November 07, 2008

A Letter of Protest

Submitted here. Reasons here. More information on the two undesirables here and here. Feel free to adapt this for your own protest letter.

Dear President-Elect Obama:

By now you have begun to hear concern from the scientific community over the potential appointments of Larry Summers as Treasury Secretary and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. I am not a scientist. I am merely a citizen who must also express her objection to these candidates.

One of the hallmarks of the Bush administration has been the unprecedentedly political nature of appointments. Party and personal loyalty have trumped all considerations of competence, and the country has paid the price in Iraq, in Louisiana and on Wall Street. This can't be allowed to happen again, but serious consideration of Summers and Kennedy would represent a continued triumph of politics over competence.

Summers has demonstrated a persistent inability to present his ideas with any kind of diplomacy. He cannot lead. Considering the scope of the changes that must come to American markets and the resistance those changes will face, a lack of tact and the inability to inspire others are fatal flaws. In addition, the choice of Summers, even for Treasury, would signal that your administration is not serious in its desire to encourage more women to go into STEM.

Kennedy has done some excellent work for the environment, and he deserves to be recognized for his service. However, he too is unsuited for a leadership role in your administration. His understanding of science is led by his ideology instead of his ideas being shaped by science. This is most apparent in his championing of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, but it applies in his understanding of environmental cause and effect as well. Whoever heads the EPA must be guided by the science instead of choosing which science to believe.

Either of these picks would continue the current administration's embrace of incompetence and ideology. Neither would represent the change we were promised. And either would lead to a distracting and embarrassing confirmation fight that you cannot afford in the early days of your administration. I have already asked my congressional representatives to support your agenda of change. Please, avoid these candidates and others like them so that I don't have to ask them to work against you. We don't have the time for that.

I thank you for your consideration.

No comments: