Blue Wave: “The People Yes”

 

After the Midterms were over, the big headline was “The Democrats win control of the House!  There will be a check on president Donald Trump.”  In the days that followed, additional seats were won by the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi appeared to be returning as Speaker of The House of Representatives. Another huge story was “One hundred women elected to the House!” 2018 became the Second Year of the Woman.   In every region of the country, in red and blue states, Democratic women campaigned for the first time and won seats from incumbent Republican men.  It seemed clear that Trump’s misogyny had galvanized women in the suburbs and the cities. The first signal was the huge Women’s March on Saturday after Trump’s inauguration in January, 2017 –the largest march in United States history.

Often, in times of great import, I remember a poem that captures the essence of the moment.  Poets can express the human condition better than psychologists and historians. Carl Sandburg was such a poet. He wrote from Chicago in the first half of the 20th century about the American people — who we are, our struggles and what we strive for. His epic poem, “The People Yes” captures this moment in our history.  Here are excerpts to illuminate what has happened to all of us .

“The people yes”

The people will live on.

The learning and blundering people will live on.

They will be tricked and sold and again sold

And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,

The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,

You can’t laugh off their capacity to take it.

The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.

*   *   *    *    *    *    *    *

The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic,

Is a vast huddle with many units saying:

“I earn my living.

I make enough to get by

And it takes all my time.

If I had more time

I could do more for myself

And maybe for others.

I could read and study

And talk things over

And find out about things.

It takes time.

I wish I had the time.

*   *    *     *    *     *     *

Man is a long time coming.

Man will yet win.

Brother may yet line up with brother:

This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.

There are men who can’t be bought.

The fireborn are at home in fire.

The stars make no noise.

You can’t hinder the wind from blowing.

Time is a great teacher.

Who can live without hope?

In this darkness with a great bundle of grief

The people march.

In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the

People march:

“Where to? What next?”

…………………………………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

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Midterm Elections Alert: Your Vote Counts on Tuesday, November Six!

Presidential historians, Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin have called this election the most important in modern history.  President Donald Trump has created an atmosphere of anxiety, fear and bipartisan enmity throughout the nation with his daily tweets and speeches at rallies. He singles out the Press as the “enemy of the people” and attacks the F.B.I. and The Justice Department on a regular basis.

Trump has promoted fears that immigrants in huge “Caravans” from Central America are bringing criminals and deadly diseases to the United States.  The facts are that parents and children are fleeing dangerous lives in their homelands as they walk hundreds of miles toward  a better future in this country.  They are seeking asylum through legal means. At present, they are over eight hundred miles south of Mexico,  but Trump claimed  he may send  fifteen thousand of our military to the border.  Not the National Guard… the Army!  However, Defense Secretary James Mattis pushed back against that statement, telling reporters, “ We don’t do stunts.”

On October 31, Trump  tweeted, “We will not let these Caravans which are also made up of thugs and gang members into the U.S.  Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND! “ The next day, he spoke from the Roosevelt Room of the White House  about the “crisis” at the border. He said he had ordered troops to respond to any in the Caravan who threw rocks or stones as if they were weapons.  I told them: “Consider it a rifle.” He said the government had begun to construct massive “cities of tents” to imprison legal and illegal immigrants who try to enter the United States.

In the weeks running up to the midterm elections, The New York Times has been keeping track of the “Litany of Untruths” the president has been telling to aid Republicans running for office.  On November 1,  reporters Peter Baker and Linda Qui wrote an introduction to the  fifteen “most egregious  falsehoods Mr. Trump has told since October 22.”

From their introduction, “ In the past couple of weeks, the president has spoken of riots that have not happened, claimed deals that have not been reached,  cited  jobs that have not been created , spun dark conspiracies that have no basis in reality….rewritten history and contradicted his own past comments.  He has asserted that construction has begun on his border wall (It has not), that he is one of the most popular presidents in history (he is not), that he ‘always’ opposed the Iraq War, (he did not), that his tax cut was the largest in history (it was not), and that the United States is the only country guaranteeing citizenship to those born here (it is not) . At least 30 other countries, including Canada and Mexico,  grant automatic birthright citizenship.

