In an effort to insist that the GOP can be diverse, a Republican congresswoman was finally named the chair of the House Administration Committee. Ironically, the response hasn’t been diverse at all. There’s a general distaste all over the Internet, including posts on the congresswoman’s Facebook page. Of course, Jon Stewart added a few comedic remarks. Many find the GOP’s appointment insulting and equal to the so called “War on Women.” Some have urged Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-Mich.) to decline her appointment as a statement to the GOP-dominated House that she won’t be, in the words of Jon Stewart, a “House wife.”
Much criticism is based on comparing House Republicans to House Democrats, as well as the insulting idea of “tokenism.” According to a Washington Post article by Ed O’Keefe, “House Democrats are expected to have five women as ranking members on committees. In the Democratic-controlled Senate, women chair at least six permanent or select committees.” Just by the numbers, the GOP lost this battle for diversity, putting the notion of tokenism less in doubt. But to me, the real challenge is to find out the extent of this congresswoman's "diversity."
What does diversity look like in politics? Some define it as the election of a black president. Others say it’s something in the form of having LGBT politicians or feminist legislation. It’s even safe to say that diversity can be seen in party politics, as two ideologies usually battle against each other for national positions. The general idea is that diversity represents a range of values and people under one system. So, how close to diversity does the GOP get by appointing Congresswoman Miller?
Well, she’s a woman! Anyways, Congresswoman Miller has stayed true to her Republican values over the years. The Washington Post describes her as a “Bush ally.” Here’s a quick list of nationally relevant issues straight from her own biographical site that claims she has a “long history of efficiency and effectiveness:”
- She doesn’t support Obamacare – go figure.
- She cares about small business.
- She wants federal agencies to be transparent (a little reminiscent of Ron Paul).
- She wants to revitalize the automotive industry.
Who’s to say she isn’t diverse, but the only apparent indication of how much diversity she can bring to the table is her gender.
To some, this isn't enough. Sadly, she doesn’t have the perks of being both multicultural and female. But certainly, if the GOP didn't select a congresswoman as a committee chair at all, people would still be dissatisfied and insulted. The truth is that there aren’t many qualified, “diverse” GOP congresswomen. But the good news is that this won’t be the trend for long, as diversity and openness are being embraced more and more in national politics.
That’s why I believe declining the appointment would essentially be a step backwards for diversity in politics. Conservative women need representation too. I’d define diversity in national politics as all about addressing various ideologies and providing a base for democracy to flourish. The appointment of Congresswoman Miller is a baby step towards diversity for the struggling GOP.