Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Election Is Over. Now What?

At a few minutes past 11 here on the East Coast, the media called the election for Barack Obama. And I began to cry. I cried out of pride for my country. I cried out of relief that the extreme right wing of the Republican Party can no longer ruin this country. I cried out of happiness.

But now the dancing in the streets is over. The firecrackers have burned out. Now it's time to find out if the hopes that Barack Obama managed to bring to this cynic, and others around the country, will actually be fulfilled.

I'm not sure they will be. Recent news about the building of Obama's staff and cabinet have me worried. Rahm Emmanuel - the president-elect's new chief of staff - doesn't bother me all that much. Some are whining that Obama's selection of a Clinton administration veteran is a betrayal of the promise of change we heard from the Obama campaign. I don't see that. Emmanuel is known as an attack dog - the sort of man who bugs others until they do what he wants. That's just the sort of person you need as chief of staff. So while I'm not ecstatic or anything, I'm not unhappy about Rahm.

What I am very unhappy about is the rumors I'm hearing that Obama might appoint RFK Jr. to the head of the EPA and Lawrence Summers as Sec. of the Treasury. Why do I have a problem with this? Well, Lawrence Summers may be a great economist. I don't really know. What I do know is that he is well known for being a sexist. He's had no qualms about saying things like "girls can't do math". Appointing Summers to the Treasury despite his sexism would be a sign of tacit acceptance of his sexist positions. Would the Obama administration appoint him if his comments had been racist or anti-semitic? Of course not. But sexism, oh, that can be overlooked. Well, not by me.

RFK Jr. is even worse. He's an antivaccinationist and pusher of pseudoscience. No one who has so little respect for science should be anywhere near any bureaucratic agency that has to do with science. After 8 years of far right wing anti-science policies, the last thing we need is 8 more years of far left anti-science policies. If you want to learn more about why RFK Jr. shouldn't be near anything having to do with government involvement in science, see here. Why can't our bloody government support reason and evidence for once! Christ this makes me angry.

If it makes you as angry as it makes me, you can actually make your wishes known to the Office of the President-Elect here. It doesn't have to be about these particular appointments. This is at least one sign of change, that the president-elect has actually set up a way for you to give your opinion.

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