Peter’s Politics

Although I had considered several topics to write about this week and indeed had started on a column, events on Tuesday dictated what I would write about this week.

Joe Biden has won the presidency. Kamala Harris is the new Vice President. Although there was an expectation of controversy over the election, I don’t think that very many people expected the chaos which the last few months have brought to light.

After a series of fruitless attempts at overturning the election results in the courts, attempts devolved into telephone calls attempting to literally strongarm state officials to disenfranchise many voters.

And, when these moves did not meet with success, we witnessed a black day in American politics. If I needed another reason to despise tRump, January 6th provided it. It made me glad that my Dad wasn’t with us, he would have been horrified. I frankly have no idea what I could have said to him about the whole sordid affair.

I will say this, though. In two hours America abandoned any pretense of being the shining symbol of Democracy. As more information comes out about it, the murky waters of this situation become increasingly clear, and it is obvious that there will be ramifications for many people, as there should be.

But finally the dark age ended, Biden was indeed inaugurated. Right from the start we got a very strong message that the past is past, and that we have entered a new era of calm and order, a return, however tentative, to building an inclusive society.

And what an amazing ceremony, a celebration of the dawning of an era of hope in our neighbour to the south. While I am not a big fan of Lady Gaga, she nailed the “Star Spangled Banner”, singing it without sounding like she was falling off a balcony mid note.

Biden’s speech was a statement of the enormous problems facing the nation, but he also mentioned the resiliency and resolve of the people and the need to work together, as a nation, to rebuild and heal. His speech was notable for a number of things, such as the lack of self reference and the expression of actual plans to improve Life in America.

And that wonderful poem by Amanda Gorman ! I was sitting on the couch absolutely transfixed by her awesome use of the English language. It took me a minute to get her hand gestures, but Betty explained it. It was an outstanding presentation by a young person who deserves to go far and I feel that Frost was smiling down.

Biden has started to assemble his cabinet, and herein lies the seed of this week’s column. As his assistant secretary of health and human services, he has selected Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be named to such an important government post. She is a pediatrician, was the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and has been in charge of Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19. She has been confirmed by a Republican dominated state Senate, as well as the U.S. Senate. She is a highly respected, highly educated public servant.

Except she was born a male. She was born a male.

Well, Loyal Reader, this was announced emphasizing the fact that she is the first openly transgender person named to such an important position.

This opened the floodgates for the usual flow of comments both ignorant, insensitive, insulting and intolerant. Her qualifications were called into question by any number of people. (As an aside, the definition of irony to me is any 45 supporter questioning the qualifications of any Cabinet nominee, after the circus of the last administration.)

Again, the facts backing up her absolute capability to more than adequately fill this position seem to fall on deaf ears or blind eyes, as people obsess over the fact that she is transgender.

I have news for those obsessors. Our world is changing. Finally steps are being taken to make sure that the needs and rights of all members of society are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, that they have people in positions of authority who understand their situation and will do their best to ensure that their lives and their rights are protected.

I sincerely do look forward to the day when headlines DON’T have to mention any race/gender/religious “firsts” in any human endeavour. Then we will be on the way to having an all inclusive society, where it doesn’t matter how much money or what your social standing or any other of any number of irrelevant and pointless things are used to ascertain your place in society.

See you soon.


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