The fright before Christmas
EDITORIAL | 12/22/2016, midnight
While it could be fun to play around with Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” particularly repurposing his opening lines to read “that a creature was stirring in the White House and even a louse,” our situation is much too perilous and endangered, and it calls for a serious regard for the arrival of Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
Yes, he can be compared to a kind of Scrooge or even the Grinch who stole Christmas, but he and his nominated cohorts loom as a far more menacing prospect for our near and distant futures. A cursory summary of the folks he has tapped to head important agencies and institutions reads like nothing but debilitation, if not outright eradication.
The problem we have with his choices, who require Senate confirmation, is where to start. But let’s begin with those most germane to our civil and human rights as well as immigration. Jeff Sessions as attorney general is not a gift we want. He is a frightening prospect, and it was disturbing to learn that he only had reservations about the Ku Klux Klan when he discovered they smoked marijuana.
Betsy DeVos as secretary of education is like sending the fox to guard the hen house. AFT President Randi Weingarten has informed us of the possible risks we face with her education policies, which are infused with privatization and focused on defunding and destroying public education in the country.
We haven’t the space or gumption to itemize each one of the nefarious nominees, but we are alarmed that Trump’s choice to head the EPA has proposed to eliminate the agency and has a position on climate change that is a threat to the entire planet; that Trump’s selection to be secretary of state has little or no diplomatic experience; that the man who would oversee housing is not qualified for this vitally important task.
Add to this misery index the appointments of Reince Priebus as chief of staff and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist, who do not have to be confirmed, and the toxic mix of disaster is complete. Complete, too, is the important task facing Americans with such a harbinger of setbacks and retrenchment on the horizon when Trump descends on the nation’s capital. That task is to meet his arrival with all the resistance we can muster. We are pleased to learn that massive demonstrations are planned before, during and after his inauguration Jan. 20.
One demonstration of women Jan. 21 appears to be of gigantic proportion if what we’ve heard is correct about the organizations scheduled to be involved. This will be a passionate and concerted response to a man whose misogynist outrages fueled his campaign but did not dissuade a number of women voters.
And the contingent of women, we have been told, will include ample number of African-American marchers, and we hope this is just the beginning of demonstrations that should occur in every niche, every village and hamlet in the country.
In this season of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, the greatest gift we can extend to our families and loved ones is one of vigilance and struggle. As we wish joy to the world and peace on earth, we should be ever mindful of how each of these cherished ends cannot be taken for granted as we witness a changing of the guard.