Amidst the turmoil of political upheaval and insurrection, it has been easy to overlook the changing face of politics we are now witnessing. Only in his second full week as the United States 46th president, Joe Biden is rapidly following through on his pledge to make his cabinet more representative of our country’s demographics. In all of its members, cabinet or cabinet-level positions, 48% of those nominated are women. Non-white cabinet or cabinet-level nominations positions comprise 52%. The country’s first openly gay cabinet member will be sworn in with his husband holding the Bible. A Cuban immigrant is the first immigrant nominated to become the Secretary of Homeland Security. All will be sworn in by the country’s first woman Vice President who is Black and South Asian.
For the first time in US history, powerful voices of the American people will not only be represented, but shared. Voice – that which enables the experience, needs, and histories of peoples to be expressed. Voice, that which opens opportunities to build policies, practices and programs that represent and meet the needs of the many, not only the few.
Outdated and incorrect notions of “color-blindness” and gender equality can be upturned by listening and learning, but it is only when voices of many Americans can express power over persuasion, that real change can occur. President Biden has nominated more women to his cabinet than his six predecessors. In his nominated cabinet, there is greater age diversity, inclusive of younger citizens who represent our future. The cabinet represents Black, Latinx, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and White citizens. Such representation ensures a fuller understanding of the needs of the people as members of a community know its needs and talents. Sounder, more equitable decisions result. The whole truly can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Voice accelerates greater political participation, cascading and empowering younger voters of all races, genders, religions, and abilities to become more hopeful and more active. In seeing ourselves increasingly represented, we can envision our own voice in the center of power — no longer outside looking in, but inside transforming opportunity and access for a more equitable future. As the current administration leads us toward greater political parity, it opens a path, begins to build a pipeline that renders Vice President Harris’ promise come true, “I may be the first woman to hold this office, but I will not be that last.”
May it be so.