To the editor: Coming soon: either a resumed partial government shutdown on Feb. 15, or President Trump’s assumption of autocratic power through a border security “emergency” declaration. Why can’t reason prevail?
Above all, Trump does not want to be branded a loser. Trouble is, he set himself up for losing with his daft build-the-wall promise and by letting right-wing commentators goad him into trying to extort funds for that wall. And then his shutdown gambit lost to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-San Francisco) rational, iron-willed resolve.
Trump’s history as a business loser, with multiple bankruptcies, doesn’t help. He has no way to shrug off his bankrupt governance and start anew as a world superpower’s chief executive. So he finds himself with just two face-saving options, neither of which bodes well for America.
Rank narcissism doesn’t provide grounds for impeachment, but risking our democracy’s viability surely does.
Marta Tehrani, Santa Monica
To the editor: Trump and Pelosi are on a shutdown collision course. How about using the next few weeks to arrange a stopgap agreement to form a special bipartisan congressional committee composed of House and Senate members?
The committee could do a full legislative investigation, with testimony from experts and stakeholders, of how best to protect our borders. Trump, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could agree to accept its findings and support it with funding determined by the committee.
Robert Berliner, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: Why is anyone surprised by the country’s reaction to the partial government shutdown?
Forget the hand-wringing over the economic costs. Consider instead the prospect of losing food and housing, the threat to food safety, the threat to air safety, the damage to national parks and all the other services that were suspended. Why did this cause such an outcry and a retreat by Trump?
The people revolted because they have identified essential services as the basis of a modern democratic society, and we tax ourselves to ensure that services are provided with no interruptions. Imagine the chaos from a loss of all essential services.
Politicians who support shutdowns should be permanently shut out.
David L. Burdick, Ridgecrest
To the editor: If Trump were truly concerned about the “emergency” posed by illegal border crossings, he would demand that U.S. employers run E-Verify checks on every job applicant, and call for stiff fines or jail sentences for failure to do so.
Everyone knows that this approach would staunch the influx of undocumented workers. President George W. Bush floated such a measure, but reversed himself when wealthy GOP backers balked at losing continued access to cheap, exploitable immigrant labor.
In truth, Trump’s border-wall obsession stems solely from his desire to erect a showy demagogic symbol. Hence his “emergency” charade endures.
Dennis Alston, Atwater, Calif.