It takes conviction to dismantle governmental machinery designed to advance the radical agenda of the political Left, and it takes creativity to refashion that raw material into something productive. In his first week on the job, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has shown he has the conviction, and he has the creativity.
On Wednesday, Youngkin appointed Angela Sailor to his cabinet as the Commonwealth's Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer. Sailor directed African American Affairs for President Bush's 2000 campaign, served as Vice President of The Heritage Foundation's Feulner Institute "to restore confidence in America's founding values and principles," and strongly opposed teaching critical race theory in classrooms. Youngkin also announced he would "introduce and support legislation to change the name of the office to the Diversity, Opportunity and Inclusion Office," which was previously known as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office.
That simple name change infuriated the Left. "Exchanging the word 'equity' for 'opportunity' again dismisses the struggles of marginalized peoples who have not been granted the same opportunities due to systemic racism," said Democratic Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. Unfortunately, she never explained how focusing on opportunity will harm those who lack it. Oddly, Youngkin's own executive order said exactly what she accused him of denying, "too many of our citizens have not received the equal opportunity they deserve." What her statement does make clear is that "equity" is no longer merely a synonym for "equality;" the Left has appropriated the term and imbued with a specific meaning: present racial discrimination in the opposite direction of past racial discrimination. Most Americans are getting wise to the con. We understand innately that two wrongs don't make a right.
Given its short and dishonorable history, it's strange to find anyone defending Virginia's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In 2019, then-Governor Ralph Northam first created the office as an apology for wearing blackface in a yearbook photo (he only survived the scandal because the lieutenant governor and attorney general were embroiled in their own scandals). A less credible origin is hard to imagine.
Youngkin's reforms to the office are far more than window-dressing; he began by terminating all staff and deleting the website. Youngkin's instructions to new Diversity Chief Angela Sailor signal the new mission:
- "Expand entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for disadvantaged Virginians"
- "Facilitate bringing Virginians of different faiths together in service"
- "Promote free speech and civil discourse in civic life, including viewpoint diversity in higher education"
- "Eliminate disparities in prenatal care, and be an ambassador for unborn children"
- "Be responsive to the rights of parents in educational and curricular decision making and ensure... the teaching of Virginia's and the United States' history is honest, objective, and complete."
Equal opportunity for all citizens, ending the campus cancel culture, blocking critical race theory from schools -- these sane, radically normal policies are what Virginians voted for last November. The Youngkin administration is targeting not pretended racism, but real racism, such as Planned Parenthood's targeting of black and Hispanic communities. Lo and behold, the election is already delivering changes, as Youngkin's term as governor lasts another four years.
"The Left is busy convincing itself that Youngkin has morphed into a radical," wrote National Review's Jim Geraghty. "They don't understand that more voters in the last election viewed them as the radical ones, and Youngkin's election and first few days in office have made that fact clear for anyone to see." That's good news for schoolchildren, whose parents will get a say in their education. That's good news for abortion survivors, who won't be "kept comfortable" while they are denied life-saving care.