By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
President-elect Joe Biden keeps rolling out the executive branch lineup he wants to help him govern the nation he was elected to lead. In the main, I find his selections so far to be an impressive collection of folks.
Biden keeps touting all the “firsts” he is asking to serve with him. The first openly gay Cabinet official; the first women to lead the energy and treasury departments; the first Native-American in the Cabinet; the first African-American to run the Pentagon and the Environmental Protection Agency.
He says he wants the executive branch of government to mirror the nation. It looks as though the president-elect is fulfilling that goal.
One of the remarkable aspects of the government he is forming is the number of individuals who struggled as they came of age, found their way into the world. The new interior secretary-designate talked of being homeless as a girl; the new energy secretary nominee told of her grandfather taking his own life because he couldn’t struggle with poverty.
Sure, there are marvelous success stories in the group. There appears to be a marked absence of billionaires of the type that populated the Cabinet that Donald Trump put together when he assumed office four years ago.
The new government in the making is a diverse group, comprising plenty of ethnic and racial minorities, women and men of various backgrounds. Many of them come to the new government with plenty of prior government experience.
Yes, we see a number of hands brought back from President Obama’s two terms in office. The new veterans affairs secretary served as White House chief of staff, the treasury secretary designate led the Fed during the Obama years, the White House chief of staff once filled a similar role for the VP during the Obama years and the climate envoy once served as secretary of state during the Obama administration.
I want to give Joe Biden a bit of credit for bringing back some tried-and-true government hands who played a role in governing during the successful two terms of the Obama administration. Indeed, the president-elect himself is a creature of the government he is now going to lead, serving 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president. For that matter, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris served in the U.S. Senate, was attorney general of California and was district attorney in San Francisco County; she, too, is fluent in government-speak and one cannot overstate the value knowing the language.
Americans took a gamble in electing a business mogul as president four years ago. To my way of thinking, it didn’t work out, given Donald Trump’s ignorance of how government works and his unwillingness to learn how to operate its intricate mechanism.
The nation will not have to face that particular issue when Joe Biden takes office as president.
So it is that the new president is crafting a government that resembles the nation. Moreover, it will be populated by those who know how it works, which in itself isn’t a “first.” It merely feels fresh compared to the chaos we have seen during the past four years.