President Joe Biden signed two more executive orders today, saying "this is the time" to address systemic racism and equity. It was in October that Biden said that legislating by executive order was not something that should be done in a democratic nation.
"Look, in the weeks ahead I will reaffirming the federal government's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and accessibility, building on the work we started in the Obama Biden administration.
"That's why I'm rescinding the previous administration's harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training, and abolish the offensive, counterfactual 1776 Commission.
"Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies. Today, I'm also issuing an executive order that will ultimately end the Justice Department's use of private prisons, an industry that houses pre-trial detainees and federal prisoners.
"The executive order directs the attorney general to decline to renew contracts with privately operated criminal facilities, a step we started to take at the end of the Obama administration, and was reversed under the previous administration."
In the hours after taking office on Jan. 20, the White House website scrubbed the 1776 Commission from its pages. The 1776 Commission was an initiative by the Trump administration to counteract the persistent training and education in schools from elementary grades through university levels that posits that the US is nothing but a racist disaster-land full of hate and bigotry.
It was in August 2020, after researcher and journalist Christopher Rufo brought light to the diversity and inclusion training at Sandia Labs, America's premiere nuclear research facility, that the Trump administration banned tax-payer funding for diversity and sensitivity training in federal agencies or in companies that contract with the federal government.
Biden's reversal of Trump's executive order banning sensitivity training will mean that top execs at companies that do business with the federal government, as well as agency staff, can learn about the scourge of racism that is rampant in the most equitable nation on earth.
Biden's speech with regard to what he's termed his "racial equity agenda" began with remarks on George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 25, 2020. Floyd's death sparked months of demonstrations, protests, and riots that rocked the nation from the end of May through the presidential election in November. Cities burned, people were killed, and many countless businesses were destroyed.
Biden said that Floyd's death was the "the knee on the neck of justice," and that "it marked a turning point in this country's attitude towards racial justice." Biden said that the "blinders had been taken off the American people," and that as a whole the nation is ready to deal with the systemic racism that has "plagued our nation for far too long."
"For too long we’ve allowed a narrow, cramped view of the promise of this nation to fester," Biden said. "We bought the view that America is a zero sum game... If you succeed, I fail. ... Maybe worst of all, if I hold you down I lift myself up."
If the federal government declines to use private companies to operate federal prisons, the fed will have to undertake to operate those prisons themselves, expanding the cost and scope of government further.
Biden has signed 33 executive orders in the less than week in which he's been in office, more than any other preceding president by 28. Obama was nearest to the most, with five EO's signed in his first few days in office.
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