When you boil it down to its fundamental essence, what she is proposing is an affront to democratic principles and an absurdity.
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who picks up the liberal agenda from where Harry Reid left off, stated in a recent interview with Politico, “We should be mandating diversity in our committees, mandating diversity in our hiring practices, mandating diversity throughout the United States Senate.”
She later is quoted as saying, “You just have to walk in the room and look at the senators that are there — the 100 senators, right? You could see the lack of diversity.”
In response to this inanity, the editorialists at the Las Vegas newspaper asked the next logical question: “Does Sen. Cortez Masto seek a constitutional amendment to replace the democratic process with a federal quota system to ensure the ‘proper’ distribution of pigments and chromosomes in the nation’s highest legislative body?”
How do you determine successful diversity? Do you know it when you see it, as Cortez Masto apparently does — just like the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said he could spot pornography: “I know it when I see it”? Or can it be precisely calculated? How can one determine when one has succeeded in achieving the lofty goal of diversity?
The chief absurdity is how to explain what is “proper” diversity. Equal amounts of certain properties, traits, characteristics and proclivities? Or matching the current distribution in the population of those characteristics? For that matter, is that distribution fair? Or is it merely a quirk of fickle fecundity?
If one were to demand that “proper” distribution of chromosomes, a Senate that is half male and half female would have only 50 Y chromosomes and 150 X chromosomes. Hardly diverse.
Even if the first elected Latina member of the U.S. Senate, as both the Politico interview and the newspaper editorial pointedly observe, is talking about skin pigments and/or ethnicity, that too gets to be a mathematical absurdity.
Are we going to return to the days when states like Louisiana had laws on the books that stated any person with so much as 1/32nd black heritage was, ipso facto, black? Or does one pure bred ethnic person equal two mixed race persons? Should the ratio of black, brown, yellow, red, white and other pigments match the population from the latest census or extrapolate for changes in the future? May a person identify as any race or gender or sexual orientation they choose? Or would that upset the diversity quotient?
And what about IQ levels? Should the senators and their staffs be required to match the median IQ of the nation? For every staffer or senator with an IQ of 130, you’d need to hire or elect someone with an IQ of 70. (Uh, we may already have.)
What about age? The median age of senators is 62. The median U.S. population age is 38. Seems clearly to be a lack of diversity. And that tacky constitutional requirement that a senator has to be at least 30 years of age certainly flies in the face of the all-important diversity objective.
Also, aren’t there too many lawyers in the Senate and not enough hod carriers?
Lumping people into categories and pigeonholes for the sake of achieving a counterbalance for some past perceived affront or discriminatory behavior is itself discriminatory, counterproductive and contrary to democratic principles.
By the way, the Politico interview was conducted for a section called “Women Rule Podcast.” Not very diverse.
And isn’t there a bit of hypocrisy in demanding diversity while engaging in blatant stereotyping?
At one point the “Women Rule” interview reports: “There is a tendency for women to over think things, right? And so we think, ‘Oh, can I really — if I decide to run for office, am I qualified? Do I have the educational experience? Do I have the background? Do I have the ability?’” Cortez Masto says. “And I will tell you, there are men who look at the same office and say, ‘Well, how much does it pay and let me jump in and see.’ I think we need to do a better job of talking with women to say, ‘No, you don’t need to do that analysis.’”
May we be so bold as to point out that each of us is a minority of one, and that not all members of every group think and act alike. Diversity mandates are futile, insulting and ultimately absurd.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.