In belatedly authorizing the federal government to provide assistance to the incoming Biden administration, the GSA Administrator Emily Murphy writes:
I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect. Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures or standards for this process… I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the act.
I don’t think her delay was excusable, but she’s right about one thing: she should never have been put in this position.
One of the weaknesses of American democracy that the Trump era has brought to light are that basic procedures and expectations of good behavior need to be clarified beyond a shadow of a doubt.
A consistent anti-pattern of failing companies is calcification–an unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances or try better ways of working. A determination to keep doing things the old way.
Government face similiar existential risks from this behavior. A successful democracy should work as the founders intended, such that the laws and procedures are being constantly amended and clarified as circumstances warrant.
America seems unable to address rewrites, even when they seem obvious. Most Americans agree that women should be treated as equals to men, but nearly 50 years after its introduction, we’ve been unable to pass an Equal Rights Amendment which says just that. Most Americans believe that civilian use of guns should be regulated in some capacity, but people would rather subject every letter and phrase of the obsolete Second Amendment to deep scrutiny and interpretation than replace it with a clear and unambiguous statement that reflects the modern state of affairs.
May our ability to clarify the basic rules about the transfer of power show the world that the United States still has what it takes to adapt and move with the times. To lead.