By Arlene Jones
Time is a wondrous thing. It is because it is. It exists with no beginning and will continue with no end. It comes and goes without people paying attention to it. As I watched the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump last Friday, Jan. 20, it seemed like only yesterday that I was watching former President Barack Obama's initial inauguration in 2009. Somehow that eight-year period of time has come and gone so quickly.
I can't predict what a Trump Administration will bring. But the cries of racism have been heard floating throughout social media to the point that it is lessening and weakening the power of the accusation. No matter what Trump says or does, there is always someone posting that it's racist. So I have a question. If one labels Trump a racist, what in turn is the label for us? Are we victims of it? Are we recipients of it? Or, as a Facebook friend said as she created her own word, are we "the racipients"?
Will time over the next four years under the leadership of President Trump go as quickly as time went the prior eight years under former President Obama? I don't know. But if Trump doesn't do anything else, I'd like to suggest he establish a federal law mandating civics be taught as part of every high school/GED curriculum.
Why civics? Because for every lament Trump has made or has been made about him, legitimate or not, so many people who have responded don't have a clue as to how our Republic works. First and foremost, that is what we are. Remember those words from the Pledge of Allegiance, "… and to the Republic for which it stands"? We are not a democracy. A Republic protects the rights of the minority from the majority. In a democracy, the majority rules even at the expense of the minority.
Civics would teach us that difference. It would also highlight the brilliance of the Electoral College, which makes sure small states are as important as highly populated ones — which is why we are a Republic — why the Supreme Court has lifetime appointments (despite some folks screaming for "term limits"); why we have checks and balances of the three powers of our government. Without civics, ignorance has won — big time.
A civics class would also teach the politics of government. Many people refuse to believe that Obama would use it to play politics with people's lives and livelihood. On Jan. 9, the Obama Administration, on its way out the door, announced that it would lower the amount charged for FHA insurance premiums. That cut might allow a buyer, for example, to save $50 a month on their mortgage while at the same time allow more purchasing power. Sounds good, right?
Then on Jan. 20, shortly after he took office, Trump cancelled the cut. Racist and mean-spirited — right? But if one read a number of articles about it, the cut might have put the surplus pool of money needed to ensure fiscal responsibility in jeopardy. So who is right and who is wrong? Until the new Secretary of HUD can review all the pros and cons, it's a hard call. But one has to ask why the Obama Administration would do it as they were leaving, unless it was to call attention to the incoming president having to cancel the order. Pure political chicanery.
The same can be said of Obama's decision to end the "wet foot/dry foot" policy regarding Cuban immigrants. No other foreign national could show up at our door and be welcomed blindly, given a green card, welfare and all sorts of benefits. That policy was becoming the retirement plan for older Cubans who immediately qualified for Social Security benefits, food stamps and Medicare. If Trumps puts the plan back in place, imagine the uproar from all the other immigrant communities. Obama's decision was 100% politics.
Lastly, I was very disappointed that Obama didn't pardon former governor Rod Blagojevich. If attempting to sell a senate seat is worthy of 14 years in prison, I know a mayor who sold a lot of city property that the feds should investigate.
Let us mark the time of our newest president by not ignoring time but paying attention to what he is doing at all times.
Answer Book 2018
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