The past weeks have brought two mega deadly events:  First, package bombs were delivered to Democratic critics of the president:  Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, George Soros, Robert De Niro, Tom Styer, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and at the CNN offices in New York, John Brennan and James Clapper.  The bombs were all intercepted, rapidly by F.B.I. and postal workers, sparing the country the assassination of a former president, vice president, secretary of state and multiple intelligence officers, senators. Congress woman,  actor and citizens calling for the president’s impeachment.

The second shocking event was the massacre of eleven Jewish worshipers on the Sabbath at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  The killer brandished an assault rifle and hand guns as he shouted, “All Jews Must die!”   at the Tree of Life Temple.   The service had been special for the community since a family was celebrating a ‘bris’, naming of a newborn boy.  Many of the dead were elderly and all were closely knit in the larger Jewish community.  The Anti-Defamation League said it was the worst act of terror against Jews in the history of the nation.

In the days that followed the community was split about whether the president should make a condolence call.   He was asked by the mayor to wait until the funerals took place.   The rabbi of the temple said he would be welcome. He decided to come and was not greeted by the mayor or governor.  He came with his wife, daughter and son –in law.  The community split with huge crowds  holding critical signs along the highway.

We now are three days away from voting on Tuesday.  Many senate, house and governors races are extremely close.  “Toss ups” according to the latest polls.   There is no question that the election has become a referendum on Donald Trump as well.  At all his rallies, he says “My name is also on the ballot when you vote on November 6.”

David Remnnick, editor of The New Yorker wrote, “This election is a referendum on Trump, a contest between his base and those who feel that it is in the national interest to establish at least some brake – a new majority in the House of Representatives, a new crop of governors and state legislators—to slow the disintegration of American life and his despoilment of the national spirit.  Two years ago, the prospect of a Trump presidency presented an emergency.  Tens of millions of voters found a reason to stay home.  This year the polls are tight. The stakes cannot be overstated.”

YOUR VOTE COUNTS.

………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce  S. Anderson

 

 

Chutzpah in Georgia: 53,000 Voter Registrations on Hold as ‘Pending”

 

The Yiddish word ‘chutzpah’ is defined as “unusually shocking behavior, gall, nerve, cheek, temerity”.  Here’s the dramatic news that broke on October 12 in the National Press and Cable TV.  Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Republican, running for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams had placed 58,000 voter registrations on hold.  The Associated Press reported that nearly 70 percent of the 58,000 voters were African Americans.

Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams have been waging a very bitter campaign, described as a “toss-up”.  She served as the Georgia House Minority leader, and founded the New Georgia Project ahead of the 2014 Midterm elections.  It was aimed at signing up 800,000 new young and minority voters. If elected, Stacey Abrams will be the first African American woman state governor in United States history.

The New York Times reported that Kemp’s office uses “a controversial method called ‘exact match’ to verify voter applications which in some cases means that individuals can be purged from the voter rolls if their submitted information has even trivial differences from their government identification, such as a dropped hyphen.”

Stacey Abrams campaign demanded that Kemp resign as Georgia secretary of state amid the media uproar.  Kemp responded in an email to supporters that “all 58,000 Georgians on the pending voting lists will be able to vote on Election Day if they meet all the state’s identification requirements.” He added, “Clearly, Stacey Abrams   is afraid to run on  her record.”   Democrats responded that the ‘pending’ status could lead to longer lines at the polling places and might discourage some voters from trying to cast their ballots.  Discrimination against black voters for decades is part of the state’s history.

Myrna Perez, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice said, “Georgia has been a cause for concern , ranging from polling place closures to technical blocking of registration and purges. Georgians deserve fair and accessible elections.” It is important to know Kemp’s history since he became Secretary of State in 2010.  The state purged a total of 1.5 million voters between the 2012 and 2016 elections, reported by the Brennan Center for Justice.

