Category Archives: Government

Civility

Lots of talk about civility today. Do we even know what the word means? If we mean in-your-face nasty politics, that began a long time ago. Anyone remember the Tea Party rallies during the elections of 1999 and 2003? Sarah Palin? Lots of racial animus as an undertone then, but with the posters and yellings then we were pointed in the direction we have reached today. Trump just makes it all worse. If civility is as the dictionary says, formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech, I’m not sure we ever had it here in our United States politics. It seems more like something out of one of those English movies about Parliamentary history. If we knew more about our own history, we might remember the battles of earlier years when members of Congress threatened eachother with sticks, and duels between members were not uncommon.

The NPR program 1A Wednesday morning had a discussion on “civility” which I came in on the end of. One of the women, Christine Fair, seemed to support civility except when racism or her status as a woman were called into question. There, it seems to me, is the problem. People called names, asked to leave restaurants, denied a wedding cake or other service because of another person’s “deeply held beliefs” seem to have brought this on, at least among “liberals”.

Haven’t we been listening to childish name calling and meanness from the White House for the last year? Why the sudden hand-wringing about civility now? Does it do anyone any good to get in someone else’s face, because you disagree? What good does it do you to ask Ms. Sanders to leave your restaurant, to shout at diners in another restaurant, to call Stephen Miller a facist? Does it make Ms. Waters a better person? Will such behavior do anything to change people like Sanders and Miller or Trump?

Ms. Fair seemd to think that our very democracy was in danger of being destroyed, but she didn’t have the civility herself not to keep talking over the host, Joshua Johnson when he was trying to get her to stop. Yes, our democracy is in danger, but should we get down in the mud with Trump and his supporters. It seems far more important to do all we can to elect people who support democratic institutions and rule.

What threatens our democracy more is the retirement of Justice Kennedy giving Trump another chance to appoint a justice who will continue the assault on some of our freedoms.

And after several days, I’m still chewing on this topic. When has being civil gotten us anywhere? Civility didn’t halt the lynching of black people, the internment of Japanese, the slaughter and displacement of native Americans or the Chinese expulsion. At this point, Trump and his followers will probably see civility on the part of his opponents as weakness, and ratchet up the ugliness even more as Trey Gowdy and jim Jordan did yesterday in the Rosenstein hearings.

Take a look at this article in the Times, and reflect. Trump’s incivility seems to have gotten him elected. And if you’re still very down in the dumps about the future, read this.

Children as pawns

 

We now know that this particular child was not taken from her mother, but it doesn’t really matter. The symbolism of the photo is what matters expressing as it does the harsh cruelty of what Trump is doing with the migrants on the border. The cover should become the premier statement of the Presidency of Trump.

They say that the policy of separating parents and children is no longer in effect. If that is true, why is this 9-year old still in custody while his Mom is free? At least, she was able to locate him, but only from a chance conversation with another parent.

There was a time when the Trump admin incompetence seemed amusing. Not any more. No one, least of a a child, should be put through the terrors that incompetence and confusion have condemned them to.

Confusion

In the New Republic, Jeet Heer says:

If  “zero tolerance” was suspended, it is only as a stop-gap measure. It does nothing to address the problem of family reunification for those already separated by the policy. Further, it is a temporary
measure which could be reversed once the administration has more resources in place to enact a renewed “zero tolerance” push. But the
larger story is that the White House has no real policy and different factions are making up rules willy-nilly.

In other words, those children and parents who have already been separated may have little or no chance of being reunited. Trump didn’t really back down. He just tweaked his cruel policy a bit in an effort to get the photos off the TV screens. Maybe Melania can show him that what he sees on Fox News is not true (no child actors).

I hope the photographers and reporters will continue to hunt down the sites where kids are being kept and manage somehow to show us what happens inside. When will we be able to see the inside of the facility those little girls arrived at last night in New York? Are they still there? Or have they been moved again? If so, where are they?

Bret Stephens thinks that Republicans have lost their moral sense (did they ever have one?). He also thinks we need immigrants. The space is waiting. The jobs are waiting. The demographics of an aging population tell us of our need.

 

If anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, then opposition to immigration is the conservatism of morons. It mistakes identity for virtue, entitlement for merit, geographic place for moral value.

The Bully Backs Down ?

Finally, Trump has signed an order (according to the Washington Post) to keep border crossing families together – to stop tearing small children and babies from their parents. That takes care of what happens right away. I wonder how they will get the children they’ve detained back together with their parents, for our government is now responsible for seeing to it. What if parents have already been deported? Will DHS search El Salvador for them? Or will they set up some fancy phone system that will not work well and the moms from the highland towns without even spanish won’t understand.

Thank goodness Trump is sensitive to media coverage! But keep the pressure on. We still have the 2,000 or so children who need to be reunited with their parents and who are already scattered over the Texas and Florida landscapes. Did he really think he could trade interned kids for his wall?

Details. Will the kids now be detained by ICE with their parents? And if so how much difference is there? Ice can only detain for 20 days. Are we back to GPS anklets in the surrounding communities? From the New York Times:

“There is no system whatsoever to track these family separations, no

efforts systematically to reunite these families,” Mr. Enriquez said.
“There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, ‘child here,
parent there,’ so they can come back together.”

Where to?

Way back in 2016, before the election, I said something about American’s Common Sense. Somewhere between 2008 and 2016, we lost it, or at least, enough of us lost it to make Trump our President. Since then fear, anxiety and sadness battle for the front of my brain. The latest disaster in Quebec just makes things worse.

We have a madman for President who has turned on our closest friends with a viciousness that’s hard to endure. Trudeau didn’t deserve his Twitter lashing.

I worry about my sons and their families. What will be left of the United States when Trump finally leaves office? Will he give us away to Putin or China or even to Kim because of ignorance or fear or both? If he loses the next mational election, will he accept the results or say he was cheated and it was rigged? What then? How do we remove a President when Congress refuses to do its job? Whatever happened to the spines of those members who cower and refuse to see the destruction of our Rule of Law smacking them in the face?

If Trump can be cruel and vicious toward seekers of asylum and Prime Ministers both, it’s only a short step to cruelty and viciousness toward all of us. The memories of the rise of Hitler have grown too faded. There aren’t enough of us left who grew up dudring WWII and saw and heard all that was awful to sound the warning.

This is inexcusable:

 

It constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” which I thought somehow was illegal. (See Ammendment 8 to the US Constitution.) How many of those babies is Sessions going to traumatize with his cruel and unusual “solution” to our immigration problems? The last count I saw was near 2,000 children forcibly separated from their parents. Tyranny has indeed reached American shores.

 

The North Korea Summit: Could it be that Trump did this made-for-TV-event to boost his approval ratings ahead of the November elections? Since it’s hard to see that anything was actually accomplished in the way of nuclear reductions or eliminations on the part of the North Koreans and they are now talking of promises of sanctions reductions, it looks like it might be a typical Trumpian short-term “deal” that does little but generate a small bit good publicity for him and a freebee for the other party. Speaking of “nothing burgers”!

On the Justice Department IG’s report: The lesson to be taken, in my small point of view is that people in civil service and government in general need to get a lot smarter about their use of email and text messaging. Rule No. 1: Don’t ever use private email for government communication. Rule No. 2: Don’t ever use your government issued phone to text personal messages to colleagues and friends. They will come back to haunt you and be used by your enemies to destroy your reputation if not your job prospects.