And so, steadily and surely the civil and human rights fought for under the Obama administration continue to erode under the fledgling Trump regime. Transgender bathroom rights may not seem like a huge issue, affecting as it does, a relatively small percentage of the population. But it speaks volumes about the “compassion level” (or, rather “lack of compassion level”) of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others who are now in power; to say nothing of their ignorance concerning matters of sexuality and gender identification.
In some ways, even more tragic is the Donald’s decision to overturn Barack Obama’s order concerning the necessity of further investigation of the harmful effects of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is now full speed ahead on this ill-considered project, signalling that the use of fossil fuels will “trump” every concern about clean water and the environment. Trump promises “thousands” of jobs for this project — the vast majority of which are extremely short-term. It will take literally a handful of people to run it once it is in place.
And it says clearly that this Administration’s concern for “religious liberty” will extend only to adherents of the Judaeo-Christian traditions upon which this nation is believed (falsely) to have been founded. The fact that this pipeline will invade the sacred Earth in which the bodies of generations of Native Americans rest is of little interest to the insensitive man we have elected to the presidency.
I am proud of the hundreds of Iowans who turned out recently at town hall meetings of our two senators, Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst (what embarrassments!). Predictably the Administration has sought to depict these contentious and angry gatherings as attended mainly by paid, “outside agitators.” Fortunately, those of us who live in Iowa recognize the farmers, teachers, union members, and young people who were in the room and who do indeed actually live here and are increasingly concerned and even frightened about the direction Donald Trump and his minions on Congress seem to be taking us.
Our task must be continually to hold our elected officials accountable for their decision and to be willing to stand in solidarity and to assist those who will be increasingly affected by these actions. Now that we know that the Trump “jobs program” has been initiated by the hiring of 10,000 new ICE agents as his promised “deportation force” we will need to be especially sensitive to the undocumented immigrants in our communities and, whether we use the term “sanctuary city” or not, to be prepared to shelter the sojourners in our land as the real Judaeo-Christian tradition to which many of us belong actually demands.
Susanne and I spoke last night about the possibility of our guest room being added to the list of such places of refuge in the developing New Underground Railroad.
Who would have thought it would come to this?
Well, some of us were pretty certain that it would.