What if you were Obama? What cabinet would you build?

While there is definitely good news regarding items on Obama’s presidential “to do” list, most of the news about the cabinet so far is worrying. Sexist Larry Summers??? Anti-Palestine Rahm Emanuel?? Anti-education Arnold Schwarzenegger? Nooooo!

The supposed short list of other candidates for the cabinet is not encouraging, populated as it is by sexists, extreme Zionists who bow to AIPAC rather than the populace, Hummer drivers, and those of white penis privilege. As Jill over at Feministe notes, “I can’t help looking at his list of advisors, and his growing list of White House staff, and think, ‘Huh. That’s a lot of dudes.'” I can’t help looking at the list and thinking “Huh. Looks like one party government as usual. What about CHANGE?”

If I were Obama, my list would be much different. First of all, I have a cynical mistrust of most politicians, so I would look to fill my cabinet with activists, humanists, feminists, womanists, academics, and artists… My cabinet list is obviously a “dream cabinet” rather than a reality based one… But, if this cabinet were to exist, think of how the world might change…

Without further adieu, my cabinet choices are as follows:

Chief of Staff – Cynthia McKinney

Who else to give the highest cabinet position then to my FIRST CHOICE for president. (Yes, I voted for McKinney.) She wants to end the Federal Reserve System, she is critical of Zionism, AIPAC, and other imperialist forces that aim to keep power in the hands of the few. She is not beholden to lobbyists or the interests of PNAC. She has an excellent stance on immigration and on other key issues – see here for proof!

Attorney General – Angela Davis

Longtime activist and founder of Critical Resistance, who better than to lead the department of justice? Plus, how cool to have a former member of the “FBI’s most wanted” list as Attorney General!

Secretary of Homeland Security – – Cindy Sheehan

She may not have evicted Nancy Pelosi from the house, but she sure could make our global home a more secure place for us all through her de-militirized, anti-imperial, pro-peace and justice stance.

Secretary of State – Maya Angelou

Her wisdom and vision would certainly serve us well in matters of relations with other nations.

Secretary of Agriculture  – Vanadana Shiva

OK, so if she would be willing to move stateside for awhile and serve in the US cabinet, this Indian ecofeminist extraordinaire would be my first choice.

Secretary of Commerce  – Barbara Ehrenreich

Best known for Nickel and Dimed, her understandings of wealth inequality and worker’s rights, along with her incisive, humorous voice, would make her a fabulous edition. Plus, an adventurous streak like hers is most definitely needed in any cabinet.

Secretary of Defense – Karen Kwiatkowski

A woman who believes that “We have a Congress that failed in every way to ask the right questions, to hold the President to account. Our Congress failed us miserably, and that’s because many in Congress are beholden to the Military Industrial Complex” most definitely would be a good choice.

Secretary of Education   – bell hooks

A passionate advocate for “Feminist Education for Critical Consciousness,” hooks would remove biases in the curriculum and work to create a mass-based educational movement for EVERYONE.

Secretary of Energy –  Maxine Waters

As an advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor, and as the founder of the “Out of Iraq” Congressional Caucus, Waters could surely uses her experience and intellect to advocate for a sustainable, eco-friendly, socially just energy policy.

Secretary of Health & Human Services – F.R.I.D.A.

The more dedicated activists in the cabinet the better! These disability rights activists would rock the way we approach health and human services while shredding ableist bias.

Secretary of Housing & Urban Development – Dolores Hayden

We need professors in the cabinet too! The author of “What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like?”, Hayden could work towards non-sexist housing and development.

Secretary of Interior – Winona la Duke

As a Vice Presidential candidate with Nader (who endorsed Kerry during her campaign), la Duke is a “hellraiser” of the best kind.

Secretary of Labor – Dolores Huerta

This  labor movement leader and co-founder the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez would be the best Secretary of Labor eva!

