They’ve shown their hand, and it’s trembling

President* Trump,

The two recent Executive Orders pertaining to the federal workforce are certainly doozies. I’m referring to the one you issued on September 22nd entitled “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” and the one you issued on October 21st entitled “Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service.”

Seems to me that your lame-ass effort to quash diversity, equity, and inclusion training by claiming it’s inherently racist and sexist indicates you all are scared shitless. It stands to reason that a bunch of White men who’re feeling super secure as human beings wouldn’t try to shutdown educational opportunities for people to sort out how assumptions about race and sex/gender are baked into our systems. It also seems to me that the garbage about how messed up White people are who’re examining (and trying to correct) their own racism (and men who are examining their sexism) is sheer projection.

Basically, I think the growing numbers of White people who’re finally getting that we’ve been brainwashed to fear and look down on Black people and who’re joining forces with BIPOC people generally to dismantle systemic racism has got you all freaked the hell out because maybe this time the jig is finally up. It’s less draconian, but what you are pulling is the same sort divide and conquer stuff that was used to get 18th and 19th Century poor Whites to turn against enslaved and formerly enslaved Blacks. Granted, you likely have scared a lot of people into silence (the report your colleague hotline is a nice McCarthy-era throwback – good thinking whoever came up with that nugget), but this is too big and you all are too anachronistic to actually stop the conversation or the work. If anything, with this EO you all have shown your hand, and it’s trembling.

Now on to the other charming little missive designed to clobber the federal workforce – the EO you smugly signed on 10/21. This one sets things up so that certain federal employees (it’s really unclear which ones) can be summarily fired for whatever – poor performance, insubordination, disloyalty, being queer, someone not liking the looks of us – could be pretty much anything, couldn’t it? As reported in the WP on Friday, Rachel Greszler from the Heritage Foundation staunchly supports this EO because it’s not fair that CEO’s of private companies have more latitude to fire/remove employees than you have. I wonder if she wants to see a White House version of The Apprentice where you get to look out over the ranks of civil servants and pick people off by yelling “you’re fired!”? You think that’s it? Could be.

Whatever her motives, it seems to me that you both are missing a rather important distinction between private sector and civil service – it’s pretty basic, the former is private and the latter is not. Civil service employees are paid by taxpayers to make civil society operational and to safeguard and care for members of the public. There is not, and there should not be, loyalty tests – the system can’t run if there are deep purges every time a new administration takes office. What you’ve set up with this EO is yet another instance of you being an insecure, shortsighted nincompoop. I’ve no doubt that President Biden will rescind this EO, but consider for a minute if he didn’t and he chose to use it to rid the civil service ranks of anyone rumored to be loyal to the GOP. It’s like, ‘hello, anyone home?’

It occurs to me that this sort of destabilizing move is right up Putin’s ally so maybe it doesn’t matter to you that the next administration could use it against GOP/Trump loyalists. If the goal is to muck up the US governmental works, then what the hell, let ‘er rip – right? – you’ll be living high on the hog somewhere in Russia then any way.

May we be safe from insecure, malign leaders.
May we be willing to keep taking the high road despite the fear mongering.
May we be strong and brave (which doesn’t mean we aren’t scared).
May we accept that it’s going to keep getting worse for quite some time.

Tracy Simpson

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