Monday, July 25, 2022

Apology Long Overdue and a PINO Threat

Pope Francis’ trip to Canada to apologize for the inhumane treatment of Canadian indigenous people by the Catholic Church is a welcome example of a leader accepting responsibility for the actions of his predecessors, no matter how well intentioned they might have been.

About a year ago a PBS aired a documentary on the forced removal of native children from their families and their placement in boarding schools where the church and  Canadian government hoped to erase their culture, to substitute Western values, to teach them trades.

I was struck by a sign on the wall of a classroom filled with children. It read, “Labor Conquers All Things.”

It was eerily reminiscent of words that greeted Jews and other “undesirables” to Auschwitz and other concentration camps—“Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”). 

The horrors of Nazi death camps lasted a little more than a decade. Sadly, the abuse of Canada’s indigenous people lasted about 150 years.

Great vs. Consequential: There’s a difference between great and consequential.

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were great and consequential presidents. Harry S. Truman was a great president. Because of his three Supreme Court appointments Donald Trump earned the right to have his presidency labelled consequential.

Conservatives and progressives may debate the positive or negative aspects of that consequence but there can be no legitimate argument about the impact America will experience going forward for years, possibly decades, to come.

As he ponders another run for the presidency one has to wonder how our country and Western liberal society would survive under a second Trump term.

Would Trump assist former Soviet bloc countries, now NATO members, if Vladimir Putin pushes to physically bring them back under Russian control? If the war in Ukraine was still being fought, would Trump stop American support for Ukraine?

Here’s a short list of what’s at stake not just in two years when we elect a president but more immediately when we elect a new House and one third of the Senate:

Free and fair elections; Democracy; Minimum wage; Social Security; Environmental laws; OSHA laws; Same sex relations and marriage; Legal contraception; Interracial unions.

It’s not being an alarmist to point out these vulnerabilities given the conservative bent on the Supreme Court and Republican long-standing opposition to federal regulations.

PINO: One of the victims of the Fourth of July massacre in Highland Park, IL, was Kevin McCarthy, along with his wife, Irina. They left a two year old son, Aiden. 

I wonder if the similarly named minority leader of House Republicans—Kevin McCarthy—now has enhanced empathy for those seeking greater restraints on the proliferation of guns in America?

Who am I kidding? 

McCarthy’s only concern is garnering power for himself. 

McCarthy is what I like to call a PINO, a Patriot In Name Only. He might profess to believe in the Constitution, evidenced by his forceful rebuke of Trump after the insurrection at the Capitol. 

But his allegiance to our country lasted but a few short moments after he realized without Trump’s backing he had no chance of becoming Speaker of the House. His dream of power might still go unfulfilled, but he has become the poster boy of cowardice, of spineless duplicity, of thinking more of himself than of the good of the nation.

Sadly, there’s an army of Trumpsters who either never learned about the Constitution or have chosen to ignore it. These PINOs are a threat to democracy as we know it. They favor the type of repressive regime Viktor Orbán has impressed upon Hungary. Fox News, especially Tucker Carlson, is their cheerleader. 

To defeat them, true patriots must stay alert and vote! 

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