Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

Because yesterday, Tuesday, March 19, was the Equinox, that happily makes this morning the first day of Spring and a long-established ritual assigned to this time of year is Spring Cleaning. In keeping with this What-Stays-What-Goes protocol, I have scrapped all my scraps. There must have been a dozen of them, oddly shaped pieces of paper on which I had written terse notes on what I was sure were great ideas for this column. It seems that with only a couple exceptions that I was mostly wrong.

After tossing those notes, which either due to illegibility or were lacking enough information to know exactly what the heck the subject was, I jotted down a couple themes and for the past couple hours have done some research. If interested, read on.

Fear mongering on the Southern Border

Sometime today the Fifth Court of Appeals will decide upon Texas Senate Bill #4, a legislation attempting to allow a state to make laws regarding immigration. The bill allows Texas law enforcement to arrest anyone suspected of being in the United States without proper authorization and allows for deportation to Mexico. The case is akin to a pickle ball game in that along with the New Orleans-based Fifth Court the Biden Administration in Washington, D.C., and the Supreme Court; also based in Washington, D.C. The over-the-net volleys included enactment, halting, re-enactment and back to halting the bill.

If allowed to be enacted by today’s choice, then I align myself those voices that say this bill is the reaction of fear, and fear is what the so-called Right rely upon for support from millions who relish such propaganda. The foremost claim designed to instill fear is that thousands of criminals and drugs and guns are crossing the border without any balance of who in fact make up most asylum seekers now camped out on our southern border.

A look at one besieged American city reveals a different narrative. Denver, Colo., has dealt with over 30,000 undocumented asylum seekers since last December and has increased the population by 5% with little help coming from the federal government. All these people were bused to the city from Texas, and while the mayor of Denver sympathizes with Texas’ dilemma, he also is outspoken about who these people are and what keeps them in their limbo situation.

Here is Mayor Mike Johnson in an interview: “These are folks that have walked 3,000 miles to get here. They’re police officers and engineers and teachers. All they really need is a place to rest their head and an opportunity for a job, and they are hungry to support themselves.” So much for terrorists and fentanyl smugglers. And why is their plight so difficult? Again, Mayor Johnson: “And that is why it was such a heartbreak to see a candidate for president in Donald Trump coming in and saying, I want this bill dead, not because it won’t solve the problem but because I know it actually will solve the problem. And if it alleviates American’s suffering and alleviates a humanitarian crisis, might hurt my chances at reelection. I just never thought we would have seen that moment, but that’s what happened.”

That fact that the Republican Party would kill a bipartisan bill at the direction of someone not even in an elected office shows just how much control one man has over a once great political party. Sad but true.

But if you are one who is susceptible to the rhetoric of fear espoused by a disgraced former president over the plight of thousands who only seek what most of our ancestors sought, freedom of fear, freedom of want, and liberty, then you are certainly free to buy into the fear. But if you do so you will find yourself on the wrong side of history; not a good place to be.

And the grift goes on, and the grift goes on

(Apologies to Sonny and Cher for paraphrasing their “And the Beat Goes On” song but found the intro too appealing to pass up.) How many remember back to the 2016 election when a reality TV personality was running for president? In many campaign speeches we heard over and over again just how rich this man was; all such proclamations made by the candidate himself, of course. We heard boasts of being a billionaire, of being far richer than anyone really knew, and stated that he would not even accept the government salary for the office. But what was the reality of his four years in office and what is his financial situation today?

In four years in office the Trump brand brought in over $80 million from foreign countries through a grift. Setting up conference rooms in the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Trump Tower in New York, which must be vetted and made secure by the Secret Service, he required emissaries and their entourages stay in these hotels at inflated prices. And over a four-year period, this adds up way beyond a four-year stint as president; not a bad haul. No American president has ever used the office in such a blatant manner to put more money in his pocket.

But where is all that money, all those touted billions of dollars, of 2016? Apparently, it is gone as now this shameless huckster is scrambling to pay fines imposed by courts for his multiple crimes. So, he has turned to various ways to sucker his remaining supporters, who are dwindling in numbers, including ugly sneakers shoes, and taking control of the Republican National Committee’s finances, also dwindling in numbers, and by begging for $5 donations by mail.

Now, if you feel that you need to help pay the bills of a convicted criminal who lives in luxury, then by all means do so; but keep in mind the words of Benjamin Franklin when he stated what person soon has his money parted from him.

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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