Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What I Learned During Eleven Days in January 2017

To say the least, it's been an exciting (some would say bizarre) eleven days since Donald Trump took office.  We've seen him engage in Twitter fights over the size of his inauguration crowd (he said the "dishonest media" downplayed it, and his press secretary claimed it was the biggest crowd in recorded history, or something like that).  The new president also repeated his assertion that millions of illegal immigrants voted, and stole the popular vote from him (no evidence of it, and governors from both red and blue states have denied that such a thing occurred).

We've seen a number of billionaire nominees for cabinet positions, many of whom are not qualified for the post they've been offered... but all of whom will probably get confirmed anyway (extreme wealth has its privileges).  We've also seen a sudden and highly disruptive ban-- and yes, it is a ban-- on immigrants from certain predominantly Muslim countries (while others, including several countries involved in 9/11, didn't get on the list... some of the new president's critics believe that's because he does business in those countries, a fact his press secretary denied); as a result of the new Executive Order, legal immigrants with green cards found themselves detained for hours, or told to go back to their countries, and an Iraqi interpreter who had helped the US and was given a visa in appreciation was not only detained but handcuffed like a criminal... yet Mr. Trump told the media that everything was fine and the order was implemented very smoothly; he also claimed that former President Obama had issued a similar order (when in fact what Mr. Obama had done was quite different). 

And speaking of the media, we've had one of his inner circle, Steve Bannon, basically tell the assembled members of the press that they had humiliated themselves as a result of how inaccurately they reported the election, and it was time for them to shut up and spend their time listening; and another of his inner circle, Kellyanne Conway, suggested that journalists who were critical of Mr. Trump deserved to be fired.  Mr. Trump too continued to insist wherever he spoke that he had been treated badly by the "dishonest media."  And yet, repeatedly, the new president sought out media attention and seemed upset when he didn't receive enough of it (or when it wasn't the approving and adulatory kind he wanted).  

There was a massive (and peaceful) Women's March to express opposition to Mr. Trump and his policies-- large crowds gathered in city after city.  But Mr. Trump said the crowds were small (they were not).   His surrogates then claimed the March for Life, annually held by abortion opponents, would have far larger crowds (it did not); and that the mainstream media would ignore the march (not true-- it received considerable coverage from all the networks & print publications).  Mr. Trump's sudden Executive Order to ban Muslim immigrants (and favor Christian immigrants) was met by large and vocal crowds who opposed the new policy and who questioned its legality; it was also met by a number of volunteer lawyers who tried to help the detainees, especially the green card holders.  Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union received $24.1 million in online donations-- five times the amount the organization receives in a typical year.  And while liberal and center-left publications wrote about families unnecessarily and arbitrarily denied entry even after being vetted for several years, the conservative media continued to promote stories about problems caused by immigrants, such as emphasizing how many crimes they commit.  Various conservative publications insisted the Muslim ban is necessary to keep us safe, and denied that there was any problem with the Executive Order.

So, here's what I've learned:  Mr. Trump sincerely believes he can run the White House like he (fictionally) ran The Apprentice; he has an autocratic style, admires other autocratic leaders, and has no interest in building any bridges or doing any outreach to those who didn't vote for him.  He also seems to believe there are no norms any more-- he can disregard longstanding customs and precedents, and be as vengeful or petty or unkind as he wishes, whenever he wishes, to whomever he wishes.  Just about no Republican right now wants to stand up to him-- perhaps because the party has a series of policies it hopes to implement and he is the vehicle by which these things will get done, or perhaps because they fear getting on the wrong side of him and being subjected to his wrath, or perhaps they will do anything to remain in power, even if it means ignoring their constitutional duties. And based on what I am reading in the conservative press and on social media, his supporters are delighted by what he has done, and they see no problem with how he has acted thus far. 

