As the devastating reality of the election settles, as the tears of sorrow are wiped away, America will have to suffer four more years with George W. Bush. In his second term, many of his Cabinet’s original members have decided to call it quits and new appointments are being made. The idea that these faces may bring freshness and common sense to Bush’s policies may be a hopeful thought, but it is untrue.
The president’s new appointments have appeared worse than the first time around. Replacing Donald L. Evans as Secretary of Commerce is a man who has been “part of a balanced breakfast” for quite a long time, former Kellogg CEO and Cuban-American, Carlos M. Gutierrez.
It seems slightly more than coincidence that this is Bush’s third minority promotion for his second term. Considering the amount of photo-ops he attempts to get alongside African-Americans or Hispanics, one cannot help but question the integrity of his decision.
Expecting more of this president is foolish. Without actually promoting affirmative action programs or attempting to raise the minimum wage, it’s obvious he’s merely trying to appear tolerant. Behind the façade of acceptance deceptively depicted by Bush’s Cabinet is the truth.
When he was appointed on Nov. 29, Gutierrez said, “Mr. President, I believe passionately in your vision of a 21st century where America is the best country in the world with which to do business.”
Gutierrez’s passion, and ultimately Bush’s goal, isn’t to make the country the best place for people to live. They are in fact striving for an America that further isolates minorities. They want America to be a corporate playground that has no boundaries.
While by definition a free market shouldn’t hurt minorities, it absolutely does. Corporate policing that would revolve around meeting minority quotas or increasing the minimum wage is looked down upon by businesses.
The argument is that a free-market economy works best without regulation. Regardless of whether or not this is true, one cannot merely rely on the market to look out for minorities. Such a venture requires government intervention, not blind faith in the market and corporations.
Bush is trying to cover up the fact that his administration has no interest in developing affirmative action programs or forcing businesses to meet minority quotas by appointing people like Gutierrez to his Cabinet. This isn’t new to Bush; one can cite his first-term appointments of Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell as other examples.
In his book, “Fraud,” Paul Waldman, a journalist for The Gadflyer, an Internet newsletter, wrote, “At a press conference in July 2002, a reporter asked Bush about criticisms on his administration’s civil-rights record. He responded, ‘Let’s see. There I was sitting around the leader-the table with foreign leaders looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice.'”
It’s clear that Bush feels that because he’s appointing minorities to his cabinet he has no more liability to minorities. Rice, new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and now Gutierrez have been appointed for his second term, so he doesn’t need to develop welfare programs to bring progress and growth to poor urban minority communities, for example. He is merely concerned with the superficial appearance of his Cabinet and not the real effects of his policies.
The goal of the administration should be to provide for those who are less fortunate, to those who have been devastated by the system. It shouldn’t be making life easy for businesses and essentially putting profit before people. This means increasing the minimum wage, developing welfare programs, promoting affirmative action and working toward nationalized health care. These programs and ideas promote equality, not appointing minorities to Cabinet positions.
Gutierrez’s lucrative record as CEO of Kellogg makes him more than capable of serving as commerce secretary. But the motives behind the selection are deceptive and ultimately dangerous. One wonders if Gutierrez realizes how he will be exploited to make Bush look “minority friendly.”
This Cabinet appointment may seem like a step in the right direction, but based on the convictions of Gutierrez and the motives of Bush, this idea could not be further from the truth. In the end, Gutierrez is one of the only minorities that has benefited from this administration’s policies.
Jonathan Rashid can be reached at iJonny@Gmail.com.