For the gazillion people who would drop everything to head to DC to work for the Obama administration, the Plum Book is the Bible. It lists the more than 7,000 government jobs that open up with a new administration.
I spent considerable time reviewing the contents of this book before determining that being home with fourteen-year- old twins on the verge of high school is (a) crazy enough and (b) my own version of public service.
I learned a few things I'd like to share.
1) It's amazing how many times the word "Deputy" can appear in a job title.
2) A job title doesn't give you much to go on.
So there I was, terribly overwhelmed by the vast number of positions, the number of Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Assistant Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and so on, with not a clue about the scope or qualifications for a single one.
I then began to look at interesting titles and I then headed to the appropriate government website to see what the work in that particular area looked like and then more specifically, to look at the credentials of the person currently holding the job.
The first stop on my tour was the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A particular area of interest of mine. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Constructive Impatience, I believe that Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to use his powerful bully pulpit to help move the struggle for LGBT equality squarely into the civil rights arena. Where it belongs.
I don't know about you, but I can't think of a more stunning credential for the person charged with managing the efforts of the United States Commission on Civil Rights then a good solid tenure at The Family Research Council.
For six years, the current Staff Director was a Vice President there. To understand why my jaw dropped when I saw this, you actually must take a visit to The Family Research Council website. I hate driving traffic there but you need to spend a few minutes there. And while you are there, think civil rights.
Your jaw dropped too, right?
But just in case you don't have time, I offer you this quote from their site. Here's what they think about gay and lesbian Americans.
Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.
It is also worth noting that this man worked his way up. Before his tenure with the Civil Rights Commission, he spent seven, count 'em seven years as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children in Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Or should I just say he had a senior position in the Administration for not my Children and not Families like mine?
And this appointment was hardly an anomaly. As I ventured through the biographies of Deputy and Assistant Deputies, I found other FRC alumni. Lots of them.
The exercise was downright scary.
So, when we find ourselves furious about Rick Warren's appointment, we should all remember that there are so many roles that have so much impact on our lives, our families, our kids. And we need to advocate for smart, qualified and open-minded Americans to fill them.