The “exact match system was used by Kemp’s office from 2013 to 2016 , with minorities disproportionately affected according to a lawsuit settled in 2017.However the Republican controlled legislature passed a new law that included it.

On October 13, CNN headlined, “Civil Rights Groups sue Georgia Republican Brian Kemp over 53,000 ‘pending’ voter registrations.   A coalition of advocacy groups has launched a lawsuit to block Georgia from enforcing a practice that critics say endangers the votes of more than 50,000 people in November and potentially larger numbers headed into the 2020 presidential election. “

The argument of The Campaign Legal Center and Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under law was that the states’ “exact match” requirement violates The Voting Rights Act, The National Voter Registration Act,  and the First and Fourth Amendments to The Constitution.  The  plaintiffs argue that the “exact match” checks had been shown to “disproportionately and negatively impact voting of eligible African-American, Latino and Asian –American applicants” even before the process was signed into law by the current governor, Republican Nathan Deal in 2017.

Georgia Democrats have kept the story on the front pages and the airwaves through their “Voter Protection Hotline”.  The state party in February became the first in the nation to hire a full time election watchdog in recognition of the different forms of voter suppression over the years in their state. They are in direct contrast to the emphasis during the Trump administration on voter “fraud”. Appointment of a commission to investigate this non-existent phenomenon went nowhere and was abandoned.

The Brennan Center has reported through exhaustive surveys that voter fraud did not exist in the 2016 election despite the president’s insistence that it did.  Donald Trump disputes the fact that Hilary Clinton won the popular vote although all state election results add up to that conclusion.

The lawsuit has no official connection to the Stacey Abrams Campaign. At this point, we do not know how long the court will deliberate and produce a decision.  However, It could prove to be the deciding factor on election day —her share of   “ pending voters” in the tight race versus his.

 

Joyce S. Anderson ……….…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“I Remember The Laughter….. Uproarious Laughter…..”

 

On Thursday, September 27, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was testifying  before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Senator Patrick Leahy asked her what was the single most powerful memory she had of the assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh when they were teenagers.  She answered, “Indelible in the hippocampus was the laughter… uproarious laughter as they enjoyed the fun they were having at my expense.”

Dr. Ford,  a professor at Stanford, was drawing on her deep knowledge of the science of the brain. She holds two Masters degrees and a Phd in psychology.   She took the required oath and spoke slowly in a quiet voice throughout her three hour testimony which began with, “I am terrified.” She explained that she was there because she felt “it was my civic duty to testify” when she saw Brett Kavanaugh’s name on the short list President Trump received from the Federalist Society for nomination to The Supreme Court.

Dr. Ford described in detail the small house party she had attended 36 years ago on a summer day when she was 15 and he was 17.   She had gone up the stairs to the bathroom and before she could open the door, she was grabbed and taken into a bedroom by Brett and his friend Mark Judge.   They locked the door and turned on loud music.  Brett threw her onto the bed, groped her body and tried to take off her clothes.  She was wearing  a one piece bathing suit under her sports outfit. Mark joked and laughed along with him.  When she tried to scream, Brett put his hand over her mouth and she had trouble breathing.  Dr.Ford testified that her greatest fear was “that he would accidentally kill me.”  She was sure he was going to rape her when Mark jumped on the bed and they all tumbled onto the floor.

Dr. Ford was able to free herself and run out to the bathroom and lock the door.  She heard “Brett and Mark still laughing” as they went downstairs.  When she came down, she walked out without saying anything to the other girls and boys there.

When she returned home, Christine Blasey told neither her parents nor her friends what had happened at the party.  She was fifteen and stopped going to all social gatherings for the rest of her high school years.  She went  on to college where she earned a Bachelor’s, two Masters and a Phd with a major in psychology.  Now, as a research psychologist at Stanford, she knows she was suffering from PTSD,  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She testified to the senators that the sexual attack by Brett Kavanaugh haunted her until she went to a therapist for counseling with her husband in 2012.  She then shared the details of the attack for the first time with the therapist.  At the hearing, Dr. Ford said, she was 100 percent sure Brett Kavanaugh had sexually attacked her when asked that question by Senator Richard Durbin.

