I have been following with some interest the change.gov presidential transition website. I think it is a great idea to tell the public what is happening, and give them information about where the incoming Obama administration wants to take the country. I don’t remember another administration doing this before, and I think it makes a lot of good sense. A few days ago I was perusing the agenda section, which had a drop down menu of the many areas the administration will be focusing on in the coming months. There were a large array of topics from “economy” to “civil rights” to “defense” to “education”, etc. If my memory serves, there were probably about 20 to 30 topics, each with its own page highlighting the priorities.
I say “if my memory serves”, because all of that has been replaced by two short paragraphs of boilerplate generalities. I should mention here that in my grief over Proposition 8 passing, I was a little upset to see nothing in these priorities that said anything about repealing DOMA, a oft-repeated promise during the campaign. Using the “Submit your ideas” feedback form on the site (which has since been modified and moved as well), I sent a brief note asking if this would soon be included in the priorities. I said that I understood that there are much more pressing matters to attend to, but that I hoped we would be at least on the agenda.
I must not have been the only citizen rooting about in the agenda, and apparently the Obama administration (or whoever is running the website) got a little nervous and decided it was better to say too little rather than too much. I personally feel this is a mistake and a step backwards, especially after the last 8 years of intense administration secretiveness. Transparency is better, and we deserve that from our government.
I will give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt for now, as I worked very hard for his election and overall I am thrilled with the direction in which he wants to take the country. But we should all keep in mind how important it is to hold our government accountable for its actions, and to raise our voices to make sure that issues are addressed fairly and openly.