We are in the first month of a brand new year and there are signs humans may have a chance to be in a place where reason and common sense have the upper hand. It has also become apparent that women are achieving a stronger voice...the voice of reason, Some of those voices are forces to be reckoned with.
Those who read this column are well aware that I am not a fan of the current president of the United States...and stating all the reasons he did not get my vote would require many pages...so I won't go there. I do need to make a couple of points. He definitely is a misogynist. However, it likely that his racism and immaturity is the main factor in his shutting down the U.S. government.
Trump promised those who voted for him that a wall between Mexico and the United States would be built. During his campaign he stated Mexico would build the wall. When that didn't pan out he gave congress the figure needed...and there was the initial acceptance that some funds would be spent with the condition that young adults...non-citizens...who had grown up in the U.S., and had no ties to any other country would be given citizenship. Trump's racism reared it's ugly head. He would not sign a bill giving citizenship to the Dreamers.
I am writing this some days ahead of publishing, and at this point President Trump is holding his government hostage. He has shut down the government and according to him it will remain shut down unless he gets his demands...$5.6 billion for “the wall.” The new House of Representatives can enact legislation to get things up and running but it would also have to pass in the Senate. There are a number of Republicans in the Senate who might be a bit wary of going against Trump.
The “wall” makes no sense. No matter how tall or how solid, there will be those who are determined to climb over or tunnel under that edifice. There are large areas...many miles where the terrain would make wall building impossible. There are also five coastal southern states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico. A wall closing off ocean waters and sandy beaches might detract from the quality of life of those who have spent more than a few dollars to build their seaside homes.
Then there is the cost. Experts have indicated that even 750 miles of wall building would take at least 100 times the $5.6 billion amount Trump is asking for....and could be as much as 200 times the amount. Those funds would be better spent on technology and on hiring additional people to patrol the border and to do intake work of those wishing to enter the country.
It is quite apparent that Donald Trump was showing his racism and bigotry with the early attempt to stop Muslims from entering the U.S. That move was overturned through court rulings. Now his obsession with those attempting to enter from countries to the south would indicate a racist attitude.
It does seem the man prefers fair skin. There was one point when Trump indicated his wish to allow immigrants from Norway...and then wondered why they weren't rushing to the good old U.S.A.
Unfortunately, other countries are being impacted by Trump antics. Stock markets have been on a wild ride. Shutting down the government of a powerful country does not have a calming affect on the world economy. At the time of the writing of this column there are a number of “essential” government people who are required to show up at the job even though they will receive no pay. Included among those workers are those who work at airports and at the border...making sure that all is secure.
These “essential” people must still buy gas for their cars so they can get to the job. Many of these people are young marrieds with small children and a big mortgage. In a TV interview one young man indicated that soon he will have to choose between buying food for his family, or gas for the car.
There are a record number of women who are now in the House of Representatives...and that house is being led by a woman. Donald Trump is likely aware that there are now a lot of females in congress who have a great appreciation for common sense decisions. Also...as has been noted recently there are some in that group who are not afraid to say exactly what is on their mind. The next couple of years should be very interesting.
Shirley Hallee is a freelance writer living in Amherst. Her column appears weekly in the Amherst News.