Posts Tagged ‘President Trump’

This week’s blog entry comes from the NYTimes “Your Friday Briefing” newlsetter

Today, the word impeachment is associated with the most powerful public officials, but the Latin word it evolved from, “impedicare” (meaning “to fetter, to fix shackles on the feet; to hinder”), evokes a prisoner.

Old French turned it into empechier, from which sprang the Middle English empechen, meaning to physically hinder something (“an impeached ship”) as well as to bring a formal accusation.

Senator William Blount in 1797 became the first American politician to face impeachment, for plotting with the British.

The first recorded use of impeachment in the English Parliament occurred in 1376 with the removal of Baron William Latimer. Having created other levers of accountability, Parliament held its last impeachment in 1806 and now considers the procedure obsolete.

But the term had already been written into the U.S. Constitution. Benjamin Franklin pushed for its inclusion because he feared that the alternative to the legal removal of a corrupt official would be assassination.

Congress first held an impeachment in 1797 with the trial of William Blount, which was, until now, its only impeachment inquiry concerning foreign policy.

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about a “whistle-blower” in the news. Ever wonder where the term comes from?

This week’s blog entry comes from the NYTimes “Your Friday Briefing” (9/27/19) a newsletter that I subscribe to:

The term “whistle-blower” owes its origin to a 19th-century English toolmaker named Joseph Hudson, the inventor of referee and police whistles.

The first whistle used in a soccer match was probably an early model made by Mr. Hudson in 1878, and he invented an even more piercing whistle for Scotland Yard in the early 1880s. Soon after, in both sports and on the streets, blowing a whistle became a signal that a situation needed urgent attention.

“Whistle-blowing” as a metaphor sporadically appeared in literature in the 20th century, including in works by P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler.

While whistle-blowers have existed in the U.S. from its founding, the term itself is relatively new to the political lexicon, appearing to enter the mainstream around 1970.

Soon, the consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader put a more positive spin on the term with the phrase “responsible whistle-blowing,” which eventually led to the passage of the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act — a piece of legislation that’s playing a role in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

When we hear or see the world “alien” the first thing that usually comes to mind is an outer space creature like ET. Next the concept of “strange” as in “this is an alien food recipe might pop into our minds.” It also used to refer to anyone not born in the USA.

Today that last use of the word has mostly been substituted with immigrant or refugee. But the use of the word to refer to someone who didn’t live in your village, who was a stranger i.e not from your tribe or clan, goes back to Biblical times.

Thousands of years ago, written in the Hebrew Bible’s book of Leviticus, (the book that contained Mosaic Law to be followed) the Israelites were commanded by God to “Treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself” (Leviticus 19:34). And we are all familiar with the teachings of Jesus using the parable of the Good Samaritan (which has taken on a non-sectarian definition and become part of our language’s popular vocabulary) to broaden the definition of “alien” to mean everyone is your “neighbor” and worthy of help in time of need regardless of beliefs or background.

How we have strayed from that! How sad that we now see anyone who differs from us as “others”. How sad that we feel we can change our laws to exclude these human beings from being recognized as “neighbors” not worthy of the same standards we have codified in our “Leviticus”, the Constitution! Perhaps what we need is a REAL alien to visit us and show us how to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” (Leviticus 19:18) ET would you please give a call to our Nation’s “home” the White House and ask our President to “come home” to his humanity?

What do Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have in common? They both have a social media presence. Specifically, they both use Twitter to reach out to their followers. However, the similarity ends there. You could not have two more divergent tweeting styles than these two individuals.

I’m not talking about specific content. We all know that the Pope would not tweet about the Russian investigation, and Trump would not tweet about matters of scripture. What is so diverse is the style, the approach, and the reasons each has for using this specific social media platform.

President Trump loves to get up in the middle of the night and dash off a tweet. In fact “dashing off” a tweet is his signature style regardless of whether it enhances or debases the message he’s planning to send. The Pontiff, on the other hand, has a staff who culls tweet worthy messages for him to use. However, they do not send it for him until he has reviewed it. Nonetheless, you would never find him sitting at his desk after dinner and spontaneously sending a tweet!

“Some people can be good on Twitter, and other people can realize that Twitter brings out the worse in them,” he [Bishop Paul Tighe] said. Quoted in American Magazine, January 8, 2018 – Following Francis: The Pope’s Social Media Ministry Takes Off

Wouldn’t it be nice if President Trump took this quote to heart. We’d have a lot less controversy running through the White House these days.

