC, because the recruitment pool is full of qualified people of color/ethnicity that can pass background checks and work in the Administration.

Second, another one of my friends sent me an email, and she makes some very interesting points with this (and I've added some of my own comments to hers):
What about diverse choices, especially in places where we usually aren't, say TREASURY? And Interior - Environmental Racism.

And, the Prison Industrial Complex. I don't think it's wrong for us to ask Holder's view of the Drug War - TODAY.

(CPL - Not to mention the discrepancies in sentencing and how will those be addressed when the penalties for Black and Latinos are much harsher for them than whites convicted of similar crimes).

And, who is going to be placed to head the Civil Rights Division?

(CPL - not to mention cleaning up the politicization of the Civil Rights Division on Gonzales' watch?)

How about the Federal Election Commission? (CPL: Have they ever had a person of ethnicity heading it up?)

And what is Tom Daschle's view on apportionment of Federal HIV/AIDS funds? Why does the majority of those funds go to WHITE organizations when BLACK WOMEN ARE THE FACE OF HIV/AIDS in this country?

Additionally, one of our posters, Miranda, made a good point about the fact that once the Secretaries are confirmed, we also need to pressure them to make good-faith efforts to hire diverse workforces and staffs at higher levels within the Federal Government as well. One way is to ask them all to put forth diversity initiatives within their respective organizations, and hold them accountable for seeing them through. I can personally attest that having Clarence Thomas running the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission did not mean that people of ethnicity could go to the Commission for relief from Discrimination because a Black Man was in charge. The EEOC would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had been in charge, because if anything, Thomas did more to subvert discrimination claims on his watch than go after the workplaces perpetuating the events that led to discrimination complaints.

We've already seen what diversity did for the Bush Administration (further subverting of violations of the law and violation of Constitutional Amendments while doing the Master's bidding), so I will end this post by saying we have every right to analyze Mr. Obama's choices for these high-profile Cabinet positions because at the very least, he is sending a message as to what we can expect from the Obama Administration for the next four years.

This is not a time for complacency, and trusting Obama to do what's right; complacency has led to a Congress that has done nothing more than rubber-stamp the President for the last eight years, in addition to virtually abdicating its responsibility to adhere to the concept and system of Checks and Balances. Additionally, our refusal to engage in debate and discussion of these matters, as well as make the President-Elect aware of our concerns, indicates tacit consent to what he does, even if we don't agree with it. Our voices are what makes our democracy WORK. We have had eight years of not raising our voices because of fear we'd get labeled unpatriotic, un-American, un-EVERYTHING.

And look at the mess being left by Bush for Obama to clean up, because we were scared into being SILENT. We won't be fooled again.

We are not second-guessing Mr. Obama's choices, but we do have every right to question obvious red flag candidates like Hillary Clinton; individuals who have shown their asses and show themselves quite capable of stabbing the President in the back for fun and profit.

We are not asking President-Elect Obama to staff his entire Cabinet or Administration with all ethnic, racial choices, either -which is what 46% of the country so feared, they preferred to elect a crochety old SOB, and his Caribou Barbie sidekick running-mate that continues to open her mouth and remove all doubt regarding her suitability for the office of the Vice-President of the United States.

We are not telling the President what to do. But we do have the right to question what he DOES, because he does it in OUR NAME. So, the question must be asked - Will Diversity be an Issue in Obama's Administration?


Truthiz said...

@Rikryah-Points well made.

Regaring your following comments:

"We are not telling the President what to do. But we do have the right to question what he DOES, because he does it in OUR NAME. So, the question must be asked - Will Diversity be an Issue in Obama's Administration?"

Question well put_and We shall see?

Obama did announce, today, that Melody Barnes, who was at CAP, will head his Domestic Policy Council.

And it’s being reported that prominent Chicago businesswoman, Desiree Rogers will be named the White House social secretary.

I wholeheartedly agree with Obama's determination to try to put together a "Team" with an emphasis on being able to "hit the ground running" to effectively address the enormous challenges this coutry is facing today.

But I'm also of the mind that Obama should view it as an obligation on his part to see to it that his adminstration truly does reflect America's increasingly diverse citizenry.

