Dear America,

I have to admit from the start that I don't care about "the wall."  What I mean to say is that, while I would love to see Donald Trump fail to keep his inane promise, the wall itself doesn't really matter to me.  I don't see it as a moral issue the way that Nancy Pelosi claims to, and in the face of a nearly trillion dollar deficit this fiscal year, what's five billion.  As Everett Dirkson said, a billion here and a billion there and soon you're talking about real money.  But the three billion dollar difference between what the current budget proposal is offering Trump and the amount he wants is trivial except for it's political implications.  But its mere triviality just reifies my distrust of Republicans, primarily Trump and Mitch McConnell.

The first thing to recognize is that the budget McConnell just shepherded through The Senate is not different in principle from the continuing resolution sent by The Senate to The House in December.  That CR died in The House because Republican Speaker Paul Ryan couldn't be sure his Republican president would sign it, so he covered Trump's ass and refused to put it to a vote.  Next, within the first day or two of this congress--the 116th--the newly Democratic house passed virtually that same CR, but this time, despite the fact that The Senate had just passed it by voice acclamation a couple of weeks earlier, McConnell refused to put it to a vote, again to cover his Republican president's ass.  Trump said he wouldn't sign it without his five and a half billion for the wall, so McConnell saved him from having to veto it and take the hit for the shutdown that was going on.  Everyone saw what was going on and Trump did take the hit politically--unless you believe the Rasmussen poll, which varies enormously from all of the others--but McConnell went right on without missing a beat, and now has passed virtually the same budget as was reflected by the December and January CR's, and he did it shamelessly, urging Trump to sign it.  He could have done that a month ago and saved 800,000 people the financial agony that the continuing shutdown represented for them.  And all the while, the putative rationale used by the Republicans was that the wall is necessary, which brings me to the reasons professed for its necessity.

Trump says that it will keep drugs out of the country, but in reality, something like 90% of what gets in does so through legitimate ports of entry into the United States.  And for good measure, he claimed that the abuse of women by "coyotes" who smuggle them across the border is the worst abuse of immigrants in history.  Apparently he forgot about the millions of Africans packed into the holds of sailing ships like cattle for transport across the Atlantic to be used as slaves, about a third of them not surviving the trip because conditions were so abominable inside those ship's holds.  And while I haven't heard anyone repeat Trump's claims about abuse, they are all onboard with this nonsense about a wall preventing the importation of drugs.  Compound the lack of factual integrity in Republican claims vis-à-vis the wall with the fact that the biggest drug scourge at present is fentanyl, yet Trump is negotiating on trade with the government of China where the vast preponderance of the drug is manufactured and exported and you are looking at hypocrisy with a capital H.

But in the final analysis, none of this is sub rosa politics.  Everyone knows what is going on, no matter what they call it.  Donald Trump built his "base" on xenophobia, bigotry, misogyny, braggadocio, petty epithets, sophomoric bullying and vile rhetoric aimed at ad hominem argument that avoids the real issue and makes his opponents the issue while diverting attention from the facts.  And Republicans seem to be ok with all that.

That's why I wouldn't leave my wallet on the table when I left a room with a Republican in it.  The difference between the parties is profound, not that the Democrats are any prize.  The difference is that Democrats sometimes forsake their principles in the name of politics.  Republicans have no principles.

Your friend,

Mike

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