The Thoughts and Musings of Tom Allain

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it

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Archive for September, 2017

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 84: Can Someone Teach This Guy How to Lead?

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Let’s begin with the obvious: leadership is difficult. Leading others requires abilities to inspire, encourage, persuade, cajole, and well, you get the point. Our nation was built on the belief that our leaders govern with the consent of the governed.

Since 1776 much of the world has chosen democracy over the absolute rule of dictatorship (by a King or Queen, or a military leader, some other absolute ruler). Dictators ruled without needing to care about those they ruled and didn’t need leadership skills. If you doubt this, you need look only as far as North Korea.

We now find ourselves with a President who simply does not know how to lead. I’ve spoken about this several times before, but a good leader commands respect while a poor leader craves approval.

This has created havoc in our nation in so many ways. Let me focus on a few:

  • On August 17th President Trump claimed that some of the White Nationalists were very fine people. He clearly sought the approval of those who came to Charlottesville to “Unite the Right.” And it worked: Former KKK member David Duke praised the President.
  • As a Democrat I applaud this, but on September 6th President Trump met with leaders of Congress over the issue of raising the debt ceiling for three months. Republican leadership came to this Oval Office meeting insisting that the debt ceiling be raised until after the 2018 elections. They gasped when the President pulled the rug out from under them and sided with the Democratic leadership. This came less than a month after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested Mr. Trump had “excessive expectations” about the ability of the Senate to repeal and replace Obamacare. In other words, if craving Mr. McConnell’s approval didn’t work, he would crave the approval of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
  • Finally, and most strikingly, he has shifted his views on President Obama’s executive order protecting the Dreamers several times. They are people who were brought here from other nations as children. They grew up as Americans, went to our schools, and thought of themselves as Americans. Many of them speak only English. From the day President Trump announced his candidacy he described Mexicans as rapists and murderers. When asked about these dreamers he has said many things. Two weeks ago he ordered his Attorney General to announce the end of DACA. But on the same day he announced that he has great love for Dreamers. He’s craving the approval of both sides and thinks that mixed messages will make this happen.

In the midst of all this, many of us Americans find ourselves perplexed over how he is leading us. Simply put, he isn’t. He doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want us to respect his leadership, he wants us to approve of him. On June 12th we learned just how much.

OK, I’ve been wrong in all of my predictions of President Trump. As I write this he has 1146 days left in his term but I can’t imagine he’ll finish his term. One of his most faithful supporters, Ann Coulter now demands his impeachment. Breitbart, one of President Trump’s most vocal supporters, now posts videos of previous supporters burning “Making American Great Again

Many of us look at the investigation of Russian meddling and think this may end with his impeachment and removal from office. But I don’t think he will be impeached or convicted because I believe that his need for approval will force him to resign before the investigation ends. Sometime in the next six months he will declare that he was never given a chance and that “nobody was treated worse than me.” He will attempt to make the case that “everyone was against me” and nobody could have done this job.

Speaking only for myself I’ll celebrate his surrender. He never treated the Presidential election as a mandate to lead all of us. Instead he treated his office as a reality television show that he led. Now he’s found he has a hard job and he expects us to sympathize.

He was born into a wealthy family and was given more than most of us. The fact that he turned a small fortune into a large fortune doesn’t make me think of him as a leader. It makes me look at him as a toddler who craves approval.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 83: Saving DACA Helps All of Us

Monday, September 4th, 2017

For well over 100 years we’ve struggled with immigration. Beginning in the 1850s large numbers of citizens from China came to our shores, many to help construct the transcontinental railroad which was completed in 1869. But many Americans of European descent looked on these immigrants with suspicion and in 1882 President Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886) he signed the Chinese Exclusion Act. It made Chinese immigration nearly impossible. In fairness it also excluded “paupers, criminals, and lunatics.”

In 1924 the United States first began to restrict immigration by placing quotas on the number of people from each country can come here. I have no desire to wade into the complexities of our immigration system, but suffice it to say that more people want to come here than legally can.

And we continue to struggle to create a policy that respects our laws while at the same time recognizes that we are a nation of immigrants. Our pride for the Statue of Liberty shows this.

Our complicated history of “we are a nation of immigrants” vs. “we don’t trust people who don’t look like us” frames our frustration today.

And in the middle of this debate we find a group of young men and women we call “Dreamers.” They were brought to the United States as children. Their parents came here without going through the process of immigrating; simply put, they snuck in. But they did this because the process of legal immigration made legal entry essentially impossible.

However you feel about the adults, clearly their children cannot be held as lawbreakers. They came here and enrolled in school. By and large they did well and think of themselves as Americans; many speak only English and if deported they have no place to go.

In 2012 President Barack Obama ordered that they be protected and allowed to stay. As long as they came here before their 16th birthday, stayed in school, and did not break any laws, they could stay here and work legally. He called this order DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

But here’s where it gets even more complicated: President Trump promised on the campaign trail to end the DACA program but also, on other occasions appeared to support the Dreamers.

He’s never been known for his consistency but here he’s playing with the lives of real people. Last week he announced he would decide tomorrow, September 5th.

As I write this, it appears he will delay ending it by six months in the hopes that Congress will create legislation that will protect the dreamers. I imagine this gives the dreamers no relief as Congress appears to show no more compassion or maturity than the President.

Simply put, protecting the Dreamers benefits them, but also benefits us. Their conviction rate is 0% and they are educated. In other words, they are exactly what we are looking for. We gain nothing by deporting them because their parents came here to make a better lives for them.