By Robert A. Vella
Well, 2018 has been quite a year, hasn’t it? From deadly mass shootings, an onslaught of climate disasters, violent protests, political upheaval, international muck-ups of every kind, war, desperate migrations, institutional corruption on a massive scale, public scandals, high-profile criminal investigations, to an impetuously deranged American president who has reinvigorated the art of comedic satire all by himself, it’s a wonder that we’re still here laughing about it all. We are laughing, right?
If Spock of Vulcan arrived on Earth today, what would be his reaction?
“They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous — in every way splendid examples of homo sapiens, the very flower of humanity. I found them quite refreshing.”
And, speaking of that satire-inducing president, America’s generals – among countless others – are continuing their sharp criticism of a man who couldn’t be trusted to manage an outhouse let alone the White House.
Retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal did not mince words about President Donald Trump in a wide-ranging interview with ABC’s “This Week,” saying the president is dishonest and immoral and adding that he could not work for Trump.
“I don’t think he tells the truth,” McChrystal told ABC’s Martha Raddatz who questioned the general on whether he feels Trump is a liar.
When asked if Trump is immoral, McChrystal said: “I think he is.”
“What I would ask every American to do is … stand in front of that mirror and say, ‘What are we about? Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are — are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like?'” McChrystal said about Trump supporters.
He added: “If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn’t do a business deal with because their — their background is so shady, if we’re willing to do that, then that’s in conflict with who I think we are. And so I think it’s necessary at those times to take a stand.”
A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Trump’s potentially damaging whims.
And in a recent interview, Trump’s departing chief of staff basically confirms it.
The Los Angeles Times interview with John F. Kelly published Sunday says:
In the phone interview Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side.
And it doesn’t get much better from there.
Outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly has frequently told aides that President Trump is not up for the task of being president, according to The New York Times.
The newspaper, citing two former administration officials, also reported that Kelly was known to tell aides that he had the “worst job in the world.”
As we face a new year which could make 2018 look like a leisurely walk in the park, I’d like to remind readers about the underlying social unrest which was key to Trump’s electoral victory – lest we forget.
GM stunned its workforce on 26 November, the Monday after Thanksgiving, by announcing it would cut roughly 14,000 jobs and idle five factories in North America, including the Lordstown plant, which employs 1,600 workers. One factor stoking the workers’ ire is that GM’s move came after American taxpayers rescued it from bankruptcy with a $49.5bn federal bailout in 2009.
While some have blamed Trump policies for the closure, or at least for his inability to stop them, it’s the company that workers hold most responsible.
“Their announcement was really a kick in the stomach,” said Danny Adams, who has worked at the plant since 1996. “It’s not woe is me. It’s woe is us.”
Like many GM workers here, Adams, 53, is worried and bitter, not knowing where he might find a new job and wondering whether he’s too old to train for a new career. Adams could perhaps transfer to another GM plant, but he fears that such a move would be hugely trying for his 15-year-old son.
“This is devastating. This is our livelihood,” said Stephanie Allein, 40, who began working for GM in 2000 and was transferred to Lordstown in 2010.
In a speech in nearby Youngstown in July 2017, Trump promised to bring back auto jobs. “They’re all coming back,” he said. “Don’t move, don’t sell your house.” Trump has criticized GM about layoffs, but the Lordstown workers say he hasn’t done enough.
“If you’re going to make promises, you got to keep your promises,” Adams said. “I’m sorry. We’re blue-collar. You shake my hand. It’s a promise.”
Here’s to hoping that 2019 will be better. Happy Holidays, everyone.