But many of the rest of us disagree.  And while I was pleased to see so much energy and so many protests, I had to wonder:  how many of the folks who are now so actively dissenting stayed at home on election day because either Bernie wasn't on the ballot or they believed Hillary Clinton would be no better than Donald Trump.  I wonder if they still feel the same way now, eleven days after Mr. Trump took office.  I also wonder what the next eleven days will bring, and whether any of it will be good for our democracy.  Somehow, I fear the answer is "no."  Somehow, I fear that the partisan divide will only widen, and the anger will only increase.  Mr. Trump seems determined to crush anyone who doesn't agree with him or didn't vote for him; in his administration, compassion seems to be in short supply.  I am normally a positive person, and yes, I've lived through worse than this (I survived the Nixon administration, for example). But while I want to remain positive, I'm finding few reasons to feel optimistic at this point.  Tell me:  am I wrong?  

67 comments:

  1. I'm excited for the 2020 & 2024 election. One thing he's done is break the mold. We're going to see some great minds run, that wouldn't have considered running before. Because honestly, they didn't have a chance before he was voted in. That can also go a negative way again. I choose to hope that he's opened the door for the possibility of electing the best President we've ever had. I don't agree with the ban. It stops nothing. It's wrong to treat people that way. I understand the intent but.... There are already terrorists here, and in most countries. There are also terrorists of every race. The threat of terrorism has been hugely overblown. The data shows you are more likely to win the lottery, get struck by lightning twice I believe, than be directly affected by a terrorism. I'm sure someone will challenge me on that. The data is there. Keep speaking Donna. All love

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    1. Right Brent....the last 8 years were so "awesome". Shall we take a chance on Americans getting killed or shall we keep Americans safe? You have 0 common sense.

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  2. I think that their is a spiritual element that needs to come into play. Honoring all of our respective creeds asking God to work through these men is one way to cope Here is on example
    https://www.sign.org/articles/join-100-days-campaign

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  3. Dona, thank you for this cogent summary of recent events and your views on how to interpret and act on them in the larger context of preserving the core elements of our democratic structure I would imagine all of us have come to hold close as Americans living with the freedoms we have.

    I too am concerned and am praying and meditating on this in order to focus my energies for what will be needed of me in the future.

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  4. http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2017/02/01/protesters-gather-uc-berkeley-milo-show-police-helicopters-appear/

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    1. I'm with you about Milo-- he should be allowed to speak. But you, my friend, are a mystery-- you keep coming to my blog and making rude comments. If I'm delusional and irrelevant, as you say, why not just ignore me? Or how about just expressing yourself courteously? I know you can do it.

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    2. Allowed to speak? He had to cancel the whole event. The property destruction was complete anarchy. Why is it that the left, who are supposed to be so "inclusive", are the ones causing violent unrest for someone who doesn't believe the way they do. These people are on your side of the fence. You need to write a blog article about where the real hate and divisiveness lives. In liberal America! Stop defending liberalism. It is dead. We are seeing it happen. Good luck on mid terms!!

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    3. In what universe did I defend that behavior? I never did. I said he should be allowed to speak, as in, he should have been able to carry out his event, as planned. And I have no idea who shut him down-- you say "the left," of course, but more likely, the usual bunch of anarchists who like to show up at these kinds of controversial events and cause trouble. They are not on my side of the fence any more than I believe folks who tried to assault MSNBC reporter Katy Tur (egged on by Donald Trump) represent your side of the fence. There are extremists on both sides. It proves nothing to me. And if you are unwilling to tell the truth about the bigots and haters on your side, then you are being disingenuous. I've seen first-hand on social media that even when I respond courteously to a Trump supporter, I often get called vulgar and rude names. And based on what you have written to me, this is okay with you because I'm on the left and I'm the hater. Really? I've been nothing but courteous. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, given some of the assertions you and others like to make. I fail to see how such stereotyping does anyone any good.

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  8. Is Trump's 90 day Visa ban racist?

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    1. It's misguided. He chose only those countries where he doesn't have a hotel or a business, so it's disingenuous to say it's about protecting America. America was attacked by folks from Saudi Arabia & Egypt, but they can come on in. (And no, President Obama did not do the same thing-- the countries he names were countries Americans should not travel to. But he did not ban folks from those countries. And the vetting for graduate students & immigrants who work here as medical researchers is pretty thorough.) So, yeah it's a Muslim ban, as Mr Trump himself said on the campaign trail, and yeah it's misguided, in my view. Doesn't keep us safe, and it just angers the Muslims who are our allies (like in Jordan).

