We were having a fun discussion about dogs last night at margarita time because the Ridder family have their name in for an unborn labradoodle that they hope will be a companion to their ten year old Golden Retriever, Waffles. It was 14 year old Ben who raised his hand and suggested we talk about Trump delaying a National Emergency. Earlier in the day, his grandfather had emailed all of us two articles - one from The Wall Street Journal and the other from The New York Times.
The Journal article starts out by saying "One problem with today’s polarized politics is that
both parties don’t mind stretching constitutional limits to achieve their policy goals. Democrats cheered on Barack Obama’s legal abuses on immigration and so much more, and now many Republicans are cheering President Trump’s declaration of a border emergency to build his wall. Constitutional conservatives should be wary of both.
Reading that opening paragraph I found myself saying, "What legal abuses on immigration did Obama declare?" I have such high regard for Obama that it is hard for me to conceive of him abusing his power. Yet, being here for two weeks has forced me to consider that it's not about one side being right and the other side being wrong. It's also not just about the polarization of the two sides. Fred reminded us that he was born in 1928 and the inability for Congress to compromise is not new. The article points out that Harry Truman called a state of emergency and tried to nationalize the steel industry. It was shot down in court where it was said that "presidential power depends on its relationship to Congressional power and intent." It seems clear that Trump's declaration of a national emergency is not what Congress intends - especially since Congress passed the budget giving $1.8 billion for "the wall."
Okay- so I'm a bit frustrated. I was even told to keep my voice down in our discussion last night! (I was so surprised as I was totally unaware that I was raising my voice.) But didn't our founding fathers create a system of checks and balances for a reason? The three branches of government need each other to create "a more perfect Union." Apparently in 1976 Congress passed the National Emergencies Act giving the president the power to declare a national emergency. To me, the number of guns and the violence in this country is a far greater national emergency, not to mention Global warming which threatens our very existence as a planet. If one of our Democratic candidates reaches the White House, could they, too, override the wishes of Congress, declare a National Emergency and ban guns and plastic? Why not!
And someone last night implied that the Democrats wanted open borders. I think that may have been where I raised my voice! No one wants open borders- we know that isn't possible. But our immigration system is totally broken. We were talking to a taxi driver whose daughter lives in Houston with her Puerto Rican husband. They own a hazmat and mold cleaning service that was very successful and growing. They refuse to hire illegals- which was never a problem before. Now his daughter is calling him and saying, "Dad, please come help us. We can't find workers to keep our business going!" So would it be possible to hire Mexicans who could legally cross the border to work in Houston?
Gavin Newsom, our new Governor of California, has called the wall Trump's vanity project. It seems so clear to me that this whole deal is just a political stunt. At one point Trump was offered much more money than he got on Friday in exchange for legalizing the Dreamers - something the Democrats really wanted. But in the most recent deal there is no mention of Dreamers and Trump got little money to fund his folly. So who won? Even Mitch McConnell who said he was against Trump declaring an emergency is on board with it because it was the only way he could avoid another government shutdown. When I asked if it would ever be possible for these politicians to do the right thing, Fred noted that their first priority is to get re-elected - not to pass sane, ethical policies. It's pretty depressing...
Talk about depressing... it seems one day everyone is riled up about something and then we're on to the next fiery topic. What happened to the black face issue? That seemed to me to be a HUGE thing and now I can't find anything in the headlines about it- Have we decided to just ignore it and maybe it will go away? Fred did send me a follow-up piece written by the African-American woman journalist, Dahleen Glanton. She says, "Are we going to allow a few politicians and celebrities who made the horrible mistake of wearing blackface to a party force us to set an agenda that appeases everyone in the short
term but does nothing to further our important causes in the long term? Can we afford to start digging deep into every white person’s past to try to figure out whether they might have put shoe polish or dark makeup on their faces at one time or another in the past because they thought it was funny or cute? That’s a never-ending task with little or no payoff. Is this how we are going to try and purge our political system of racism? If so, it’s a huge mistake.
I took issue with some of the article, but I liked the way she ended it: "The way I see it, there is only one way out of this mess. As of today, black people have to forgive every white person who has ever worn blackface. But if anyone does it tomorrow, we’re coming after you.
In reading her article, I found myself thinking that she was being too easy on us White Folk. I think it's letting us off too easy to say we really didn't know it would be offensive. Why, for example, is Governor Northam standing next to a guy dressed like a Clansman? Was it because he didn't realize the Klu Klux Klan was an offensive, racist, violent organization?
In looking for a follow-up to the Virginia Black-face issue I did find a head line about the Italian fashion house Gucci. After an uproar over an $890.00 sweater that resembled blackface, Gucci announced a major push Friday to step up diversity hiring as part of a long-term plan to build cultural awareness at the luxury fashion company.