Such were the sentiments of President-Elect Joe Biden in regards to Charlottesville on a leaked private meeting with civil rights leaders and those who supported his campaign. This statement reveals a cavalier attitude that has informed his political appointments. These appointments follow the legacy of Barack Obama and of a larger neoliberal project that has ravaged the country for decades.
Joe Biden's appointments do not show promise for a progressive agenda to be fulfilled in the United States. A warmongering class of politicians will simply continue the status quo of the pre-Trump era. This will simply continue a deleterious record of US intervention and militarism. This is demonstrated in Biden's pick of Neera Tanden for Office of Management and Budget, who supported US intervention in Syria and Libya. Her support for expanding US militarism calls for the destruction of human life, which is no different than her positions on domestic policy. Tanden is against a $15 minimum wage and single-payer healthcare, both of which are rising in popularity among US voters. If she's against our interests as voters, is she a safe pick?
In addition, his pick for defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, will be the first African American to lead the Pentagon. Although this may seem like a win for identity politics, it's a loss for those that suffer under US imperialism. Austin serves on the Board of Directors for Raytheon Technologies, a weapons manufacturing company that gets most of its revenue from the US government. It's clear that Austin directly profits from the manufacture of weapons that ravage the countries we loot, such as the Middle East. It's no surprise that a former US Army general is a warmonger, but to have another warmonger serve as the head of the Pentagon sullies any expectation that the Biden Administration is a beacon of peace. If we are to restore the soul of America as Biden promised, is our soul located in oil in the Middle East?
We also have Susan Rice as Biden's pick for the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Susan Rice became the first African American woman to be a US representative to the United Nations. The head of the White House Domestic Policy Council is a key position for determining how our infrastructure, clean energy, education, and equity. This doesn't seem remotely fitting as she sat and did nothing about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which happened under her watch, causing the deaths of 800,000 people. She and other key officials of the Clinton Administration decided to look the other way when tensions ran high before the genocide took place. When the UN wanted to conduct an investigation into the genocide, Rice asked "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?" She clearly had no remorse for being at least partly responsible for a genocide that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Her previous malicious actions place doubt that she'll protect our citizens when tensions run high in her time in office during Biden's presidency.
Identity politics can only go so far. It has been weaponized by the neoliberal faction and turned into something entirely different: the tokenism of people of color to gain votes and appear progressive. Once you look into their track records, you find far more sinister actions of their pasts, and it makes you wonder who is calling the shots. It makes you wonder if we're headed towards change at all.