Secretary of Transportation – Jennifer Schumaker

Who better than a woman who walked 500 miles along highways and byways as our Secretary of Transportation? Plus, as a mom of 4, she has expertise in ‘reality transportation’ – or , how to get 4 kids all the places they need to be with one car and no decent public transpo system… Anyone who has dealt with similar transportation conundrums, knows that a person with ‘parent taxi’ experience would be a great choice for managing the transportation needs of the nation.

Secretary of Treasury – Echidne of the Snakes

The cabinet must have at least one goddess. I can think of no better goddess for the Treasury position than a feminist economist goddess.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs  – Ann Wright

Wright resigned in protest of the Iraq War. She works tirelessly towards eradicating war crimes as well as ending military violence against female soldiers and civilians. With 13 years of active duty experience and 16 years in the army reserves, she is critical of the US failure to resolve the Israel-Palestine situation, the illegal occupation of Iraq, and the lack of sound policy regarding North Korea.

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Sarah Palin. Just Kidding!!! Susan Griffin

As one of the matriarchs of eco-feminism, Griffin could put her vision of “placing diplomacy and cooperation before aggression and violence, for the good old fashioned morals our fore mothers and fathers celebrated, not as in we’re going to invade your private life and tell you who you can marry, but as in, we don’t torture and we don’t wage unprovoked wars” to great use in the EPA!

Director of the Office of Management and Budget – IAFFE

Our budget and economy are so messed up I think we need more than one person to solve these problems. I nominate the crew at The International Association for Feminist Economics.

Director of the National Drug Control Policy – Julia Sudbury

Author of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison Industrial Complex, Julia Sudbury gets my vote for many reasons – one of them being that she calls GW Bush a “global hangman.”

U.S. Trade Representative – Janie Chuang

Chuang advocates for the inclusion of human rights protections for trafficked persons. She works for international human rights. What a concept – someone who works for the rights of all the globe’s peoples – not just those within our borders!

Joint (not) Secretaries of Feminist Affairs – Gloria Steinem, Ellie Smeal, Andrea Smith, Cherrie Moraga, and Patricia Hill Collins.

Ok, so (BIG SURPRISE!) the Department of Feminist Affairs does not exist. But these are just SOME of the people I would appoint to this MUCH NEEDED department. In keeping with the collectivist tenets of feminism, of course they would have to equally share power and we would come up with an alternative term to the gender-biased ‘secretary’…

Following the wonderful Angela Davis’ insight that What this country needs is more unemployed politicians,” I would like to remove most existing politicians from the government payroll. The first two to go would be:

Nancy Pelosi – for so many reasons:  for ok’ing torture, for ok’ing surveillance and other Orwellien/Patriot Acts, for putting impeachment off the table

Joe Leiberman – yeah he must go, he supports surveillance and illegal wire-tapping, wants to invade Iran, he supports anti-choice licence plates (!) and sucks in so many other ways…

Others chimed in with their recommendations.

Jennifer Schumaker noted “I would have a professional philosopher, versed in the philosophical traditions of the entire globe, not just the Greco-Roman to modern Western strains.”

And Minority Militant, far more of a realist than I, listed his as follows:

Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel (Love it, actually my congressman now) – Done
Press Sec: Robert Gibbs (Perfect) – Done
Sec of Def: Prefer John Kerry or Chuck Hagel
Sec of State: Prefer Gov. Richardson or John Kerry
Sec of Treasury: Steve Jobs or Paul Volcker
CIA Director: Move Adm Mullen here (Sailors are the best intel folks)
Joint Chief of Staff: Put Gen. Petraeus here
Attorney General: Hillary Clinton (So what?)
Fed Chair: Keep Ben Bernanke (I know, I know, but he doesn’t like hype. I like that.)
National Security Advisor: Eric Shinseki
Need one or two declared republicans….
Sec of Trans: Any Repub would do (Trying to be bipartisan)
Sec. of Labor:  Some Republican
EPA: Robert Kennedy Jr.
Sec. of Ed: Mike Honda

What cabinet would you build, dear readers?

