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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Who Governs?

E. Faye Williams / June 9, 2023

One of the most important questions a “thinking and responsible” citizen must ask is, “Who governs me?” Active participation in the governance of others is a solemn responsibility of which only a few are worthy. Without question, to present oneself for such a position requires a well-developed sense of self-esteem AND the humility of acknowledging the great trust placed in her/his character. One of those traits without the other is a recipe for poor governance. Too many of our current “leaders” share that fault.

Several days ago, I watched a television program that listed numerous politicians and the institutions of higher learning they attended. Since most of the universities attached to the subjects of the program were considered the “cream of the crop” of higher learning, I only wondered, “If those schools are so good, how did some of these people get in, and more worrisome is, “How did they graduate?”
I judge the quality of formal education by the ability of the student to move with skill and alacrity in familiar circumstances and adaptively in those in which they lack familiarity or experience. This is essential for effective governance, especially in a nation as culturally and geographically diverse as ours. It is more of a necessity for those whose formal education is limited in depth and detail.

Among those on the referenced program were Ted Cruz (R-TX) who attended Princeton University and received a law degree from Harvard; Josh Hawley, (R-MO) who attended Stanford and received a law degree from Yale; John Kennedy (R-LA) who attended Vanderbilt and received his law degree from the University of Virginia; Tom Cotton (R-AR) who attended Harvard and Harvard Law School; Elise Stefanik (R-NY) attended Harvard; Matt Gaetz (R-FL) attended the State University of Florida and the Law College of William and Mary. I must also mention Ron DeSantis who attended Harvard, Yale, and the Naval Justice School. And Donald Trump, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Others among these “question ables” attended Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, University and Dartmouth. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) (University of Georgia), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) (Stanford) also besmirch the academic character of their alma maters.

Among “leaders” with no, limited, or questionable academic credentials are: Lauren Boebert (R-CO) (recently received her GED), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) (homeschooled; mostly D grades before dropping out of Patrick Henry College); and Matthew Rosendale (R-Mt) who removed his ID as “Rancher” from his website when questioned about it. George Santos (R-NY). Who knows anything about him? Although some completed some college, such as an associate degree or a training course at a specialized school, I must wonder how they convinced other citizens to give them such important jobs.

Among those I have named there are two points of commonality – they are all Republicans and their words and actions demonstrate an intense hatred of all things different. I speak with authority when I say that none of the mentioned schools had courses labeled “Hate the Poor, Hate Black People, Hate the LGBTQs, Hate Anybody With Whom You Disagree.” You get the point. I must wonder if any administrator or board member from these schools has ever called some of these people and said, “You are making our school look bad. Cut out the craziness.”

I am not suggesting that these “leaders” should find agreement with every point of view, but, given the concept of personal freedom, their stated agendas uniformly reject uplifting all people, fair voting rights, women’s rights, peace, justice, or any of the myriad personal freedoms we have lived with for years. Their words and actions resurrect the hatred, unfairness, disrespect, and racism of history to another level.

We must find and elect those who will govern for the benefit of our diverse communities – not just for a disgruntled minority.


Dr. E. Faye Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Visit: www.nationalcongressbw.org.




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