Last Wednesday the U.S. Senate held four confirmation hearings on Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. It also scheduled his long-anticipated press conference — largely devoted to Trump’s … intimate relationship with Russia — and a critical vote on the Affordable Care Act budget.
Sometimes we, as progressives, aren’t able to be laser-focused because we acknowledge complexity — we address the intersections and breadth of policies and positions. Sometimes, perhaps we try to do too much.
So let me be perfectly clear: Sen. Jeff Sessions should never be attorney general of the United States.
While the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on Sessions’ nomination, around Capitol Hill other committees moved forward on a host of other outrageous nominees. The American public may never hear about the number of serious conflicts each of these nominees pose — to our democracy, to our rights — because there is simply too much to process.
But the Department of Justice, the agency charged with protecting the rights of all American people, should not be led by a person who has failed to do that throughout his career. Sessions has a long record of opposition to the rights of many of the people most at risk in Trump’s America.
Let me repeat: Jeff Sessions should never be attorney general of the United States.
Sessions has spoken of the “fabulous accomplishments” represented by the Confederate flag. He has defended sexual assault. He has said it’s “appropriate to begin to discuss” Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants. He has made a career as the Senate’s most anti-immigrant member and has supported building a wall on the Mexican border. He has been an ally to right-wing hate groups, from conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant radicals to white nationalists and Islamophobes.
Even though Trump is our president-elect, let’s not forget what America really is. America elected an African-American president. America voted overwhelmingly in favor a woman president in the popular vote. A majority of Americans support equal marriage rights. A majority of Americans have consistently supported a woman’s right to choose. A majority of Americans believe that immigrants strengthen our country, and even a majority of Republicans support a path to citizenship for undocumented people. Immigration is not just my story. Immigration is the American story. And America is becoming more diverse and more progressive by the day, whatever the outcome of this election and this presidency.
As Americans and progressives, we can’t lose sight of this. We must stay focused, we must not get lost in the barrage of bad news, the number of battles to fight. We must hold our elected and appointed leaders accountable and build for a better future.
Because Jeff Sessions should never be attorney general of the United States.
John Leguizamo is an actor, writer, and producer.