“It’s Always Something”

Today, it took me quite a while to figure out what to write. There’s so much to choose.

The media is filled with articles about the Trump Administration’s struggle to at least appear to be leading our nation. And while that goes on, President Trump continues to surprise us with his apparent ignorance in important areas of knowledge, such as American history. (Maybe Reince Priebus should give his boss one of those timeline charts so he can visualize when people such as Andrew Jackson or Frederick Douglas lived or when the Civil War occurred. – Some data on how many slaves were shipped into America over the Middle Passage might also enlighten Mr. Trump on the scale of that human trafficking.)

Another subject that has been filling a lot of media space is Trump’s failures to further his promised agenda in his first 100 days. This has led voices from the right to begin spinning reality, pushing back to reassure Trump’s voter base that everything is going swimmingly. Sometimes their language is really over the top.

In a recent Tribune article, Taylor Budowich, Executive director of Tea Party Express stated that “Liberals and Democrats have retreated to the two coasts, while heartland America has seen historic growth among conservatives.” Funny, I hadn’t noticed this mass migration. Budowich also praised Trump’s flattened tax rate proposal and his desire for the “repeal of more than a trillion dollars of Affordable Care Act taxes to boot.” I wish he’d been more specific about what that huge number represents (if it’s real). Some of his Tea Party followers might not like what it defunds.

In another Tribune op-ed, Marc A. Thiessen, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) provided readers with his personal analysis of what is in the minds of all of us Democrats. “…Democrats have made clear their deep-seated contempt for the values of working class, socially conservative Democrats…” Gee, thanks Mr. Thiessen. Coming from a working class family, I didn’t realize I, and all the millions of other Democrats in America, felt that way.

The AEI’s Thiessen also commented on DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s statement that “… Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health.”… To which Thiessen said, “Hear that, Middle America? Get with the baby-killing Program.” He then told Trump supporters that Democrats “… loathe your president and all of you who put him in office.” If the Tribune or Sun Times gave op-ed space to a liberal writer who characterized Trump voters with that same level of exaggeration and mischaracterization, they would be condemned as unhinged extremists.

The fact that those last quotes came from a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute leads me to believe they were made solely to fire up the Trump base and not to present any factual information. It’s impossible to think that anyone educated enough to become an AEI fellow could seriously spew out so many generalizations as fact. (Interestingly, the AEI’s pronouncements have been a guiding light for an enthusiastic conservative group right here in New Trier. I wonder if those North Shore neighbors view us Democrats as part of a baby-killing program?)

But national issues aren’t the only subjects I could explore. Our state’s financial state continues its plunge toward bankruptcy. And each day, more Illinois residents are severely harmed by the disappearance of funding for things such as health care, protective services for the most vulnerable, and shelter for homeless veterans or runaway children.  Governor Rauner’s apparent obsession with becoming a national Republican hero has played a big role in this disastrous standoff that, for some, has now become a matter of life and death.

But then, I could also comment on the Democratic Party’s role in this mess. Undeniably, back in Junuary 2014, during the state legislature’s “lame duck session,” departing Governor Pat Quinn and House Leader Mike Madigan could have renewed the “temporary” income tax increase that had at least slowed down the state’s financial crisis. Our party leaders chose to let the temp increase die, and dumped any new tax decision on the new Governor’s lap.

If that 5% tax had been extended, it is likely that Bruce Rauner would now be campaigning for reelection with a pledge to get rid of such an onerous tax burden. Ironically, Rauner would also probably be campaigning in a state facing a much smaller financial crisis than today’s nearly unfathomable reality. And, he’d likely be taking credit for any improvement in Illinois’ debt situation. – But, we’ll never know.

So, now that I’ve mulled over what I could be writing about – I guess I’m done writing. There’s plenty enough to cover again in the future. And I didn’t even get into the recent news items about Hillary Clinton’s explanations for her Election Day loss (or the advisability of her participation in next year’s campaigns). — Our Democratic party’s many gubernatorial candidates is also a fascinating subject that is sure to keep our attention for months to come.

To sum things up in the words of that great political observer Roseanne Rosannadana, “It’s always something.”

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973  


The New Trier Dems need an Office Manager.

Here is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in strengthening progressive politics in New Trier. It’s a salaried job that will put the person who gets it in the middle of the New Trier Dems’ operations. If you or someone you know meets the qualifications and time requirements listed below, contact the New Trier Dems by email.

Job: New Trier Dems Office Manager
Salary: $13.00 per hour
Time required: 9 hours a week (generally). Additional hours as needed during elections and major NTDO events.
Qualifications: Computer literate; Light bookkeeping skills; Comfortable dealing with the public, both face-to-face and on the phone.
Other preferred (but not essential) experience: An interest in political issues and current events; a belief in the importance of voter engagement; and past participation in grassroots political activities.