Letter to the Editor - Trickling on the deserving

Dear Editor,

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that religious organizations failing to denounce the racism that led to violence in Charlottesville had little time left to demonstrate their piety. The Houston flooding has given churches another chance to show their inner goodness, and some are certainly rising to the challenge.  But at least one mega-church failed the test by refusing to open its doors to flood refugees until public rebuke overcame their intransigence. 

Prosperity Pastor Osteen is now trying to blame his tardy response as caused by something other than his belief that people get what they deserve - if they are poor, they should work harder; if they are sick, they should pray more; if they are standing waste deep in flood waters, they should remember that God didn’t put them there, but if they are worthy, God will send them a rescue car, or something like that. 

Which of course brings up Donald Trump’s visit to Houston, which should have given him a political bounce,  but somehow failed to do that. Sure, he made the effort to show empathy, sincerity and authenticity, and maybe that’s all we should expect of someone who says what’s on his mind directly. It is the effort, not what came across, Trump supporters insist. And Trump sporting a new cap available in Trump reelection campaign stores for a mere $40 was not intended to solicit business for that enterprise, but if you want one it’s available in red, white (45’s choice) or camouflage. The “Make America Great Again” hat is still a deal at $25 but was not deemed to be suitable for wearing while he made the rounds in Houston.

What seemed to be most on Trump’s mind after his brief visit to the dry outskirts beyond Houston was returning to public stumping to support a tax overhaul, one that will greatly enrich people like Mr. Trump, his family, his cabinet, his friends, Pastor Osteen, and other fantastically wealthy people who think they need a bit more money to trickle down on the deserving poor and to add gold embellishments to their estates. 

Of course, to get this fantastic tax overhaul our Republican Oligarchy has mandated that the rest of us need to buckle down and give up some things, like affordable health care, good housing, food stamps, higher education, women’s reproductive health care, a clean environment and much more. Cuts in disaster relief will be necessary to finance this huge bonanza to people like Donald Trump and Pastor Osteen because, well, because they are better than the rest of us. 

None of those cuts, however, are likely to help the folks down in Houston over the next several years as they try to put their lives back together, which may explain why the Republican Party as a whole is not gaining much popularity from the Houston flooding. And if Trump does indeed shut down the government if they fail to finance the boondoggle Wall Across the Border, it’s hard to see how that will help Houstonians. 

Trump also used the prospect of an imminent hurricane to time the announcement that he was pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio of all sins. Never mind Arpaio’s original offenses (which included repeated racial profiling, detaining American citizens for days because they failed to carry identity cards; torturing inmates by subjecting them to high temperatures and other physical abuse, verbal abuse, public humiliation and denial of life-saving medical care which may have induced miscarriages in a few female inmates; using public funds for his legal fees). 

What Trump pardoned the Sheriff for was Arpaio’s refusal to follow court orders. Trump of course explained it this way: the Sheriff was “just doing his job” (wink, wink). 

So, if the President says you can break the law you can do it (wink, wink). 

For all we know, the President can pardon his family, even himself, of any crime committed anywhere, anytime, anyplace; there are no limits to presidential power in this new surreal Trumpian worldview. 

So now we have a new moral principal being promulgated by the Trump Fundamentalists: There is no law higher than Donald Trump’s. As long as the top one percent survive, and survive in style, that is what really counts. And if the rest of us get trickled on that’s exactly what we deserve. 

 

Sue Hagan

Annapolis