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    2. I could care less about angering Muslims. They have been making me mad for 30 years ever since they blew up the Marine Barracks in Beirut. I was there 9 months before it happened and lost some friends. Trump is doing what it takes to make this country safer. Tough cookie that you don't like it. Remember, we don't care about liberal opinions. You had 8 years with your muslim boy and look what that got us.

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    3. And there you go again. President Obama is not and never was a Muslim. And a lot of things were actually pretty good under Mr. Obama's leadership. Meanwhile, if you don't care about my allegedly "liberal opinions," why do you keep posting to my blog? Would you prefer that I block you? Hey, a great Super Bowl win for the Patriots, so you can't spoil my good mood.

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  9. Would you consider Madonna, that Judd woman and Wendy Davis to be mainstream or radical? Did you hear their comments at that "rally"?
    Let's have some dialogue, after all that is the name of this blog.

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    1. Sorry, but I was out doing volunteer work. I'm not always home (I also have a full-time job, as you know). I object to ALL rude & divisive comments. My problem with you is you'll eagerly focus on some stupid thing a celebrity leftie said, but when a rightie threatened Mr. Obama or called his wife an ape or when folks at Trump rallies threatened reporters with physical violence, you said nothing. Either it's wrong for both sides or you're just being a partisan.

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    2. You are the most partisan person I know. You have an excuse for everything. You party got thoroughly shut down and democrats are the weakest since 1928 and you continue to blame Conservatives. Not a good argument.

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  10. Wendy Davis, you know the woman who ran for Texas governor, was interviewed in Austin proudly wearing as she called it, her "pussy" hat. Every liberal in Texas (thank God there aren't enough) voted for her. Don't tell me that mainstream liberalism hasn't been taken over by leftist freaks. You do know that the democrats have lost over 1100 seats nationwide since when Obama took over. What does that tell you?

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    1. Can't buy your argument. Wendy Davis is not a "leftist freak." She actually has some very good ideas, not all of which everyone agrees with, but she was quite popular in her district and she's a wonderful public speaker. What the loss of seats during the Obama years tells me is the Republicans did some outstanding work of voter suppression and gerrymandering, plus they played to people's fears. But beyond that, the Democrats have not been as effective at getting their message out as the Republicans have. Meanwhile, some Democrats have done a fine job with messaging-- look at the huge crowds Bernie Sanders got at his rallies and he won 22 states. (Btw, I wasn't fond of the "pussy hat" idea. But then, there's a long list of stuff I'm not fond of...)

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    2. Wendy got completely blown out of the water in the election and so her ideas were apparently not that good. If you think she is an intelligent woman then once again I must question your judgement. Shall I scare up some of her quotes for you?

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    3. Bernie's message: Free, free free everything. Now WHO is playing to the simpletons????

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    4. SO, that wasn't Bernie's message, and deep down, you know that.

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    5. Or was it the deconstruct the banking system plan? He's never ran a business in his life. He would be more incompetent than Obama. So what were his positions that you liked before he sold out to Hillary after they barred him from winning. There is a whole other story!!

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    6. I've known Bernie for more than 40 years and he is the last of the honest politicians. That's what I like. He isn't a hypocrite like a lot of pols, and he deeply cares about his constituents, both righties & lefties.

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    7. But, he couldn't run a business let alone a government. Oh he is a hypocrite the way he bashed Hillary and then came around after he got his payoff for his vacation home. He is a flat out sell out. That's not honesty.

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    8. Oh and I should blindly trust your political opinions? How many times did you vote for Barney Frank? How many times after he was busted on his gay "side business?"