Although the Pope doesn’t tweet about politics specifically, he does comment on topics that impact humanity across the globe: a 2017 tweet dealt with “welcome migrants and foreigners”, and one in 2015 was about the earth looking like “an immense pile of filth.”

According to the social media analytics group, Twiplomacy, from 2013-2015 the Pope was the most influential global leader on Twitter. In 2016 he became number four, knocked out by, you guessed it, candidate Trump! The Pope and the President continue to battle it out for the title of most followed global leader on Twitter, though Trump has consistently taken the lead since last summer. Both men have over 40 million followers but they both still have a long way to go to catch up with pop stars Katy Perry’s 108 million followers and Justin Bieber’s 104 million followers!

 

In recent weeks, a big question has been banging around in my mind about the word “invasion”. President Trump has used that word to describe the caravan of Central American refugees who are marching towards the U.S. Regardless of what my or your opinion is on whether they should be let into our country, I just can’t accept them as an invasion force.

The dictionary defines invade (invasion is the act of) as: “to attack; to enter with hostile intentions; to encroach upon (to invade the rights or possessions of another).

Can one really say that a group of individuals, mainly consisting of women and children and men whose intentions is flight from countries that threaten their lives or just to attain a better living standard, are “invaders”? When we think of invaders don’t we usually think of Attilla the Hun, and Genghis Khan and their hordes? Don’t we see Hitler with his army and armaments taking over a European country?

In those 3 examples I gave, the common denominators are hostility, aggression, and use of force through armaments (arrows, guns, bombs). Not to mention, containing sizable numbers of trained solders to execute those hostilities. These poor people approaching us have no weapons (except maybe a pocket knife or two), they don’t want to “take us over” and that would be ludicrous anyway since they are 5,000, more or less, against a population in the U.S. of millions. Furthermore, they would gladly be “captured” if it meant asylum. They love the US, otherwise why would they be making this thousands of miles trek to come to us.

OK, it is true that there are always bad apples among every group. But so far no guns, no killing, nothing except some rock throwing has surfaced. And unless they had the biblical David’s skill with a slingshot, they are incapable of doing much physical harm. Yes, their illegal attempt to enter our country would be a violation of our laws. But do we have to demonize them? Do we have to have a campaign of fear and hate placed on them? After all the horrific shootings in the last 2 weeks, do we need yet more hate to be planted in our hearts? I just pray that when they eventually do arrive at our boarders, I will not awake to the sound of gunshots on the morning news.

Malpractice: Professional impropriety or negligence. Usually we hear this word in connection with medical lawsuits and other legal issues. However, I recently came across a very interesting use of it in relation to President Trump. Some politician, whose name I failed to catch as the news station flashed the Tweet across the screen, used it in conjunction with Trump’s attempt to override the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment with an executive order. The Tweet said that he would be practicing “political malpractice”!

 

Regardless where one stands on the issue of whether or not a person born in the US to parents who are aliens should be given citizenship rights, the problem here is the fact that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Yes, its amendments have been open to interpretation (i.e. the right to bear arms issue), however, we have a system of checks and balances in our legal system and there is a formal process of how to go about changing or adding an amendment. An executive order cannot do that. Trump should know this as he swore to uphold the Constitution when he was sworn in as president! The Constitution will always, pun intended, trump a Trump!

It’s been all over the media, the story of the woman who egged her “friend” on to commit suicide. Through the use of social media she managed to convince him that that was the best option he had. And then there was the smart, pretty 12 year old girl who committed suicide due to all the bullying she received via social media.

I wonder, if Jesus Christ were to be crucified today, how many people would pull out their iPhones and snap a picture of his agony to post on Facebook. And yet that is what we do each time we post something negative about a friend, something private about a neighbor, tear down a politician, or post a photograph which never was meant to be shared with the world. These actions crucify and create agony in the target person’s life.

You don’t have to be a bully or psychologically impaired to have your e-mails or tweets wreck havoc on someone. Just look at how our President, yes the president of the United states, has negatively impacted not only the objects of his tweets but his own presidential image. Sometimes it’s not so much the content of a social media post that is the problem but the choice of words used to express an opinion.

For good or bad, social media in all its forms is here to stay. Maybe it’s time to stop and take a look at how our social media words and pictures pollute and demean our existence and hurt the ones to whom we send it. We have the choice to spread messages of hope and beauty rather than despair and ugliness. Let’s make life better by choosing to use it for good