Experts in sexual attacks have proven evidence that two thirds or “71 percent” of women who are sexually molested and attacked never tell anyone.  They feel guilt,  shame, fear of reprisal or other negative reactions.  Since the growth of the  #MeToo movement, this has changed.  A significant example occurred at the hearing after Brett Kavanaugh had given his testimony in the afternoon.  Jeff Flake, Republican, who had announced he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh after being on the fence, was confronted at an elevator by two women who had survived sexual assaults. They berated him for his decision in loud voices with passionate appeals for him to keep Kavanaugh off the court.  “Look at me when I am talking to you!”  the older woman exhorted.  The episode went viral on cable TV for days.

Senator Flake conferred later in the afternoon with Senator Coons, Democrat, and called for the F.B. I. investigation into Kavanaugh’s nomination that Democrats had been urging for days.  He asked for a delay of one week before a final vote took place in the senate.  The committee agreed to ask President Trump to call for the investigation.  The president agreed after saying that Dr. Ford’s testimony had been “very compelling”.

It is now Monday and only three days have elapsed since the hearing last Thursday.  It appears that the White House and Republicans have been pressing to shorten the investigation.  Senator Feinstein has written a strong letter of protest.  Public opinion has been mounting against Brett Kavanaugh after his angry, emotional answers to questions from senators at the hearing . He blamed a “conspiracy” by the Democrats when questioned about possible “blackouts from beer” in his college days.  He shouted and appeared close to tears when questioned about his high school yearbook notations with sexual context.  Commentators  on Cable TV after the hearing questioned his “ fitness to be a judge on any court” based on his performance under sworn testimony.

We now wait to see if the F.B.I. investigation will continue.  Will the third woman accuser who came forward be contacted and questioned?   Julie Swetnick said she saw Brett Kavanaugh drinking excessively and engaging in sexual misconduct while he was a student at Georgetown Prep in the l980’s.  The F.B.I.  has met with Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale with Kavanaugh.  She told James Roche, a friend who had been Kavanaugh’s roommate at Yale about his exposing himself to her at a dorm  party when everyone  had been drinking.  Roche, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur was quoted in a New Yorker article, “I believe her and support her story.”  He remembered Kavanaugh, becoming. “drunkenly incoherent”  at times at Yale.

There are four more days in the “week long investigation”  Jeff Flake called for.  The clock is ticking….

Joyce S. Anderson ………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

 

Who Shall Live? Who Shall Die?

 

 

The words from the central High Holy Day  passage are chilling and awesome. They limn the unknown future in stark terms. When I heard them each year as a child, I was frightened. There followed a list of different ways in which dying could happen. Then, at the end of the  passage came the reassuring words that “Prayer, Penitence and Charity can avert the evil decree.”

 

The words have been changed somewhat in  revised editions of the High Holy Days prayer books. But the fundamental message is the same. We each face choices in our behavior in the year ahead. On the Day of Judgment, we stand before God to reveal ourselves — our  thoughts and our actions. We are asked to search our conscience and forgive others. And it is incumbent  upon us to do better in the year ahead.

 

In the secular world, there are also questions of life and death that are a part of our mores and our laws. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet, in every society, as in ours there are circumstances where killing is not only allowed, but proscribed. The Armed Forces train members to kill with deadly weapons. When they do this with great distinction in battle, they are awarded medals. It was ever thus. In civilian life, a person attacked may fight off an assailant and kill in self defense. This is recognized as appropriate behavior for which there is no legal penalty. There are both federal and state crimes defined as capital offenses. And there are states with the death penalty; states without . In certain states with the death penalty, a life sentence without parole is not an option.