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    9. Not sure I ever voted for Barney; he wasn't in my district. But the "side business"? Oh please. A gay prostitute whom he befriended and tried to help (and this was verified by various newspapers) decides to sell his "story" and throw him under the bus. No good deed goes unpunished. Not an ounce of evidence that Barney knew about the "side business" this guy was running. As for his being gay, most of us in Boston put two and two together long before he was forced to come out. Most of us, both righties and lefties, felt he was doing a good job for his constituents, so it didn't seem like a story for us. You have a problem with people who are gay?

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    10. You do like those right-wing myths, don't you? Bernie's "vacation home" was paid for by his wife Jane, who got a settlement after selling her parents' home. From what I can gather, it's not hypocritical for a wife to buy her husband something-- I buy my husband stuff whenever I can, though I never had enough to buy him a home...

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    11. You are so naive. You really think that Hillary did not pAY HIM MONEY AFTER THEY SCREWED HIM OUT OF THE NOMINATION? pLEASE DON'T INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE, dONNA. You are the biggest apologist for a losing candidate and movement. Liberalism is dead. You are wrong so just quit making yourself look foolish, Doctor, and you might be able to salvage some credibility in the next 8 years of the Trump presidency... I know the truth hurts.

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    12. If just once you could post something that didn't include name-calling, I'd be much happier talking with you. I am not naive. I agree a lot of folks in the Democratic party were not on board with Bernie, because he had never been a Democrat, and like most parties (Republicans too), they wanted to reward the next person in line-- Hillary (Republicans did this with McCain and then Romney). I am not persuaded Mr Trump will serve 8 years, but keep on believing, and I'll get back to grading papers. Much love to you.

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    13. OK. LOL. You are a very likable person Donna. In spite of all of our tiffs (LOL) I can't ever disrespect you. I appreciate your feistiness when it comes to defending your argument/position. I know I tend to goad you but I mean no malice whatsoever. You are one of the very few Liberals I can respect!!

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    14. Oh and that is a compliment in case you were wondering! LOL

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    15. Thanks Tbone. I appreciate the kind words, but I'd enjoy our debates a lot more if they had less name-calling. Doesn't help make your case, and it won't (wait for it) Make America Great Again. Till next time.

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    16. Re-read some of your posts-- you've called me delusional, irrelevant, misguided, and worse. I've been nothing but courteous to you, as far as I can see.

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  11. Oh come on please. All the seats were lost to voter suppression?? That's absurd. How about the fact that people are fed up with Democrats. Has that occurred to you?? Seriously, I can't take you seriously with comments like that. Who again played on fears?? The deplorables comment. What was that? Trump's going to start ww3. Remember thaT? tHE MARKET IS GOING TO CRASH. rEMEMBER THAT?

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    1. T-Bone, you have a tendency to read what you want to read, rather than what I actually wrote. I did not say it was only voter suppression. I said it was gerrymandering, plus Dems not getting their message out as effectively as Republicans did. As for the deplorables comment, sadly, your side ran with this, but it was taken out of context and if you read the actual quote, what she said was different from what you guys made it seem like. But I do agree she wasn't the right candidate for times like these (as I told you, I'm a Bernie fan). And Mr Trump may yet start a war-- but I do hope he doesn't.

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    2. I read what you write. Oh, OK so it was gerrymandering AND voter suppression. Yeah that explains everything. LOL. What WAS Bernie's message????

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  12. In the 60's, 40% of blacks had their own business. 87% had two parent homes. Today, 7% of blacks have their own business and only 25% are two parent households. Who do you blame for that?

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  13. This is why we need a wall!!!!!! http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/02/06/iraqi-egyptian-nationals-caught-sneaking-across-open-border/

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  14. I know you think they are a credible source, but they really aren't. By the way, there have been stories of occasional middle-eastern nationals sneaking into the US (from TX and AZ) since 2006, but the numbers were really small, and still are, & they have always been caught and deported. I have the feeling there's more to this story-- keep in mind that the job of Breitbart is to reinforce whatever Mr Trump says, so they are not exactly objective, even if what they print is stuff that you believe. By the way, I think that photo is from some other story, rather than this one. Anyway, not sure why you keep posting these articles, but feel free to continue if it makes you feel better to do so.

