This is my last column of 2017 and, believe me, I would really like to follow tradition and write a feel-good piece. Yet, somehow the usual “Happy New Year” wishes sound hollow and make little sense this time around.
This story appeared in the December 27, 2017 issue of AL DÍA
I mean, it’s a nice sentiment and it would be great if there was any chance it could become true, something that will not happen as long as Donald Trump and his band of alt-rightists, crusty, old retired generals and greedy millionaires remain in power. And as long as spineless “traditional” Republicans, supposed to know better, go out of their way to declare their abject subservience to their supreme leader.
Taking adulation to a new and repugnant level, exactly one week ago today Paul Ryan was thanking the liar in the White House for –listen to this—his “exquisite leadership,” in celebration of the passing of the new tax law that grants a permanent, humongous tax cut to corporations and temporary, laughable tax cuts to the middle-class.
Not to be outdone in the reptilian behavior department, Mitch McConnell said in all seriousness that Trump’s first year in office had been an “extraordinary accomplishment.” This from a man Trump had mercilessly derided only a few months ago.
Yet, none of the sycophants drooling over Trump at the White House lawn last Wednesday came even close to Vice-President Mike Pence’s abject display of weasel-like behavior. Hard as it may be to believe anyone could stoop so low, he praised his boss 14 times – 14 times! -- in less than three minutes, according to the Washington Post. Here are a few of those praises, notable not only for their complete lack of dignity but also for being such blatant lies:
“Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that truly is restoring this country.”
“You’ve restored American credibility on the world stage.”
“You’ve spurred an optimism in this country that’s setting records.”
This one, of course, takes the cake: “I’m deeply humbled, as your vice president, to be able to be here,” Pence told Trump giving him a look worthy of an infatuated maiden.
The dismally low popularity of Trump is proof that less and less people still believe the “Make-America-Great-Again” sorry bunch of gelatinous, genuflecting, racist characters have in mind the well-being of the country or its people.
Neither Trump nor his minions seem to know the meaning of compassion, solidarity or even justice. Adding even more cruel ant-immigrant measures to the announced cancellation of the Haitian TPS and the spike in deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, now the Trump administration is considering separating Central American families that arrive at the border fleeing murderous gang violence in their countries. Actually, as has been reported, families are already being separated although there has been no formal change in policy.
The Women’s Refugee Commission and other organizations filed a complaint this month that said it had documented more than 150 cases in 2017, according to the New York Times. “It interferes with due process, and is really just cruel,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the organization. “Children feel that they are being abandoned, literally being ripped out of their parents’ arms.”
The time for good wishes and warm-and-fuzzy platitudes is over. If we really want the government to change course we need to send politicians to Washington that represent workers, women, blacks, Latinos, immigrants, LGBT people, that is, the great majority of the people.
Come November, when midterm elections are held, voters will have a very good chance to wrest Congress from the hands of the GOP and restore some sanity to Washington. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.