 

How do we as individuals and citizens sort this all out? We each have our own beliefs as to whether capital punishment should ever occur. Some have the exception only in the case of heinous crimes or the death of police officers. Studies consistently show that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent. In fact, homicide rates are higher in states with the death penalty than in states without. Many homicides are crimes of passion without forethought. Today, courts in different states have complex bodies of law and criteria for presenting a case to the jury.

 

A recent study revealed that minority group members are more likely to face the death penalty for inter-racial homicides. Of the l77 defendants who faced the death penalty for killing a person of another race since 1955, 55 percent were African Americans, 25 percent were Hispanic, 11 percent were Caucasian and 8 percent were from other groups. Although the focus is on federal cases, the vast majority of people on death row are there under state laws. States executed 4,400 people from l930 to 1999 according to the Justice Department, compared to 33 federal executions since l930. And there were 3,433 people with death sentences in the states as of l998, compared to l9 people in federal prisons with death sentences.  The issue of racial disparity exists in state cases and death penalty sentencing as well. Since l972, when the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional, certain states have revised their laws and conducted numerous executions. Some are high profile. Others are not.

 

When we look outside the United States today, the plight of millions of Syrian refugees is front page news as they try desperately to reach European countries. They have lost their homes and possessions. They walk hundreds of miles or take boats to reach a country that will take them. The picture of a little boy’s body washed up on the beach,  after his family tried to take a rubber raft to safety, shocked the world.  When it capsized, only the father survived. His wife and daughter also drowned.

 

Our rabbi started Rosh Hashanah services with the need for members of our congregation to act now to help these people.  There was a paper waiting for us in the lobby when services were over that gave the names of three organizations working to help the refugees.  Phone calls and dollar donations are needed. “Charity” to join our “Penitence and Prayer”.  There is also a direct link to the last two questions that Hillel posed two thousand years ago.  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  But, if I am only for myself, what am I? And, if not now, when?” — the clarion call to action

Joyce S. Anderson…………………………………………………………………………..

Two Thousand, Forty Seven Migrant Children Separated From Parents! Reunite!!

 

 On Tuesday, June 26, 2018.  Judge Dana Sabraw of the Federal District Court of San Diego issued a preliminary injunction to stop the separation of migrant children from their parents. He also set up a strict timetable for reuniting the families: Children under the age of five must be reunited with their parents within 14 days.  Other minor children must be reunited within 30 days- unless a parent is deemed to be unfit or to be a danger to the child.

Trump administration officials were surprised by the injunction and timetable affecting children in 100 sites scattered in 17 states across the country.  Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services said they were trying to put children in touch with their parents. But they were not planning to release the children while their parents were being detained to face prosecution on charges of trying to enter the United States illegally. Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services told a senate committee the same day that before releasing the children, the government must “vet” them.  Other officials said that process could take “weeks”. Jonathan White, a Public Human Services officer said the federal government may request from a parent a birth certificate or use DNA testing, as well as doing a criminal background check.  Secretary Azar also said his department was also holding nine thousand children in their shelters who were unaccompanied when they entered illegally.

Judge Sabraw in his order said actions by federal agencies, “had resulted in the casual if not deliberate separation of families that lawfully present at the port of entry, not just those who cross into the country illegally.”  He added, “Some parents have been already deported without their children who remain in government facilities within the  United States.”   The number of children in this situation was not available from officials.

The zero tolerance policy declared by President Trump had been put into effect rapidly by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.   Pictures of crying children being taken from their parents engulfed the cable news stations.   A Time magazine Cover showed a crying tiny two year old girl, who had become famous as her picture went viral, looking up at Donald Trump peering down at her.  Against the red background was the title, “Welcome to America”.  TV showed a scene in New York City where officials were walking with small children who had been flown late at night from the sourthern border. Governors of states were not informed of migrant children being brought there.  Newspaper editorials and Cable TV panels assailed the president for the zero tolerance policy that was tearing families apart and causing “chaos” and “long lasting harm to the children”. Neither George W. Bush, nor Barack Obama had ever separated families with their immigration policies.  Public pressure grew until Trump finally relented and ended the separation policy.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat and ranking member on the Judiciary Committee said, “This is a manufactured crisis, plain and simple. Previous presidents have found ways to enforce our immigration laws without separating children from their parents.”

