Wednesday, June 6, 2018

My Civic Responsibility

I went to our polling place this afternoon and got in line.  I was looking through my purse for my identification when two women walked up in front of me.  A bit rude, I thought, but I was in no hurry, so I didn't tell them they should go to the back of the very short line.

But then there were problems.  The woman at the table taking people's names was new, and these two women didn't speak English well.  They didn't seem to be on the list and the woman was trying to help them figure out where they should go to find their polling place.

After about 10 minutes she finally asked them if they were registered and it turned out they were not, so she then had to explain about registering and that it was too late to do it for this election but if they registered they could vote in the next election.

Maybe next time I won't be quite so generous to line jumpers!

I filled out my ballot quickly.  If I wasn't sure about a candidate, I just made sure I was voting for the Democrat. 
I wasn't always like that... heck, I even voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger when he ran for re-election.  But I'm so angry with the Republican party now I would drown the whole lot of them.
Today it's Scott Pruitt, the erstwhile head of the EPA who has been in trouble for many ridiculous expenditures and travel bills (but praised by our glorious leader).  Today, though, we learn, courtesy of the New York Times that he has had his staff, on the tax payers' dollar, setting up a meeting with the CEO of Chick-a-Fillet so that he can see about getting his wife a franchise (some 1,000 people a year apply and they only grant 10).  
This is so blatantly illegal and against all rules and regulations of the constitution, but who the heck cares about the constitution any more?  That document we were raised to believe as sacrosanct and the cornerstone of our democracy has become as meaningless as last week's shopping news.
The worst thing about this latest Pruitt outrage is that there has been NO OUTCRY from the Republicans about the abuses of his power.  Nobody cares.

But what is making me even more angry, to the point of tears sometimes, are those ~11,000 children being removed from their parents.  ELEVEN THOUAND.  Many under 12 and some as young as 2 or three. 
Can you imagine the terror of those kids, in a strange country, not speaking the language, not knowing where they are.  What is the government doing about it?  Trying to find an air force base where they can put them, perhaps on the other side of the country.  
Why are there no committees to oversee the conditions under which these children are being held?  Why was Senator Merkley (D-Oregon) denied admission to one of the facilities? For that matter, why  were the windows of that facility blacked out?  What is going ON in there?  Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was likewise denied admittance to a similar facility.  "When the elected representatives of the people can't observe how our government is operating, we're in an upside down world," he tweeted.

What do you feed 11,000 children, many of whom have to sleep on a floor with only those silver emergency thermal blankets.  Are there diapers for the youngest children?  How about toileting facilities?  Are any of those kids sick and needing medicine?

What is the process in place for eventually reuniting families with their children.  How cana that be done if the children are in Arizona and the families are in Texas, if there is a process at all.

NBC reports As of Sunday, nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent more than 72 hours there, the time limit for immigrants of any age to be held in the government's temporary facilities. Almost half of those 300 children are younger than 12, according to the document, meaning they are classified by the Department of Homeland Security as "tender age children."

The stations, run by the Border Patrol and meant only as the first stop for children detained at the border, often lack adequate bedding or separate sleeping rooms for children.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security denied comment.

Of course he/she did.

The agency's Administration for Children and Families has 11,200 unaccompanied children in its care and takes 45 days on average to place a child with a sponsor, according to a spokesperson.


This has never been done in our country's history and Trump could reverse it in a second, but other than saying it's a deplorable situation and it's the Democrats' fault, he does nothing.  Apparently he will hold the children hostage until congress gives him his damn wall.

I did my civic duty, but it seems so meaningless in the face of the monstrous obstacle that is Washington at the moment.

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