It's Time For A Review




Dr. E. Faye Williams – One of my most important teaching activities was time spent in review with my classes.  My classroom experiences taught me that in every unit of instruction there were elements of the subject matter that would not be understood, would be misunderstood, would not be prioritized/ordered appropriately or forgotten.  The classroom review was an effective tool for test preparation and a determination of subject matter retention.  

As a manager of personnel, I found formal, interim and informal personnel performance reviews to be effective tools in documenting and improving the quality of performance of our employees.  These reviews gave them an accurate understanding of expectations of their jobs and gave us both a way to measure how well they met those expectations.

I believe it is essential to review and evaluate the performance and motives of elected officials and how both impact on me and those with which I share similar interests and values.  This review must be as broad and wide-ranging as the impact of the decisions made by the politicians under scrutiny.  While providing options for periodic re-evaluation, this review must be thoughtful and as accurate as possible.  It must be Promethean in predictability.

Applying that logic to the first 30 days of the Trump administration, I have concerns at numerous and most unsettling levels.  Rather than acknowledging his slim margin of victory in the Electoral College and loss of the popular vote in his policy-making, Mr. Trump is in disregard of the 54% of Americans who voted against him and he’s gone full-bore in his plan to be a disruptive influence in the structure of American politics.  I fear that his administration will exceed a state of disruption and devolve into an oligarchic autocracy.  Like those who have returned George Orwell's "1984," a 69-year-old book, to the "best seller list,' I wonder how far we are from calling Trump Big Brother.

Those familiar with the rise of autocratic governments in the 20th Century draw our attention to the parallels with Trump World.  Among the first acts by 20th Century, dictators were to destroy and/or restructure the institutions and political processes upon which civil order was established.  To date, the majority of Trump's Cabinet nominees express policy positions in direct opposition to the Cabinet positions they occupy. One only wonders what structural changes will alter the functions of the Departments of Justice, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Human Services and the EPA.

From Trump's mouth come ridiculous, unsubstantiated accusations of widespread, monumental voter fraud.  Many in the Civil Rights community sense that Trump will attempt to further restrict/suppress the votes of minorities and other Democratic-leaning, populations.  Yet, since last year, US intelligence sources confirm Russian interference in the 2016 Election.

Trump's administration has made an obvious effort to discredit and malign the public’s faith in the Judicial Branch and the Media.  Demeaning characterization of "so-call judges" in disagreement with Administration positions are meant to create a loss of faith in our judicial system.  Arguing the validity of lies labeled “Alternative Facts” and the direct characterization of unflattering news accounts as “Fake News” has become the hallmark of Trump and those in his circle.  More commonplace are lies, distortions, and misrepresentations of Trump and his allies.  Just as commonplace are their appeals to sympathetic listeners to reject the truth of media reports as lies.

Until last week, mainstream Republican leaders have failed to challenge Trump’s disparagement of our valued institutions.  Last week, Senator John McCain observed that one of the first acts of dictators was to destroy the open, free dialogue of society.  

Our first 30-day review suggests that McCain is not off the mark.  We must RESIST the destruction of the freedoms we have worked so hard to achieve. 

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, 202/678-6788)

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