There are many people in Donald Trump’s cabinet who I do not care for. I don’t like the fact that people who don’t seem to be qualified to run the departments that have been chosen to do so, such as; Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Steven Mnuchin and Rex Tillerson. I hope they do not destroy the departments which they are supposed to protect.
Then there are a couple of cabinet picks, such as General James Mattis and Nikki Haley, as while I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do, I can at least respect them and know that they will do the job to the best of their ability. There is one member of the Cabinet though who truly worries me, and that is Attorney General Jeff Sessions. His history of alleged racism and bigotry makes his presence in the current administration worrisome and potentially dangerous to millions of people in the United States.
Jeff Sessions is a former lawyer and Senator from Alabama. As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is in charge of the Department of Justice, and therefore the top law enforcer in the country. With this, he has a great deal of power, in terms of what cases get attention, and he is also free to give advice in judicial decisions which sets a tone surrounding different topics and situations.
He has a history of saying things that some feel are bigoted, which means that he could set a discriminatory tone throughout the department. He also has the power to use that towards the disadvantage of different groups of people. Sessions has been involved in cases where there has been allegations of him saying racist remarks when he was a prosecutor.
He has been widely believed to have said that the NAACP is “un-American”, and that affirmative action is a “difficult subject”. He has opposed rights for the LGBT community, by opposing same-sex marriage, and the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. He railed against the Supreme Court when they ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage.
He also doesn’t believe that crimes against people in the LGBT community are considered hate crimes. This could mean that cases involving hate crimes against LGBT individuals could not be recognized properly, causing hate crimes to go unnoticed and victims to be shamed even further after the incident. This sets a bad precedent in the administration, especially since many of the other Cabinet members are also accused by some of being homophobic as well.
Jeff Sessions also brings a hard stance against marijuana to the administration, undercutting the efforts to stop the ineffective war on drugs that has led to the mass incarceration of many people, which has been seen disproportionately in black communities. He once joked that he was fine with the KKK, until there was pot involved. This makes it seem like he’s fine with racism but not with marijuana.
He can use his hard opposition to marijuana use to further incarcerate young black males for nonviolent drug offenses. His view seems to be that if you smoke marijuana, imprisonment is a just punishment, when in reality that doesn’t help society at all. There is no reason to be sending teenagers and other young adults to prison when all they did was smoke a little marijuana, but he knows he has the power to use pot use to his advantage.
It makes me extremely nervous is that more people are likely to be thrown in jail because of his seemingly discriminatory beliefs about nonviolent drug use and the black community. With this, the tone of the administration could be one that’s harsher on nonviolent drug offenses, and at a time when police brutality is being spotlighted in the news daily, this will be dangerous for the administration to continually ignore.
His staunch opposition to immigration goes along well with the current administration’s, which could lead to more deportations, especially since the Department of Justice deals with immigration into the United States. He could strictly enforce potentially unconstitutional executive orders from the President that have to do with undocumented workers and other immigration issues. This could affect many lives that need our protection and support.
Jeff Sessions knows what he is doing in terms of twisting the law to support his views when he needs them too. He has done things that would seem to contradict these views but those actions are few and far between. He has the potential to be so successful at what he wants to do because he’s quieter than many of the other Cabinet members, but also because of the importance of his department in the administration.
He holds a lot of power, and due to his ability to set the priorities of law enforcement, his actions and views hold serious consequences. They hold consequences for the black and other minority communities, women and the LGBT community. All I can say is let’s continue to stand up and voice our concerns. As Michelle Obama once said, “When they go low, we go high.”