"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Filling The Last White House Diversity Slot - When A White Bass Boat Trucker Joined The Cabinet

It took Joe Biden almost the entire term of his presidency to finally round out the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) bit of his agenda, but because the election was only a few months away and so many white, working class voters were abandoning him, he knew that he had to make a very visible statement of commitment, and so the search began for someone to be their representative in the White House. 

The position of Deputy Assistant, Labor Relations was to be filled by a man from this forgotten, aggrieved, and politically restive electoral group.  Biden had already made the gender issue the frontispiece of his administration.  He had originally intended to hire all women to his Cabinet, the kind of affirmative action program that would parallel the racial one, but was told by his inner circle that that would be too alienating and off-putting to male voters.  


It was one thing to consign men to the lower reaches as predatory animals without sense or sensibility in certain venues, position papers, and public utterances; another thing to remove them lock, stock, and barrel; and so it was that his cabinet had a smattering of men, window dressing, gender mannequins only. 

Second, the man had to be white, for the President had been increasingly seen as black-only.  He had so championed the black man and clearly intended to see him placed at the top of the human pyramid where he belonged. 

The recent paper, Race, Environment, And The Native Genius of the African written by a well-known Harvard professor, contended that because of the African's tribal, animist, and forest legacy, he was more integrated within the natural environment than the white man - 'a natural man' as the academic put it. 

Biden had made references to this paper every time a black man was appointed to a senior position in the White House. 'We're doing the right thing', the President said. 'The only thing'.

Needless to say there were many in the political opposition who disagreed with the President.  What had Africa ever accomplished, they asked? When compared to the great civilizations of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it barely registered a blip.  What was this forest-based nonsense all about anyway?

White working class men took the President's words and appointments especially hard.  Not only were whites, white civilization, and white culture being derogated, dismissed, and forgotten; but the lower tiers of white society - the working classes - were especially slighted.


There wasn't a day that went by without some prominent Democrat referring to them as bass-boat, gun-rack, pickup, tobacco chewing, toothless, sister-fucking cr--kers; and they were angry. 

So the election year decision to recruit at least one white, working class male to a senior White House position was taken, and so it was that Mayberry P. Lassiter joined the staff. 

How, out of all the millions of white, lower class, working men did the President find Lassiter?  It was one thing to pick potential appointments from a roster of high-achieving individuals - they fit well into familiar class, educational, professional, and academic categories and were easy to find; but someone from a Ford assembly line? What criteria would be used?  He would have no degrees to speak of, no accomplishments, and nowhere to be seen on the Internet. 

'I've got just the man', said one of the President's senior aides, and went on to explain how he had met Lassiter at a truck stop in Texas. The man was carrying a load of pig iron from Chillicothe to Galveston, and had stopped to fuel up and eat.  The Presidential aide would never have stopped in such a place, not his kind of people really, but had had car trouble which forced him off the road.

Lassiter he said, was exactly what he was looking for - an unshaven, tobacco-spitting, drawling, grit and oil stained specimen. As they sat next to each other eating steak and eggs, Lassiter told him about his day - overheating, shifting cargo, speed traps, rancid coffee, and fucking truck stop hookers.  Yet, through all this Lassiter was a mensch, a good hardworking American.  Why not him?

He had the right credentials.  Born and raised in red-dirt Alabama, one of seven, schooling limited, aspirations high but fulfillment low, trailer nomad, doper father and alcoholic mother but with the gumption to put that all behind him and make something of himself.  He started behind the wheel of a garbage truck, worked his way to short-haul scrap metal deliveries, and finally on to serious trucking.  When the aide asked him about his education, Lassiter said, 'I can read the road signs', and that sealed the deal. 

When asked if he wanted to meet the man, the President demurred.  Some things were best left to others, and so it was that Lassiter passed easily through the vetting process and was named. 

When he opened the official letter of invitation on embossed White House stationery, special delivery, he was sure it was a scam; but when a second, registered one was pushed through the mail slot along with coupons and bills, he paid some attention - not exactly top drawer attention, for by the time he got to it, the coffee rings and stuck-on cat hairs had made portions unreadable - but he got the drift, and via the post office, Veterans Affairs, the county clerk, he realized, as implausible as the suggestion was, that he was being considered for a Washington appointment.  The letter-writer reminded him of the truck stop meeting which had gotten the White House attention. 

'We've got to clean him up', said one recruitment deputy, a young gay black man who wanted to keep a COVID-era social distance from Lassiter, but who said, 'This simply won't do' and fussily arranged for a remake.   

Now, Lassiter for all his lack of sophistication was not stupid.  'We want a white working man to be represented in the President's color wheel', he was told, and quickly understood what was up.  He would get paid for just showing up, not unlike the rest of the diverse appointments made during the President's first term; and so he sold his beater pickup and his trailer, thanked J&B Trucking, bought a final round of drinks at his local bar, and waved goodbye to Lucinda. 


Needless to say Lassiter lasted only through the campaign and along with everyone else in the White House was let go after Biden's defeat at the polls. He had been hauled out and given a place beside the President in Detroit, Dearborn, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.  'I am for the working man', said the President, 'just like this one', pointing to Lassiter and giving him an embrace. 

Lassiter went back to Alabama.  J&B took him back, wrote 'The Gentleman Trucker' on the door of his cab, and sent him off to Baltimore for gypsum.  He raised his salary thanks to Lassiter's newly minted credentials, and the whole episode turned out well for all concerned.  Not for Joe Biden, of course, who lost miserably to Donald Trump, but for just about everyone else. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.