And the First Shall Be Last
By Dr. E. Faye Williams
Trice Edney News Wire
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:16 – KJV)
As a student of The Bible, I’ve engaged in and observed numerous discussions related to the meaning of this biblical passage. As with most things biblical, the debate continues beyond human understanding. Notwithstanding, like most things biblical and spiritual, these homilies find application in “the natural.” A simple review of recent political activities in Washington lends themselves to a non-spiritual relevance of Matthew 20:16. Cases in point are the 2014 nominations of US Attorney Loretta Lynch for the Office of Attorney General and Ashton Carter for the Office of Secretary of Defense.
I, as I believe true for most Americans, consider chronological progression to be in line with the natural order of things. That is, 1 precedes 2; first come, first served. When Loretta Lynch was nominated on November 8, 2014, I thought that she would complete the confirmation process far ahead of Ash Carter, who was nominated on December 5, 2014– almost one month after Lynch. How mistaken I was!
Only those most infected with political animus could deny the qualifications of either of these nominees. Both have had distinguished careers in their respective fields.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale with a double-major in Physics and Medieval History, a Rhodes Scholar, a former Harvard University professor of Science and International Affairs, and holds his doctorate in Theoretical Physics. During the Clinton Administration he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and, since 2009, has served the Obama Administration in executive Defense Department positions, most recently as Deputy Secretary of Defense. His was considered, and proved to be, a slam-dunk nomination.
Likewise, Loretta Lynch has had a distinguished academic career and sterling career in law and law enforcement. She received her BA in English and American Literature from Harvard in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1984. In 1990, she joined the Eastern District (NY) US Attorney’s Office as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor. From 1994 to 1998, she served as Chief of the Long Island Office, and from 1998 to 1999 was the chief assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of NY. In 1999, she was nominated by President Clinton to serve as US Attorney for the district. In 2010, President Obama nominated her to again serve as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of NY. During her latest tenure, she has been noted for prosecuting the securities violations of several major banks and for her aggressive prosecution of political corruption.
The fact that escapes most is that President Obama can and should select cabinet officers who can assist him in the most efficient and effective execution of his responsibilities. These selections must be accomplished with the advice and consent of the Senate, but Senate tradition suggests that unless a nominee is unfit, the President gets his choice. Instead of advice and consent, this Senate seems determined to frustrate the choice of the President.
Until the afternoon of February 26, 2015, there was a question as to whether Ms. Lynch would be allowed to receive the full vote of the Senate. All committee Democrats and three Republican Senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate. Importantly, eight Republican Senators, with nothing more than partisan interests, voted against her.
Two things are clear from the committee’s vote. First, it’s time to contact your two senators to demand confirmation of Loretta Lynch ASAP! Second, several Republican Senators who voted against her serve as a result of small margins of victory in the last election, proving the importance of every vote.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women, www.nationalcongressbw.org. 202/678-6788