Murphy picking transgender cabinet member should impress no one (Opinion)
Gov. Phil Murphy is nominating Allison Chris Meyers for the position of CEO of the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. An important job but not a glamorous one, only political insiders and wonks would normally pay any attention to this sort of thing.
But this one is historic. And it shouldn’t be.
You see, Allison Chris Meyers is the first transgender person to be appointed as a cabinet member in New Jersey history. Murphy, trying to burnish his progressive credentials, is making a big deal of this.
Murphy said we needed diversity and “it is important that the leadership in this state reflect the communities we serve. I look forward to working with Allison to determine how we can better serve our state workforce.”
That’s great. But it’s far more important that the right person be hired for the job to make the agency run its best. Qualifications matter more than gender, or transgender, or skin color, or religion or anything else.
And Meyers seems superbly qualified. She’s been in government service for more than 30 years and has worked at the commission for 21 years, most recently as its deputy chair. She should know where all the bodies are buried, so to speak, to know what the commission is doing right and what it’s doing wrong.
THAT is what matters.
Meyers is far from the first transgender person on the planet. If we’re going to ever get past our antiquated prejudices maybe the first step is to stop being so quick to point out our differences.
It reminds me of a famous “60 Minutes” interview where Morgan Freeman told Mike Wallace he had no love for Black History Month.
Mike Wallace’s reaction was to ask then how are we to end racism.
Freeman’s answer? “Stop talking about it.”
Here’s the clip:
I feel the same about press releases touting how progressive and wonderful we are for nominating a transgender cabinet member for the first time, or a first this or a first that.
It. shouldn’t. matter.
Allison Chris Meyers is either highly qualified or she isn’t. Her body parts should be of no concern to anyone.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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