President Trump’s First Week

A week ago Friday, I stopped to watch President Trump’s inaugural address.  Halfway through, I was almost expecting machine guns to open up and blow him to bits.  How dare he say things like this, when we’re all supposed to be caught up in the moment:

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

But, in fact, he’s right.  We are a troubled nation, and the first step in fixing the troubles is acknowledging that they exist.

The next day, I dug up Obama’s address from 2009, and replayed Trump’s version.  There were telling similarities: both Presidents were representing themselves as a break from the past and a new direction.  But Obama was polite and circumspect, like a politician, while Trump was blunt and forceful, like a new CEO brought in to resurrect a failing corporation.

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Enough with the posturing, already.

Many fewer people showed up to witness Trump’s inauguration in 2017 than Obama’s in 2009.  The weather was worse this year; Trump is another white guy; many in the northeast United States, within 200-300 miles of Washington, supported the other candidate.  Perhaps some people even imagined that machine guns might open up in the middle of the inaugural address.

But then the new Administration waded into the issue to challenge what seemed an obvious truth.  It doesn’t accomplish anything and just makes them look petty.

Similarly, the President of Mexico, perhaps riled by some of President Trump’s statements, cancelled his planned visit.  Trump responded:

The President of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route.

No, you didn’t mutually agree: he cancelled.  If he hadn’t, the meeting would still be happening.  Don’t pretend otherwise.

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Yesterday’s Daily News featured a graphic of the Statue of Liberty weeping in response to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration.  “Trump needs to read the inscription on the statue,” someone remarked at the restaurant where my wife and I were having lunch.

Well, maybe.

A century ago, the ‘huddled masses’ and ‘wretched refuse’ came to America under their own power.  They saved their money and paid for their own passage.  They knew there were hardships and dangers, and that they would have to adapt to their new land, not the other way around.

It would be one thing if people organized a charitable endeavor to bring refugees into the United States.  The government’s role in this would be issuing visas for entry and nothing more.  Congress could authorize some quantity of refugee visas to be paid for by the taxpayers, but that would be it.  The charities running the operation would be responsible for transportation, providing a place for the refugees to stay when they arrived, and acclimating them to life in the United States.

But that isn’t what’s happening.  The government is funding, at taxpayer expense, the arrival of these refugees.  There are religious organizations, functioning as government contractors, doing the work.

We didn’t do this a century ago.   Why do we feel the need to do it now?  What national interest does it serve?

Alas, I didn’t get the memo.

4 thoughts on “President Trump’s First Week”

  1. I would be more understanding of this situation if it didn’t seem biased. The fact is, yes we need to curtail immigration. That is un pc but studies show a majority of recent immigrants go on welfare and for refugees it’s even more. The idea of course is to help them get on their feet and be productive and that’s not what always happens. I was reading about a state cutting medicaid for immigrants and one guy had been on welfare (food stamps, medicaid, housing etc) since he arrived in 1974! He was a Vietnamese refugee and he never learned English or worked. Then I remember a case when I volunteered for an ESL program. There was a couple who arrived right after the wall collapsed but when Russia was still Communist. They were senior citizens and never worked here but got assistance. Then there were all the children of illegals who receive welfare. So when people compare immigration to many things, I often tell people that yes we always allowed people in but back then there was no taxpayer funded welfare. They worked hard, learned English (often taking class after a hard day of working or on weekends, or at least trying) and by the time their kids were grown the kids spoke English along with the other language. Their grandkids by then usually only spoke English.

    No I don’t hate immigrants, my paternal grandmother was an immigrant as were 4 out of my 8 great grandparents (two of them never immigrated here, my paternal grandmother’s parents, and two were born here, one was the only child of a family all born in Europe). However, my grandmother had to jump through hoops to arrive here, she married a soldier (my grandfather), and obviously spoke English. She never became a citizen.

    1. So what do we do with people who come here with no job skills, speaking no English?

      What do we do with the older new arrivals who are in their 50s and 60s and can speak no English and present no job skills? Suppose they never attended school at all?

      What do we do with people like those? You can’t train them for a job; to learn English takes time — it will take about 2 years of intensive ESL classes before they can write and read with idiom and be up to snuff.

      What we have is a mess.

      Send them back? that will take time and money.

      What do we do with towns like Passaic and Union City where the primary residents are now from Central and South America? Suppose they speak a dialect and not Spanish? There’s a gripload of dialects in those countries! What if there is nobody here “from that dialect” who can teach ESL to that group?

      Do they plan on more or less ridding those 2 towns of anybody who can’t prove they are citizens? How are they going to massively deport a whole small city???

      My town has Hispanics as a major demographic — are they going to come in here, too and do the same? New Jersey is a big center for those Hispanics — go ahead and more or less clean out the state??

      What we have is a gigantic mess.

      Do they plan on more or less seizing both those towns — and sending back every single person who cannot immediately prove they “belong here”?

      There will always be fake IDs and fake documents — where there’s a will there’s a way.

      What should have happened — deportation should have been enforced all along. Somehow or other we simply let these people stay — this is on us and now we have a fiscal, moral and ethical problem on our hands. Christ, what a mess.

      1. It really is a mess and I don’t know what the answer is. We should have been stricter with who we let in and why. We have many who came here and are not productive and never will be. The Boston Bomber and his family depended on welfare and never contributed and instead attacked our country.

  2. I just finished watching “Shampoo.”

    There was a scene where the TV was on in the background as 2 characters conversed.

    The scene took place the day after the 1968 election: Nixon was on TV, giving a speech similar to the one Trump did…Nixon claimed he was going to unify us all.

    Guy commented: “Maybe Nixon will fix things…that goddamn Lyndon Johnson….never mind; they are always the same jerk” he said, as he snapped off the TV.

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