It’s time for a review

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.

Review, evaluate
It is essential to review and evaluate the performance and motives of elected officials. This review must be as broad and wide-ranging as the impact of the decisions made by the politicians themselves. 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 percent of Americans who voted against him. He’s gone full-bore in his plan to be a disruptive influence in the structure of American politics.

New ‘Big Brother’?
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 bestseller 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, most 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 Environmental Protection Agency.

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 or suppress the votes of minorities and other Democratic-leaning populations. Yet, since last year, US intelligence sources confirm Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Conscious strategy
Trump’s administration has made an obvious effort to discredit and malign the public’s faith in the judicial branch and the media.

The demeaning characterization of “so-called judges” who disagree 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. Lies, distortions and misrepresentations are commonplace. Just as commonplace are their appeals to sympathetic listeners to reject the truth of media reports as lies.

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 national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.

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