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El hecho de que Mercado, un consumado actor usualmente optimista en sus horóscopos anuales, una especie de tradición que leen tanto creyentes como escépticos esté tan preocupado, es un indicador seguro de cuán extendido está el sentimiento de inseguridad, de “cualquier cosa puede suceder”, en la era de Trump. Archivo
The fact that Mercado, a master entertainer whose usually optimistic yearly horoscopes have become a quaint tradition read by both believers and skeptics is so worried, is a sure indication of how widespread is the feeling of insecurity, of “anything-can…

[OP-ED]: In 2018 We Can Return Sanity to Washington

Walter Mercado foresees that a nuclear war between U.S. and North Korea could erupt in 2018. Not good news by any stretch of the imagination.

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Fortunately, the yearly predictions of Mercado, a cape-wearing, flamboyant Puerto Rican astrologer, although extremely popular among Latinos, have proven to be not exactly accurate. Yet, his reason to arrive to his dire forecast is very much to the point: Such war, Mercado said, would be due to Donald Trump’s “controversial personality.” Controversial, unpredictable and despicable, I would add.

The fact that Mercado, a master entertainer whose usually optimistic yearly horoscopes have become a quaint tradition read by both believers and skeptics is so worried, is a sure indication of how widespread is the feeling of insecurity, of “anything-can-happen” in the age of Trump.

After all, as Progreso Weekly columnist Max J. Castro wrote, “This was the year that all the old, discredited, long-buried political ideas, practices and groups sprang back to life and took center stage. Trickle-down economics. Brazen racism. Xenophobia. Tricks to keep the dark and the poor from voting. The KKK and the Nazis, A new Gilded Age with much more gold in fewer hands than ever. Demagoguery on steroids. Nuclear boat diplomacy. Selective coddling of autocrats and a genocidal head of state. Virulent nationalism. Sexist laws. Confederate icons. Homophobia as law and attitude. And that’s the short list.”

Add to Castro’s list the perverse abandonment of a ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump’s absurd return to a Cold War style policy with Cuba, his merciless persecution and vilification of immigrants, his appalling ignorance in matters of state, and on and on and on, and Mercado’s labeling of Trump’s personality as “controversial” sounds almost like flattery.

Emboldened by their “victory” in passing a new tax law that punishes the great majority of the population while generously favoring the richest one percent, Trump and Republicans plan to push an agenda of “reforming entitlements,” that is, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But when Trump, Paul Ryan of Mitch McConnell talk about “reforms’ what they really mean is “cuts” to programs that for many years have been safety nets for the poor and the elderly.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, who should know better, has said that “The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.”  That this is an outrageous lie became even clearer after the approval of the tax code that gives the richest segment of the population a budget-busting tax reduction.

No, 2018 is not beginning on a promising note, but we can make it much better before the year ends, on November 6, to be exact. That’s the date on which 33 Senate seats, all 435 House of Representatives seats and 36 governorships will be up for election.

And that’s the date when we the people can say enough is enough and wrest Congress from the hands of despicable characters such as Ryan and McConnell, cut Trump’s power and bluster down to size, and return some sanity to Washington.

But to do that, we all must go out and vote in these midterm elections.

 “To all my amazing friends around the world, here's to a 2018 that raises up those who need lifting and brings down those who need to fall in disgrace,” was writer Magda Bogin’s New Year wish. “Wishing much joy to each of you as we persist, insist and resist!”

Only by voting can we make Bogin’s great wish come true for all.

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