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No Words Needed

June 21, 2018

What We Learned This Week As Important As What Angers Us

June 20, 2018

I read lots of history.  Have done so for decades.   I would argue that never in our national story–not even with President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and the years which followed–have we experienced such a soulless and senseless event in America as that which we have witnessed over the past week.

Donald Trump created a massive problem by wanting to use children as leverage for his political games.  The optics were dreadful, and since the only thing which matters to Trump is the way it looks on television–recall he wanted a Secretary of State who ‘looked the part’ for the evening news–meant that the outrage which was making for 24/7 coverage forced his hand.

Let’s be clear, however. Trump did not need to sign anything to stop these disastrous separations. All he needed to do was call Attorney General Sessions and Homeland Security and say STOP!  Trump saying he signed an Executive Order means he is still using these children as hostages, as weapons in his personal tantrum to get what he wants.

Consider that Trump wanting credit for ending his own diabolical policy is akin to the menace in a Batman film expecting the key to the city for finally stopping the destroyed dam from completely ruining everything.

Trump stated, “we want to be compassionate”.  But the question needs to be pounded home again and again, then why did he abuse those children?  No matter what he does from this moment forward he will forever be remembered as the person in the Oval Office who traumatized children and only pulled back when the publicity—his prized ratings–turned sour.

But let us also be clear on something most important about our role as citizens. This was a time not to be silent.  This was a moment when our collective voices had to rise.  And we did with a mighty blast of righteous anger.

What we have learned from the past days is most important.  Our calls to congress, the images from the press (which were photos from DHS), the outrage from the Pope down to the grocer who bagged my items this weekend and was simply too sad to give words to his feelings, all added to the weighted judgment about these children. What we have seen, by the connection to our humanity, is that American democracy can survive–but only if we fight Trump.

Without our continued mobilization we will not survive a complicit Congress, or a Republican Party which can not find its way even when the most dreadful events unfold.  The voice of the nation–as demonstrated over the past days–is a most crucial and meaningful check on a dangerous and reckless man.

Now we must be steadfast and demand that the government reunite the children and parents who have already been separated. We need to be mindful of  those children it’s lost track of, and demand action.  The press will continue to report because the atrocity committed will not be over even if the separation policy ends.

We can not, and must not, keep those seeking amnesty detained indefinitely. We must still always think about the Statue of Liberty and the light she holds for immigrants coming to America for a better life. That is our national story.

I deeply thank those who did not forget it these past days.

I make no apologies for being old-fashioned, humane, and steeped in our national story.  May it forever be the way of this land.

Over Dozen GOP Senators Oppose Separation Of Immigrant Families

June 19, 2018

More than a dozen Republican senators are asking the Trump administration to halt the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border while Congress works out legislation.

GOP senators, led by Senator Orrin Hatch, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for a moratorium of the Trump controversial “zero tolerance” policy, which is resulting in the separation of families detained at the border.

“….. we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents,” the Republican senators wrote.  “We therefore ask you to halt implementation of the Department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally without requiring the forced, inhumane separation of children from their parents.”

HATCH

MCCAIN

ROBERTS

COLLINS

MURKOWSKI

CORKER

ALEXANDER

BOOZMAN

HELLER

GARDNER

LANKFORD

CASSIDY

Now…please note that two uber-Christian, “family values”, Latino Republican Senators, whose parents were poor immigrants, and whose community still gets de facto political asylum through the Cuban Adjustment Act, did not sign this.  Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Simply stated, those two are hypocrites.

Where America Stands Tonight As Kids Remain Apart From Parents

June 19, 2018

Separating undocumented kids and parents is not codified by law, but is rather a Trump administration policy that could be rescinded at any time. There was no serious crime committed by those entering this nation.  After all, being brown is not a crime.

We must stop the nationalistic, xenophobic sewage spill from the Republican Party. The Trump administration’s current family separation policy is an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded.  This administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now.

Conservatives are making the kids seem as to be nothing more than a mere object. THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS and FRAGILE.

I admit we are at a war of sorts in this land when a person like Trump can convince a segment of the nation that facts do not matter and decency can be tossed aside.  In the past Trump has talked about “crime infested” areas.  Today for the first time he’s talked about PEOPLE as “an infestation”

This talk echoes from the pages of history and should–MUST–remind us all what happens if we remain silent. The majority of Americans are truly upset by what is happening.  I grant you the Trump voters have a much different view.