18 thoughts on “What if you were Obama? What cabinet would you build?”

  1. Cynthia McKinney???? Are you serious? The person who accused the Louisiana national guard of murdering 5000 Katrina survivers? Who spent god knows how long on the oh-so-important mission of releasing Tupac’s FBI file? Some of the others I can see, but appointing a nut like her would give me cause to move to Canada. Well, ok, just make an empty threat to that effect. But still.

  2. I am sorry I didn’t get back to you in time but I have to say, I love the list especially the choice of Vandanna Shiva. The would be perfect and for us to make the changes that real need to made. Can you imagine how Monsanto would be shaking? Yeah I love that pick!

  3. What a cool post, and thanks for the info about Moraga! Too Shy to Stop writer Ken Ward wrote an article about his experience listening to her speak at the University of Oregon. You can read the full article here.

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  5. Talk about a nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue! I like Maya Angelou but she is in poor health…The others?? sounds like a box of cereal to me., flakes, nuts and barley (for constipation). Oh, it would change the world allright-after they stopped laughing. Might want to tell Putin and other semi-dicators of the world that the America is ripe for the plucking.

  6. Oh Henry, you’re so afraid of change! Back to Uncle Sam cereal for you.

    Spike Lee, Minister of Culture!

    Sherman Alexie, Minister of Corrective Satire!

    bell hooks, Overseer of the Deconstruction of White Supremacist Capitalist Heterosexist Patriarchy!

  7. ha…….change is good and Spike Lee sounds Ok by me. Plus I love satire!!!! So bring it ON!!! (where have I heard that before?

    “bell hooks, Overseer of the Deconstruction of White Supremacist Capitalist Heterosexist Patriarchy”

    Quite a mouthful and how would she destruct all of that and what would replace it: a womanist, bartering economy, with no sexual differentiation and free love for all?
    Of course I see nothing wrong with being heterosexual, always have and always will-women are a wondeful creation. But tell me, how would you define “patriarchy” since this country is about as un-patriarchal as one could imagine.

  8. “wow such a racist and sexist post!! where are the men!?!??!?!?!”

    So, people who disagree with you are labelled as sexist and racist! Now, tell me what is sexism and racism and for good measure define patriarchy? And since when is it wrong to be heterosexual which, by the way is not a “choice” I made-just good old biology. Interesting that the same people who claim to be progressives, sensitive and anti-racist feel perfectably comfortable spewing out their bile against Christians, heterosexuals, whites and traditional marriage.
    I urge those who are against {the patriarchy} to visit the countries who practice it: India, Pakistan, Omar, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and others. have a good trip and let me know how things turn out!

  9. Henry, I’m a woman and I completely agree with your post. What I was trying to say is that it’s just as sexist to have a cabinet full of women as it is to have one full of men.

    Sexism works both ways. Women can also be sexist, not just men.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your statement:

    ” Interesting that the same people who claim to be progressives, sensitive and anti-racist feel perfectably comfortable spewing out their bile against Christians, heterosexuals, whites and traditional marriage.”

  10. As always, this is BRILLIANT! My brain was stuck on mainstream-mode when I was considering potentials for this cabinet–but really THIS is a true “Dream Cabinet” for progressives!

  11. Culturepress,
    Thanks!You mean you didn’t find it horribly sexist and racist like some of the previous commenters?

    Odd how certain people only call “sexism” when men are excluded and “racism” when whites are not the ONLY people included. If I had put an ALL MALL ALL WHITE cabinet together, how many righties and trolls would have complained?

  12. Well, I suppose you could put in a few straight white dudes for appearances sake (although we will all know that they just got there because of affirmative action and that they don’t truly deserve the postings, that they must have slept their way to the top, and are obviously neglecting their parental duties). What else am I missing?

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