Ronald Battocchi, Arlington
The current shutdown standoff between Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on one side and President Trump on the other, reminds me of how superficial, and maybe simply personal, are the politics we see practiced today and for some time.
Behind the Democrats’ reduction of the issue of the border wall is perhaps their concern for the plight of so many Latin American migrants fleeing for their lives and well-being. Or perhaps, as a cynic might say, for the votes of people who are concerned for asylum seekers.
And Mr. Trump’s motivation is usually located in sensitivity to his base — those who voted for him and who still seem to support him.
I see very few Democratic politicians who evidence any concern for, or even understanding of, those Trump supporters. Failure to clearly spell out the issues affecting those folks, and going so far as their demonization by the top Democrats of our time, former president Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is clearly counterproductive. Perhaps there are others like me who get tired of the Democratic message assailing Mr. Trump while ignoring millions of voters who feel no connection with, or more likely deep antipathy for, the Democratic Party. We are left with an ongoing distancing of our fellow Americans.
David Radile, Madison Heights, Va.
The standoff between President Trump and Congress, or at least the Democrats in Congress, has almost nothing to do with the merits and mechanics of border security. It is now down to finding a solution that takes due account of the president’s ego.
The Constitution provides a path out of the woods. Congress should pass a continuing resolution without Mr. Trump’s $5 billion for the border wall. He can then veto it with much gusto and bombast, whereupon both houses of Congress can vote to override his veto, thereby reopening major portions of the government and restoring a modicum of relief to all.
Unrealistic? Perhaps. Considerable choreography would be required to get a two-thirds vote in both chambers. Clearly, a majority was ready to wrap up the session without funding Mr. Trump’s wall. So, on the merits, the votes should be there, and in light of recent events, a number of Republicans might be ready to put a little daylight between them and the president. That a number of Republicans in the House who were defeated in the midterms might not show up serves to reduce the number needed to reach a two-thirds vote in that body. This scenario would involve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivering a large fig leaf to the White House. Anyone have a better idea?
The Dec. 22 Politics & the Nation article “They can’t go home for the holidays” evoked three simultaneous emotions. I am deeply saddened by the stories of the families enduring the hardships of the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and, by extension, for the families recovering from other natural disasters in our country during the past year. I am also humbled knowing that such tragedy could befall my family at any time, yet my family celebrated another Christmas season of abundance. I, too, am immensely enraged that billions of dollars are being requested, and in contention in Congress, to build a “wall” and to keep our armed forces at the Southern border to “protect” our nation from an immigrant invasion.
These billions of dollars would be so much better spent providing adequate and meaningful recovery for the thousands of people struggling within the borders of our country. Surely, there are those in our nation’s leadership who, like me, have the paradoxical rush of emotion I experienced when considering the moral responsibility of our national stewardship.