Finally, St. Augustine defined a nation as a multitude of rational beings united by the common objects of their love.  My reader need to ask themselves if a) are we rational anymore?and b) do we still love fair play and decency?

This is a time when we really must determine what type of a nation we are.  And want to be.

Political Cartoons Of Children Being Ripped From Parents On The Border

June 19, 2018

I keep telling James there has to be a basement floor of derangement in the Trump White House that can not be exceeded.  And every day–sometimes many times a day–I am proven wrong.  Never in my lifetime did I think such a thing, as we now see happening to thousands of children, would ever actually occur.

Redistricting Reform Is Crucial To Our Democracy

June 18, 2018

While many were not pleased with the Supreme Court decision regarding the Democratic challenge to Wisconsin’s legislative map, drawn by Republicans, it also can be said that a narrow opinion was not surprising.  It would have been a truly historic day had the court taken on the huge constitutional questions about redistricting that many states are forced to reckon with time and again.  But for years the Court has been unwilling to take on the issue of political gerrymandering.

While some partisans applaud the ruling, many others more concerned about the impact of drawing creative district boundaries are left to ask just how rank does a redistricting plan have to be before it runs afoul of the Constitution?

Let me be frank about the matter that is now front and center.  We cannot have a functioning republic if the politicians choose their voters. We cannot have a credible democracy if courts do not make sure that partisan lines do not create unfair voting outcomes.

And let me also be up front by saying that BOTH parties deserve criticism for the secretive and stubborn way they handle redistricting.  Wisconsin Democrats had the power to create a commission for redistricting reform and chose not to proceed.  State Republicans would not even hold a hearing in 2013 on a proposal to create a commission to deal with district lines.  So I am here not to throw stones at any one party.   What I have long argued when it comes to redistricting is not partisan, but rather what is best for the process of governing.

The issue at hand is not new.  Not even close.  All the way back in 1789 Patrick Henry helped draw the lines in Virginia in such a way as to place his enemy, James Madison, in an anti-Federalist district.  In fact before the term ‘Gerrymander” was in vogue there was a term called “Henrymander”.   Times change but the desire of partisans to control power does not.

If the court had ruled today, as our democracy obligates, we would be now talking about how elected officials would be required to design and shape districts that keep communities intact, respects natural geographic boundaries, and does not cower to incumbents who are more intent on keeping their position than meeting the needs of the state or country.  Instead, however, we now have elected representatives who will continue to conduct themselves in a way that puts partisan power over the citizens’ best interest. They will be all too willing to harm our democratic system to preserve the status quo.

Political parties have for too long used the boundaries of districts to inoculate elected officials from the need to truly compete about ideas at election time. What this then allows for is a political system where most battles are fought in low-turnout primaries which curry favor with the partisan extremes.  That cycle repeated over and over creates legislative bodies that are not in touch with the broad center of the electorate.  The outcome is a dysfunctional system where rancor outpaces sound policy.  We witness that every day.

Lately, there has been much discussion about democracy–and the illiberal attempts to undermine it–both at home and abroad.  Foreign Affairs, in May, featured wide ranging coverage of the topic.  At a time when each day seems to bring more stress and burdensome news there is a tendency for citizens to draw back from the headlines.  As with the ruling from the Court Monday, there is no way to escape what is happening to our state and country.  Though some wish to think about other things more pleasing I would argue this is the time we must find fortitude so to step up our efforts as citizens.

We are now into a most important election cycle.  We will be bombarded with ads and attempts to sway and cajole a vote come November.  We will hear about every issue under the sun, but I ask that we ponder if those who want to be elected have a clear sense about the foundations that are essential to making our government function.  It is not good enough to have all the ‘correct’ stands on the issues unless there is a strong appreciation for the legs which support our system of government.

Unless the candidate who asks for your vote can talk with conviction about why it is important to elect people based on a more equitable and level-playing field, then all you are getting is just one more in a long line of reasons for why we are in such a place in our state.

Every candidate for election this fall should be called upon by the voters to speak of how political boundaries, as now drawn, create the statehouse dysfunction that the majority of citizens disdain.  Would it not be in the state’s best interest if candidates at every coffee shop gathering, civic-club luncheon, and press interview spoke of how the need for working on the foundations of our governing process would allow for better policy outcomes?

It is up to the voters—and the press–to demand accountability from the candidates.

Never Did I Think We Would See This In Our Lifetime–In America

June 18, 2018

The AP toured a holding facility in South Texas that’s holding hundreds of immigrant children. While reporters were not allowed to record the tour, video released by border patrol shows them waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing.

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