Good Times in Bad Times

Today’s commentary is being written on Tuesday, Sept. 5 because the writer will be headed for Door County Wednesday morning. So, if President Trump or one of his minions does something historically stupid on Sept. 6 (always a good chance) it’s not my fault if it isn’t mentioned. This was written yesterday.

Monday was Labor Day, and I hope all of you out there in America’s workforce enjoyed your extended weekend. Personally, being a longtime retired person, the weeks in my life with three-day holiday weekends attached are pretty much like all the other weeks – laid back. In fact, I’m afraid if it weren’t for writing this newsletter every Wednesday, I’d really lose track of time.

Until about an hour ago I had planned at this early point in today’s commentary to quickly segue into a brief discussion of how time flies. (This is especially on my mind because of the event I’ll be celebrating up in Door County.) I planned to make the point that with time flying past us, we should all try to catch special opportunities when they come along – the upcoming NTDO picnic being one of those unique opportunities. Pretty smooth, eh?

Then I saw the news that President Trump had decided to discontinue the government’s Dream Act initiative (DACA). In the coming days there will no doubt be many words written about this sad and foolish action. But I felt I should at least mention this most recent example of the triumph of fear, ignorance and political games over logic, human decency and the best interests of our nation.

Recently President Trump hinted that although as candidate Trump he campaigned to end DACA, he now has reservations about following through on his promise. His heart was telling him that good intentioned, law abiding, productive young members of our society would be terribly hurt through no fault of their own. Evidently the hearts of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Attorneys General of 10 or our states, led by Texas’ A.G Ken Paxton, had no such qualms. And in the end, neither did the heart of “The Donald.”

Their cry is “the rule of law comes first.” Yeah, right. Back in the good old Jim Crow Days, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions sure did believe strongly in his Alabama laws — as long as “the law” kept black Alabamans in their place. These hypocrites don’t even have the support of many members of their own Republican Party on this issue. One hopes that this opens the possibility for some sort of bipartisan legislation that does the right thing, or at least something close to that. — It could happen.

I saw in the news that a young DACA Dreamer, Alonzo Guillen, who had been given hope for his future under DACA died trying to get his boat into a flooded Houston neighborhood to help its residents. I wonder if Jeff Sessions or Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ever risked his life to help a person in dire need? What would be your guess?

Based on the rhetoric thrown abound during Trump’s campaign we all expected that the election of Donald Trump would generate some disgusting policies. Trump’s latest certainly qualifies. History is not going to judge this man or his administration or his unbending congressional supporters kindly.

But let me get back to where I started with these comments. In today’s hyper- political climate, there are events happening each day with the power to depress or anger us. Today’s DACA news was just one more example. And as this seemingly endless string of disturbing days flies past us, it’s easy to miss any of the good stuff that’s happening.

So, when you get a chance to lift your spirits by conversing with a crowd of smart, caring fellow Americans like yourself, gathered in a beautiful lakeside setting, you should grab that opportunity. You are invited to join in, this Sunday at 2 pm at the beach shelter in Wilmette’s Gillson Park. And if you’re a New Trier Dem member, the positive stuff starts one hour earlier at 1pm with the NTDO Annual Meeting in Gillson Park’s Lakeview Center.

The NTDO picnic is a once a year event. There are always plenty of one-on-one conversations with our legislators and aspiring candidates. The food, hot off the grill, and beautiful Lake Michigan just steps away, make the afternoon even nicer.

So that’s my end of summer advice to you. This weekend, take the time to include the New Trier Dems picnic in your plans. You’ll feel so much better after you’ve participated. And next Monday’s headlines from the White House may be just a little easier to take. Really, life’s too short.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973 

P.S. I mentioned above that my thoughts about the flight of time were connected to my getaway to Door County. My wife Linda and I are headed there to join family members and friends in celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary. So, trust me. When I talk about how fast time flies, I speak from experience.