There are few Americans over the age of 10 who have not seen or participated in a game of “dodgeball.”
For those of my era, it was the quintessential hand-eye-body coordination game in which the “dodger,” if skillful and athletic, could avoid being struck and disqualified by a ball hurled by adversarial throwers.
In my earliest memories, the game was played with a minimum of three players – one dodger and two throwers. In a push, with a rubber ball and hard wall from which the ball could bounce, it could even be played with one dodger and one thrower. This is Dodgeball 1.0.
In high school, when organized fitness activities involved larger numbers of participants, the numbers of dodgers and throwers were increased. The object of the game changed somewhat.
While the number of throwers never decreased, the dodgers would eventually be eliminated as they were struck by the balls of the throwers. Ultimately, the last dodger standing was declared the winner. This was Dodgeball 2.0.
The common thread in both versions of dodgeball was that the projectiles that would ultimately disqualify and knock you out of the game came fast and furious. Only the strong and nimble survived.
Although less than two months old, the Trump administration reminds me greatly of both dodgeball versions, especially Dodgeball 2.0. In its inimitable fashion, the Trump administration has placed certain “targets” under fire for disqualification and elimination.
Trump and his cronies are simultaneously taking aim at so many essential government programs that only the most aware observers can keep up with the action or mount a defense for these programs. Each of these targets has been forced into a struggle for survival, but, unlike Dodgeball 2.0, disqualification or elimination is a life-or-death matter for innumerable Americans.
At the recent CPAC gathering, Trump advisor Steve Bannon identified a primary goal of the Trump administration as the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”
Thus comes the nomination of the education secretary without public education experience or affinity; the Environmental Protection Agency director who sued the EPA; the secretary of health and human services who demonstrates little or no concern for common Americans; and the attorney general with a questionable history in the application of “blind justice.”
Bannon praised Trump’s Cabinet picks and confirmed that “they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.” Common to Dodgeball 2.0, the onslaught against the targets of deconstruction is coming at breakneck speed, providing almost no opportunity for defense.
Deconstruction is the act of tearing down. It is the undoing of established norms, principles and guidelines. For those of us who care, it is a reversal of progress. It is an about-face on providing a tangible safety net to the most vulnerable among us.
The most obvious objective of this deconstruction is evisceration of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” For eight years, the nation has watched and/or participated in the Obamacare debate.
Just correct the flaws
President Obama and other key Democratic leaders have stipulated the need to correct some of the flaws of this program. But what goes unquestioned is that 20 million-plus citizens who were previously ineligible for medical insurance now have coverage. That is 20 million Americans who by current estimates will have inadequate or no health insurance under the current Republican offering.
Yet in the sound and fury of the Trump administration’s efforts to reshape our government from the ground up, there is little forward motion in investigating the impact of a hostile foreign government on the integrity of our election process and security of our democracy. It hardly seems fair or reasonable.
It is, however, what we can expect from those who value life by the size of one’s bank account or one’s political preference.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.