By Saturday, June 28, Americans across the country organized events and marches in every state in the union against the separation of migrant children from their parents. Their slogan was “Reunite!”   MSNBC and CNN carried the protests non-stop with interviews of individual families and spotlights on famous entertainers who sang, and political figures who gave inspiring speeches.  Before a massive audience in Los Angeles,  Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Maxine Waters had the crowd clapping and cheering with their dynamic attacks on the Trump zero based policy separating children from parents. “We are Better Than This!”….. Harris insisted after each example she gave of the lasting harm the policy was doing to the children.   “Make sure you shoot straight!” warned Waters who has been insulted often by Trump.  She stressed her knowledge of The Constitution in contrast to the president.

In Washington D.C. thousands of protestors marched into Lafayette Square opposite the White House, chanting “Families belong together.”  Donald Trump was not at home. He was playing golf at his club in Bedminster New Jersey. Throughout the country, many people held “Abolish ICE signs.”   The Immigration and Customs Agency” is a growing target of Americans appalled by the harsh treatment and deportation of Immigrants who have lived in the United States for years.  There were huge rallies and marches in border cities like El Paso, Texas and state capitals like Atlanta Georgia.   In Oregon, a tent city protest had started at ICE headquarters earlier in the month.  A rally there brought thousands.  The 90 degree heat across the country did not stop entire families, many with small children from taking part.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat from Washington State said, “ The idea of kids in cages and asylum seekers in prison, and moms being separated from breast feeding children, this is just beyond politics.” On Thursday, she had been arrested with more than 500 other women outside a Senate office building in Washington as part of a Women’s Protest March against Trump’s Immigration policy. In New York Ctiy, a crowd more than a mile long slowly crossed the Brooklyn Bridge carrying signs: “Abolish ICE”,  “Reunite families.” One woman said to a reporter, “The most important question to ask is what is the process to reunite these families.”

President Trump is doing his best to move away from the chaos and turmoil he created by his policy to separate children from their parents.  His basic tactic is always distraction from any troubling issue at hand.  Now, he is emphasizing the search for a Supreme Court nomination since Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired. However, the American people reminded him on Saturday when they marched by the thousands, women, men and children, that his administration must reunite the families he separated. We are waiting impatiently for that to happen. Trump caused it.  Now he has to pay attention to finding a solution. FAST!

……………………………………………………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Chaotic June Diary: Scorned G-7 Allies. Praised Kim Jong-Un. Separated Migrant Children From Parents.

 

Prologue:  Three major events marked Donald Trump’s June, 2018. First:  his insults and scorning of allies at the G-7 meeting in Quebec.  Second: his praising and embracing dictator Kim Jong Un at the Singapore Summit.  Third: his separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents. 

G-7 Meeting.  On June 9,  Trump left the meeting early, tweeting on his plane that his host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “dishonest” and “weak”.   Trump  had failed to sign the group’s collective statement affirming “ our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights”….During the session, Trump had demanded that Putin/Russia be readmitted unconditionally four years after their expulsion for annexing Crimea. A central part of the meeting brought strong objections  to Trump about his tariffs on steel and aluminum by leaders from Britain, Germany, Japan and the European Union.  They called the tariffs the start of a “trade war”.  U.S. reporters described Trump’s behavior and statements as a strong rejection of the geopolitical alliances built after World War II , The United Nations, NATO and the international monetary system.  David Leonhardt, New York Times, June 11, wrote “Trump Tries to Destroy the West. He wants to break up the Atlantic alliance that shaped the past century.”

