We’re just three days from celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We’re just a day removed from having to explain to our children what a shithole country is and why the person currently holding the highest office in the land would be referring to Haiti and countries in Africa – sovereign nations, trading partners, fellow UN members – as shitholes. A day removed from the leader of the free world parroting white nationalist talking points that included a directive to get rid of Haitian immigrants – “Take them out,” he is reported to have instructed lawmakers while wondering aloud why there couldn’t be more immigrants from Norway. See if you can guess what one primary difference is between the citizens of that country and refugees from countries with Temporary Protected Status like Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras – all three of which have either had their TPS rescinded or are in danger of losing it, resulting in literally hundreds of thousands of families being uprooted from the United States to return to futures in their homelands that are uncertain at best.
It bears mentioning that this shocking – and yes, 357 days after President Trump first took office, it now takes a fair amount more to move the outrage needle – display of racism took place during a bipartisan meeting with US senators to find a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama initiative to provide quasi-legal status and work permits for undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. As many have already speculated and a federal judge confirmed this week when he reversed the Trump administration’s order to end DACA, the president’s motivation for trying to evict those who fled the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake that occurred eight years ago today, as well as Dreamers who have made a life in the only country they have ever called home bears a disturbingly racially motivated animus not unlike that first displayed by Trump decades ago in his illegal efforts to keep African Americans from renting units in New York City properties owned by him and his father.
There is no small amount of irony present in Dreamers deferred within hours of the president’s acknowledgment of the holiday honoring Dr. King, perhaps the most celebrated dreamer in American history.
In honor of Dr. King, he gets the last word, courtesy of his sadly prescient speech titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” delivered April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his life was taken by an assassin’s bullet.
“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”
Rick Saccone: The conservative state senator, who is running to replace disgraced former US Rep. Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District special election in March, will get some high-level support next week when President Trump visits the district to stump for Saccone, who is facing a more difficult challenge than expected from Democratic candidate Conor Lamb.
Rebecca Rhynhart: In addition to sending fellow newbie Larry Krasner a congratulatory note on taking office as Philly’s new DA, the city’s new controller should also send him a thank-you basket. His glaring gaffe on removing 31 DAO employees – and the resultant blowback – meant that Rhynhart could let go of 10 staffers herself with almost no negative coverage, thanks to a basic understanding of the importance of transparency.
Penn National Gaming: Proving that irony is far from dead as long as shamelessness is still a thing, the gambling concern won the state’s first mini-casino license with a $50.1 million bid – a day after filing suit against the state for establishing the right to build mini-casinos in the first place.
Larry Krasner: Call it a learning experience. The new DA, who campaigned in part on the need for transparency in the DAO, engineered a purge of staffers – which, as he rightly pointed out, is his prerogative – without offering any public explanation of who was let go, why they were terminated, who would replace them, or how remaining employees would pick up the slack so that there would be no justice delayed.
Gerrymandering opponents: Or as we like to call them, voters who would like their votes to count. A federal court ruled against arguments to overturn the Commonwealth’s tortured congressional map, just 11 days after a Commonwealth Court judge recommended that the state Supreme Court also uphold the current map.
Dauphin County Republicans: Anyone hoping to learn more about the Republican candidates for US Rep. Lou Barletta’s 11th Congressional District seat was out of luck when a scheduled debate was canceled. The reason: safety concerns surrounding the appearance of Sean Donahue, a white nationalist who, although he hasn’t filed the paperwork to do so, claims he will be running and thus wanted a seat at the debate – a move that caused another candidate, Andrew Lewis, to state he would pull out of the debate if Donahue participated.