Thursday, September 7, 2017

Common Ground

Last year at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle I sat through one of the most riveting Student Presentations on the issues surrounding Immigration and the need for reform. This young woman was amazing and I was privileged to hear her story that was both personal and professional in nature. She is of Latina descent and was born here. Her parents came here and in turn became "legal" residents thanks to the efforts of their Church. She speaks no Spanish, the reason being that her Parents felt it would hinder her success and limit her opportunities. So to do this project she had a friend from school be her translator when they descended into the Court System and interviewed people on the street in front of Nordstrom in Downtown Seattle about what they knew about Immigration. Their efforts were hindered when Nordstrom asked her to leave the location on a public street in front of their store and in turn she was asked to leave the "secret" Courts that she went to to witness first hand (not Trump style first hand) the process of how deportation decisions are made. She worked directly with a local organization to meet those working on behalf of those in the process of deportation, learned the laws and in turn met more than just those whose primary first language was not just Spanish.

I learned a great deal that day and realized the complicated and yet secretive nature of these Courts and the role of the Obama Administration in allowing these to continue. Then came DACA and in turn that was an issue she had addressed as there was concern that once that information of where you live and with whom being turned into the Government could be data that could also be used against families was discussed. And in turn their fears were right.

I am glad that Obama took time out of his million dollar speaker schedule, he has two kids, one in Harvard and a massive new home in Washington in which to maintain, but he I believe has a right and if not an obligation to make his views known. It is clear that even the Turkey's he pardoned over the past 8 years are looking over the necks to see if the axe is near as that is all what Trump wanted to do, to whitewash, literally, any and every act, decision or law enacted during Obama's Presidency. And it had nothing to do with party it was about race and that is clear. So now its time to address that issue full on, from the Charlottesville debacle to this latest ham fisted attempt to destroy his legacy.

I had many issues with the Obama Presidency but I had utmost respect for him and well I had a massive girl crush on Michelle and that to me always spoke volumes about his character as it takes a strong confident man to be with one equally strong confident woman. Funny I never felt that way about Hillary Clinton or Bill they always seemed like great business partners who rather than keep it business they made it personal and that is when things get messy. But I still believe she would have been a better President than the current occupant.

I am in a classroom today with largely a Hispanic population and they are the future. I see in their families, their traditions, their sheer joy of life, the businesses that align the streets of Nolensville Pike are true gems that remind me that while I have many issues here with the children of another race they are the least of my worries. I suspect that is why there is that challenge between them and feelings of suspicion and resentment here run across color lines as unity is not in the word diversity. But even I struggle with what the real problem is and that is poverty that is unlike any I have ever seen before. This is one poor place in every sense of the word.

So as more hurricanes bear down and crosses islands with peoples who are of many colors and many nationalities - let us remember the Dutch, English and French are also colonizers of the region - we have a common ground - HUMANITY.

Finally, Barack Obama is speaking up about Trump's excesses

Daniel José Camacho
The Guardian UK
Wednesday 6 September 2017

By denouncing the White House’s decision to rescind protections for Daca recipients, Obama has reminded the world of what a real leader looks like

Barack Obama finally came for Donald Trump’s White House. In a statement released on Facebook, Obama called Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program, which protects 800,000 young migrants from deportation, “cruel” and contrary to “basic decency”. This is the kind of political leadership that our country is sorely lacking right now.

Since vacating the office, Obama has struggled to develop a public voice. His absence from civic life made the news that he would be paid $400,000 for Wall Street speeches all the more frustrating for many supporters. That’s why Obama’s words on Tuesday were a breath of fresh air and perhaps a sign that he is hitting his stride again. Given everything going on in the world, we need him to be heard.

Although he did not name Trump, Obama said the “action that the White House took” wasn’t “required legally”. Rather, he said it was “self-defeating” and “contrary to our spirit, and to common sense”. This careful yet forceful statement is the highlight of his post-presidency.

Obama’s condemnation of the White House’s action may indicate a tipping point in what has largely been a one-sided hostility between Trump and Obama. Stretching back to his peddling of “birther” lies about Obama, Trump has made a political career out of vilifying and opposing the first African American president.

Trump’s presidency has been premised on the desire to undo everything that Obama accomplished, from the Affordable Care Act, to normalizing relations with Cuba, to the Iran nuclear deal, all the way to Daca. The formula has been: repeal out of spite with little to no thought on how to replace.

Obama has shown incredible restraint, with perhaps the biggest counter-attack being his comedic roast of Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011.

Obama left a respectful inauguration day letter for Trump that notably included the following advice: “It’s up to us to do everything we can to build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.” Given Trump’s decision on Daca, it is clear the new president is willfully ignoring those words.

Still, despite Obama’s move to condemn Trump’s actions, it’s important to acknowledge that Obama has had his own serious shortcomings on immigration.

Nearly 3 million immigrants were deported under Obama – more than under any other American president. Despite his claim that primarily criminals were targeted for deportation, public records show that non-criminals accounted for 45% of deportations carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2012.

Some experts estimate that if all deportations – including those at the border and those carried out by other agencies – are factored in, about 56% of immigrants who were removed from the country between 2009 and 2015 were non-criminals.

Obama’s creation of the child migrants program was certainly a positive step. It provided temporary protections and work eligibility to 800,000 undocumented youths. Nonetheless, his aggressiveness in deporting other immigrants – which earned him the moniker the “deporter-in-chief” – complicates his immigration legacy.

Still, by speaking out, we saw a glimmer of Obama at his best. His camp says he is working behind the scenes to help the Dreamer community in this difficult time. Those close to Obama say he is being cautious because he is aware that any misstep might become ammunition for a backlash against him – a backlash which would ultimately harm undocumented people even more.

I have been very critical of Obama’s leadership at times. I’ve found that his rhetoric has often outstripped his record. Nevertheless, I think it’s important that Obama is speaking up now. This country needs all of the good leadership that it can get.

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