Singapore Summit: Donald Trump flew directly from the G-7 to Singapore for his long anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un.  It would be the first time a United States president and a Noth Korean leader would come together.  This in itself was seen as a victory of recognition and prestige for Kim.  They both arrived in Singapore and finally met on a stage with huge flags from their countries as a backdrop. The two men shook hands smiling and appeared to be in good spirits. After past bitter exchanges alluding to nuclear weapons, the pictures were startling to view.

Trump, at 71 towered over Kim, 34. Each put one hand on the other’s back as they walked.  They retired to rooms for a private five hour meeting with only their interpreters included.  At the end of the session, they were shown signing a joint statement in which Trump agreed to suspend the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea. He called them “provocative” , a word that Kim used.  Kim agreed to a vague projection of “ denuclearization”,  a similar promise that his father and grandfather had used in past signed documents that were never fulfilled.  Trump flew home praising Kim for becoming a ruler at 27 as “a very smart man”, and tweeted that Americans could now feel “safe”.  He talked about whether he would receive the Nobel prize for bringing “world peace”.

Separating Migrant Children From Their Parents:  In March, 2017, General John Kelly, then homeland security secretary said, children would be separated from their parents if migrant families were apprehended entering the country illegally, “in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.” In May, 2018, when there was a sharp increase in southern border crossings, Donald Trump ordered a new border policy.  Called, “zero tolerance”, it became Attorney General Jeff Sessions job to put into effect.

Along with launching the new policy,  the president and the top administration officials falsely laid blame on the Democrats saying  laws they passed caused separation of children. Trump told reporters, “ I hate separating children. We have to get the Democrats to work with us.” Fact: There is no law that requires children to be taken from children.  In addition, the secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, said, “ The Obama administration. The Bush administration all separated families. They absolutely did. ”  The facts are that both Obama and Bush never had a policy of separating families, which they rejected as inhumane and politically perilous.

As the news of the zero tolerance policy became known,  TV cable news showed pictures of crying children being housed in huge metal cages.  The nation’s newspapers ran front page stories of bereft parents not told where their children had been taken to. Time Magazine had a red cover with a tiny crying little girl  (whose picture had gone viral) looking up at Trump who peers down….” Welcome to America. “ Commentators on cable talked to panels of child psychologists about life long damage to the children.  Historians were interviewed.  Senators were blocked from entering detention centers for children.

On Monday June 19,  Trump reacted  against the growing outcry in defense of his policy. “They could be murderers and thieves and so much else. We want a safe country and it starts with the borders. And that’s the way it is. “   Attorney General Jeff Sessions also defended the practice, “we do not want to separate parents from the children.”   The avalanche of criticism continued.  Former first ladies spoke out forcefully by June 20.  Rosalyn Carter:  “The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country.”    Laura Bush, “ I live in a border state. I understand the need to …  protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel.  It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”  Hillary Clinton: “Every parent who has ever held a child in their arms, every human being with a sense of compassion and decency, should be outraged.”    Michelle Obama re- tweeted Laura Bush’s ‘It is immoral. It breaks my heart”.  Adding, “Sometimes truth transcends party.”

On Thursday, June 21, The New York Times headline , IN RETREAT, TRUMP HALTS SEPARATING MIGRANT FAMILIES.  The  president finally gave in to the political pressure and signed an executive order to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together indefinitely.  “We’re going to have strong, very strong borders but we’re going to keep the families together. I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

In the days that followed, four military bases prepared to house 20,000 migrant children while government lawyers searched the map to locate the 2,300 who had already be sent to New York, Texas and other states.  “Chaos on the ground” was one description. Many observers believed that some children would never be reunited with their parents, especially those who had already been deported back to Central American countries.

Critics of the president accused him of using children as “hostages” to obtain the money needed to build his long touted Wall!  On June 23,  he flew to Las Vegas for a rally of his followers.  Trump was cheered when he insisted, “We need strong borders. If we show any weakness, they will come by the millions.” ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Joyce S. Anderson