I'm NOT suggesting, in any way, that Obama give "special" attention to appointing minorities.

What I am saying, however, is that a REAL effort should be made to identify and nominate qualified and experienced minorities to his administration, also.

Brian said...

I'm not all that concerned about the skin color of those who he surrounds himself with. I think Race is becoming an old worn out litmus test. I get tired of folks arguing about this unwritten quota requirement that you have to have so many Blacks, Hispanics, etc etc etc. Obama himself embodies diversity.... as a Black man, he has nothing to prove on that front as far as i'm concerned. As long as he has a reasonable balance... and it appears he will have several Black staffers...and he has already picked what will be the first Black Atty General. And he has at least one Hispanic in a major cabinet post.... Women will also have posts. So in terms of diversity, he's doing o.k., if there is such a litmus test (and I don't think there should be one, at least not this time).

What i'm more concerned with is what kinds of people they are ....what kinds of people he surrounds himself with (not their skin pigmentation) is much more important. It's more important for me that he surrounds himself with people who hold and represent the kind of ideology that needs to be projected in order to fix the problems that the Country faces...they should have the kind of ideology that I can relate to as a peace-loving, Progressive-leaning Independent... They should project the kind of ideology that will spawn the kinds of ambitious economic policies (new deal style) that will save the economy & put people to work in jobs that would allow them to support a family and have some kind of dignity....They should project the kind of ideology that will promote Peace in the World, resolve conflicts, reshape Americas image abroad, reclaim America's moral authority (what little it had to begin with), limit or pull back from American expansionism and imperialist policies, reduce nuclear weapons and the chance of their possible use, establish peace treaties instead of more defense treaties, and that will reject the use of military might as a primary means of projecting U.S. power around the World.

I wouldn't give a damn if his Cabinet were all white, or all Green aliens, all Blue Smurfs, or if they had 3 eyes, 4 legs, 1 arm or were all bald on one side. I'm more concerned with what these people stand for...what issues will they be passionate about and who they will be fighting for. What I want to see are people who have my interests...and the interests of many other Progressives in the front of their minds.

And on that front, Obama has failed miserably with his choices.
I feel like a goddamn fool for even bothering to vote....and for somehow allowing myself to believe that I was part of some righteous event.

Truthiz said...

Ya know AI...

I wish I had a greater understanding of the genuine Anger that some “Progressives” are expressing towards Obama right now. I really do!

But the truth is, I'm at a loss.

He was elected 3 ½ weeks ago. He hasn’t taken office yet. Not ONE policy initiative has been enacted yet. Nonetheless, some “Progressives” are writing him off already_?!

So I wonder.....

Is it really just about his picks thus far?

Or_is the anger prompted moreso by his “failure” to pass some “progressive” ideological litmus test?

I never heard Obama say anything during the primaries or the presidential campaign that suggested he’s an “ideologue”_ certainly not in a rigid construct sense.

In fact, while I don’t buy the wholesale assumption posited by people like Andrew Sullivan who articulate that with the election of Obama, America has now entered an era “where pragmatism and competence trumps all old ideological considerations and disputes," thereby rendering them obsolete_(I think the word “obsolete” goes a bit far)___

_I do believe however, that in Obama, we’ve elected a man, a politician, indeed a President_ who looks upon ideological considerations with much less significance, depending on the issue, circumstances and situation.

Does he have beliefs, standards, and principles that he’s not willing to compromise? Yes.

But the man is not an ideologue.

He's an idealist-pragmatist OR a pragmatic-idealist trying to carry out what he believes most Americans elected him to do, which is to: “restore common-sense, smart, effective”, government that is accountable to All Americans.

Where has he "betrayed" anyone? Or dropped the ball?!

Truthiz said...

That last line should have simply read:

I'm having difficulty seeing where Obama has betrayed anyone? Or dropped the ball?!


Hey there!

I think the Obama administration will look like an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue! He will mix in all of the Clinton loyalties with the Ivy Leaguers who are heavy hitters in the Party in DC and who are Washington-savvy.

Just wait and see....