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Compromise is the essence of democracy for a good reason; it is the glue holding it together. It is how a country can unite after an election; it is when the 51 percent give a little, so the remainder can still feel part of governing; it is when the winning candidate promises to represent all constituents not just those voting for him or her; it is why the Senate requires 60 votes for cloture — a procedure weakened in recent years for nominations, and symptomatic of the antagonism between parties.

The winner-take-all stance only increases resentment as the other side waits for its chance at the helm to do likewise. Rome suffered the same in the last throes of its republic as parties represented less the demos and more the elite, whose money was relied upon to fight elections — the winners reaping the spoils of power and increasingly ignoring the needs of ordinary people. One can think of Trump’s tax cut for the rich while the country’s infrastructure rots. Of course Mr. Trump already thinks he is Caesar.

So here we are in the midst of a government shutdown, over a border wall characterized by Trump as so vital we are liable to be murdered or robbed any day by a criminal, illegal immigrant … and at the same time we see photos of mothers and children trying to cross over. The wall costs $5.7 billion and Mr. Trump refuses to compromise, while the Democratic majority in the House has voted a budget without any money for the wall. The public is divided on their spat. In the latest poll (Reuters/Ipsos) released Tuesday, 51 percent are blaming Trump for the shutdown (2 percent margin of error) while 32 percent blame the Democrats. However, a definite majority of Republicans support the president. There it stands. No compromise.

The White House is now apparently in preparation to declare a national emergency — not exactly what was intended in the National Emergencies Act of 1976 but Trumpian logic reigns supreme. Will the declaration be followed by a court challenge? We have to wait and see.

It might be worth asking why the immigrants keep coming from Mexico and Central America. Mexican small farmers were put out of business with NAFTA. Yes, Mexico got the factories just their side of the border so US corporations could reap the benefits of much lower wages while American workers lost well-paying manufacturing jobs. So stockholders won, but the US has suffered increasing income inequality. Also US agribusiness won as subsidized corn and wheat were sold to Mexico at prices too low for local small farmers to compete. Their choice was simple: starve or trek to the US for a job. As more came, borders tightened and as borders tightened families could not risk returning after visits, so they stayed.,

Central Americans are often fleeing persecution by newly or recently installed dictators intolerant of labor laws and unions, and coupled to the usual greedy elite. There are exceptions but not among the countries the migrants are leaving.

Europe, too, is inundated, this time as a a result of America’s wars or proxy wars.

Such is the plight of refugees. A little less greed on the part of our elite, and less paranoia in Israel would help. So would a little more humanity.

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.

One Comment

  1. Such a balanced n sensible analysis Dr. Khan while all we get from CNN here is anti-Trump … lol. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a Trump lover or even a Republican but whether I’m a Republican or a Democrat it doesn’t matter much now that both parties have chosen to dance to the tune of the ‘elites’ … yup

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