President Trump has just signed a budget that gives many millions of additional dollars to the military. At the same time, he is reloading his Cabinet with chicken hawks — people who were chicken when it was their turn to step up to the plate, but who are just itching for a fight now: Dick Cheney wannabees. Trump needs a war badly to take the national attention away from Bob Mueller and Stormy Daniels.
What the military needs, more than money, is qualified recruits. It's already struggling to keep its numbers up by accepting people with criminal records and known mental problems. In the meantime, Trump has thrown out several thousand qualified and trained troops for the unpardonable sin of being born transgender.
Iraq and Afghanistan aren't going to end anytime soon and if Trump and his underlings are going to go after Iran and North Korea they will almost certainly need to reinstate the draft. I was in the Army in the late 1960s. We were almost all draftees and, for the most part, poor rural whites and poor urban blacks. This time things will be different.
Back in the 1960s, the well-to-do sent their kids to college for deferments, pulled strings to get them in the National Guard or Reserves — those groups didn't go to war back then — or paid a doctor to come up with some sort of medical excuse, like bone spurs. This reincarnation of the military draft will be quite different. Everybody will be called, and I see no way around women being called as well. This is your children and your grandchildren we are talking about here.
We desperately need a Congress that will step up and do the checks-and-balances part of their job. Vote Democratic come November. We can't just sit back and wait for Mueller and Stormy to save us.
Birds of a feather flock together
I first heard the above expression as a teenager. Its meaning was clear: People tend to associate with people like themselves. Do these expressions explain why Rob Porter didn't hesitate to apply to the White House? Did he know enough about President Trump's background to feel confident that, despite his domestic violence issues, he would "fit in," and if they presented a problem with his obtaining his security clearance, President Trump could handle it?
Question: Would Porter have even considered applying for a position in the West Wing of either President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama?
Jesus and DREAMERS
This month marked the symbolic end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) temporary status for DREAMERS, young immigrants brought to the United States as children, who grew up in our communities, attended our local schools and have worked toward their futures. As an evangelical, I reflect on my faith and wonder what the response of Jesus would be to Dreamers today.
In the Bible, in the gospel of Mark, we see the heart of Jesus for the vulnerable through one of his teachings: "Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' "
Jesus had a special place in his ministry for those who others wanted to keep out. I'd like to think that if Jesus were around today, He'd say "Let the DREAMERS come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God."
Like DREAMERS, I am a child of an immigrant family but was blessed to be born on U.S. soil. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from India in hopes of a better life; they worked hard to establish roots and learn a whole new culture. I'm proud of my parents for their hard work and strong faith in navigating a culture so foreign to their own.
Even so, I often had to forge my own path when it came to succeeding in American school systems, applying for colleges and scholarships, and living between two cultures. [My parents] didn't grow up here, and didn't know the ins and outs of American society.
It was hard for our family but what I cannot imagine is living in the U.S. for 18-plus years of my life, working so hard to establish roots, only to be forced to return to India. I can't imagine returning to a "home" country that is not home: forcibly displaced and immersed in a foreign life not of my choosing, one filled with so many of the barriers my own parents worked so hard to overcome for their children.
Many of the DREAMERS live under the shadow of an uncertain future that I never had to endure. Will we turn them away as Jesus' disciples did to the vulnerable of His day? Or will the American Church follow Jesus' example, embracing the vulnerable and say, "Let the little children come to me?"
I believe Americans, many who call themselves Christians, need to lead the way and welcome DREAMERS. While there is likely no single piece of legislation that will solve all of the DREAMERS' problems, Congress should at least consider a long-term plan for their legal place in our country, not just for their sake — though that is enough — but for gifts they bring to our nation.