No free passes for past bad actors

To: The Whiny Loser

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my shoulders are up around my ears again, but so far this morning they and I have been pretty chill, there’s even been some happy tears. Why, you don’t ask? Well, seeing the upper “front” page of the WP announcing all the awesome, diverse, experienced Biden picks to lead major league government agencies and initiatives got my heart thumping in a way it hasn’t in a long, long time – if ever. Certainly I was happy when President Obama appointed a woman “first” or a Black or Hispanic or Asian “first” to some big office, but even his historically most diverse group of advisors and leaders was very (very) heavy on White males.

Numerically, Biden’s Cabinet and agency leaders will probably skew White and male as well – the pipeline’s been broken for a very long time – but if he keeps moving in the direction he’s signaling, we might, might, might have a shot at having federal leadership that’s starting to actually resemble US. So cool. So about time.

Plus, it looks like we’re getting a crop of experienced individuals who know how to broker deals and, critically, know how to talk as though they care about the people they serve, which might just mean they actually do care about US. Reading about how respected, principled, and human our soon to be Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen is sent shivers, especially when I did a mental ‘compare and contrast’ with everything that Mnuchin telegraphs (and damn if his scorched earth move putting $455 billion worth of UNSPENT Cares Funds out of her reach doesn’t just f*ing seal the deal that he’s a first-order monster). Having someone in charge of Treasury who 1) isn’t a monster, 2) who multiple super smart people say is always the most prepared, and 3) who cares about real people’s lives signals an incredibly positive shift.

There’s a lot more to come, but it seems Biden and Harris are sending the signal that they’re invested in choosing leaders that get us, care about us, care about the planet and our children’s futures, that are smart and competent, and that are willing and able to negotiate. They’re also sending the message that theirs will be an administration that will lean on people with deep experience in public service who are open to learning from past mistakes.

Of course time will tell. There will be missteps. And, there will be formidable (and infuriatingly cynical, bullshit) barriers and obstacles erected to thwart their efforts. You and Mitch really shine in your own special ways when it comes to lobbing grenades and stonewalling, respectively, and I bet the two of you are secretly happy about getting to return to your favorite destructo “Champions of the Wronged Right” activities. After all, it’s way easier to attack someone else’s position and efforts than it is to establish one’s own coherent position or do the work oneself (and yes, I’m aware that personally, I’m going to need to figure out what to do with myself after you finally leave office at noon EST on 2/20/21).

In addition to figuring out how the hell to manage the multidimensional political jeopardy you/mitch and your (scary, thuggish) misguided supporters bring to the mix, B & H are also going to have to figure out how to deal with all the GOP and business people who suddenly start acting “reasonable” and want to play ball. Personally, I think the price of admission should be a public apology for their contemptible complicity to you/mitch, complete with hand on whatever book is holy to them, a solemn request for forgiveness, and the performance of some kind of penance (i.e., community service on behalf of constituents they harmed through their complicity, opportunities for which are sadly abundant). Seriously, the bar needs to be high for those wily foxes to be allowed back into polite company.

May we be safe from two-faced boogers.
May we insist that some sort of Trump-era Truth and Reconciliation process happen.
May we be strongly principled when it comes to who is allowed seats at the table.
May we accept that we can’t give past (current) bad actors passes.

Tracy Simpson

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