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  15. Next time an American citizen is killed by an illegal alien I will let you know. I guarantee you it will be in the next week right here is this state. I guess you are prepared to take a risk with American lives?

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    1. I can always count on you to repeat verbatim every Donald Trump talking point. Most American citizens are NOT "killed by illegal aliens," but please continue to believe that, even though statistics do not support your beliefs. And no, I am not "risking American lives", since the proposed Muslim ban and the proposed border wall are not the magic answers you seem to think they are.

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    2. What is the answer Donna??

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    3. One citizen killed by an illegal should never happen. That's pathetic saying that most aren't killed by illegals. So you are OK taking chances with American lives? You have no answers.

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  16. This is worth a chuckle: Democratic leadership! No wonder your party collapsed. You have dumb and dumber running the show. Can't wait to hear your take on this. http://eheadlines.com/dumb-and-dumber-maxine-waters-says-putin-invaded-korea-while-nancy-pelosi-cant-work-with-president-bush/

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    1. This one is kind of weak, my friend. You know politicians and their aides misspeak all the time-- every president, and every congress-person has at one time or other been caught either misspeaking or saying something utterly bizarre. Why can't you be honest and quote from your side too? You seem gleeful to find what seem to be quotes that make Dems look bad, but I promise you, there are just as many that make Republicans look bad too. And remember: we are ALL Bowling Green...

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  17. These two are just plain stupid. They did not misspeak. They don't know what they are saying. Your party is weak. Gonna be a long 8 years for your party!
    !

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  18. Did you vote for Liz Warren???

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    1. I did. I also helped on her campaign. Very nice person and she has represented her constituents with enthusiasm. I'm sure you agree with her being denied the right to read Coretta King's letter & being told to sit, but that rule has been applied very selectively over the years (by both sides).

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  19. That's unfortunate. Good thing you don't bet on horses!

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  20. Maxine said that Putin invaded Korea. Is that true?

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  21. Are you mad that The Pats and Tom Brady won? The other leftists are quite unhinged.

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    1. I have no idea what "leftists" you are referring to. Most comments I saw were positive. Here's what I wrote on my Facebook page: "Whether you like football or not, and whether you like the Patriots or not, there is an important lesson to be learned from their come-from-behind victory over Atlanta. After three quarters, the Patriots were far behind and it looked like they had no chance; yet they never surrendered. They kept on doing their jobs, professionally and consistently until... they pulled off an amazing win in overtime. And that's the lesson: no matter how it seems the odds are against you, no matter how many people tell you it's hopeless, don't buy into the negativity. Keep making the effort, keep moving forward, and never lose your confidence. Maybe you won't get the results you want every time, but who knows what can happen each time you try-- the more you give it that positive effort, there's always a chance things will turn around. The Patriots proved that tonight, and I send my congratulations to everyone on the team."

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  22. Can you admit to the scourge of Islam in Europe at this time?

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    1. I can admit to the scourge of Islamic extremists. But sadly, I can also admit to the scourge of ultra-right-wing white Christian nationalists, who are also a problem in some European countries.

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    2. There's no comparison. Cut the crap. How many Christians have beheaded people??????????

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    3. I think going into a black church and shooting innocent parishioners dead, or blowing up a daycare center (both acts of Christian white supremacists-- Dylan Roof & Timothy McVeigh) are pretty awful, wouldn't you agree?

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    4. Neither were Christians. Wrong again.

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  23. I don't think you're wrong to find few reasons to be optimistic about Donald. The best predictor of behavior is past behavior.

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  24. http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/02/11/ice-rounds-44-criminal-aliens-texas-capital
    Not so innocent huh?

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    1. Some of the charges against those "criminal aliens" were pretty weak-- like the mom who was deported for using a fake social security number so she could work & support her family-- but the company that hired her wasn't even fined for hiring folks who were illegal... Again, I'm not sure what your point is with this kind of post. Undocumented immigrants, contrary to what Mr Trump claims, commit a very small percentage of crimes.

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  25. Donna, you are a good person. The level of patience showcased here is something that I admire. I like your post, just wanted to throw one speck of positivity into this feed ☺

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