Feckless, Feckless

A few weeks ago (or was it years? Who can tell?), Samantha Bee got herself into hot water by calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.” I’ve said my peace on the cunt part. But what I find interesting is that mere weeks later, Steve Schmidt, a long-time Republican operative and former chair of the John McCain presidential campaign, renounced his party membership by using the word “feckless” to describe his former party fellows:

I couldn’t help thinking that this transference of the word could not be accidental. That in fact, Sam Bee may have introduced a word into our common lexicon that has stuck to the Party of Trump. So I took a look at Google Trends, and what do you know?

We may presume that the solid red line which represents the searches for “cunt” probably represent a lot of porn searches. At least, let’s hope so. But once the phrase “feckless cunt” enters into the lexicon, you can see the word feckless far outperforms the word cunt. And indeed, continues to show interest. The mutual rise in searches indicates the phrase “feckless cunt” became a popular search term. But the fact that feckless outperforms cunt indicates that the word itself was of interest. People are searching for the term, which we may presume means they’re seeking to define it.

Even if we can’t all define it, the word “feckless” seems to resonate: it sound right.

It sounds right because it gets to the heart of the matter. After all, the suffix “less” indicates a loss or a lacking. And we certainly expect more out of our government, in this moment. Something seems lacking. Our train seems to be careening off the rails and those in charge don’t seem to just be complicit. Worse than that, they just seem incapable. We are left wanting something we can’t find in Congress, at all.

We expect the three branches of government to work independently, but that’s not happening. Republicans are supposed to be a party of fiscal responsibility, but even when Trump threatens our economy with trade war, that party remains mum. Republicans are supposed to be the standard-bearers for Christianity (in an explicitly non-denominational government, but still). Yet even as we watch children pressed into the service of their own continuing psychological troubles – psychological troubles voluntarily pushed upon them by our government and in our name – they complain and preen, but do nothing. They accomplish nothing. Not because they agree with the policy. Simply because they cannot rise to this moment.

In the past, Americans have been willing to believe that having a Republican in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress (or vice versa) was a net benefit to our government. We believe that because we believe in the balance and separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution, and assume the conflicting ambitions of the two parties will guarantee that separation.

Whether having an opposing majority in Congress will help with our present situation remains to be seen. But one thing can be said for certain, which is that as bad as Trump may be, this moment in history will be remembered for how far wrong our democracy can go wrong when one branch of our government pointedly refuses to check another. When one branch of our government chooses the path of least resistance in the face of so much wrongdoing from another. When one branch of our government, given the opportunity to right the wrong of another, simply punts. When our leaders are, in a word, feckless.


Silly Statistics Signifying Very Little

Let’s just say that the Republicans get their wish, and we all bend our backs to the task of sending every illegal immigrant home.  Let’s also say that, in an effort to be extraordinarily generous, we guestimate the population of illegals in this country as way overblown at 10 million (the actual estimated number), and say that there are only 8 million in this country.

Well, there are only about 1.6 million Americans in the armed services.  The U.S. Census for some reason groups firefighters and cops together, so again to be generous, let us consider all 1.5 million Americans employed in those two industries.  That makes a total of 3.1 million Americans in either of those two or three professions.

Ignoring for a moment that not all people employed in either law enforcement or fire fighting or the armed services are cops, firefighters or soldiers, but that in fact many are office workers who support said –  ignoring the extreme absurdity of the proposal – if we took every single one of those people off their current assignments and put them to the task of removing illegal immigrants from this country, they would each have to personally escort 2.3 illegals across the border.  At least. Immig

And I do mean “personally,” because of course there would be no support staff to facilitate any other method of deportation. Maybe it’s time we thought of a different strategy?


How Many Undocumented Workers?

Here’s an interesting look at statistics. And of economics. Estimates are that there are between 10 and 15 million undocumented workers here in this country. According to this chart (you’ll need to increase the font size if you’re over thirty), that’s as many or more workers than in all of the manufacturing industry. More than work in the retail trades. There are almost as many undocumented workers as there are educators.

Still think Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs have the right idea in sending them home?


Spitz Drops License Plan, Seems to be Learning Harsh Lessons

Well, so much for that. Spitzer’s plan to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers license, almost immediately fouled up by politics and by half-assed attempts at compromise, is DOA. The Governor doesn’t seem to pleased by it, but what he said in his announcement seems about right for a leader to say. A shame we don’t get such candor and deference from our president:

Spitzer to Drop His License Plan – New York Times

“Part of leadership is listening to the public’s opposition,” he said. “Having heard that, and assessed the realities of implementing this policy, part of leadership is realizing that getting results is more important than sticking to what may be a principled position.”Mr. Spitzer first unveiled his initiative in September, when he announced that the Department of Motor Vehicles would begin issuing driver’s licenses without regard to immigration status and said he wanted to bring illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”

But the proposal, which was formulated with scant consultation with other politicians, set off a backlash far greater than the administration had anticipated.

Say what you will about Bush’s “principles,” but this is a lesson in how hard-headedness wins you no favours. Even when Spitz tried to compromise – ultimately, sloppily – public opinion was largely against the move. I agree with Exile at RT, this plan made a lot of sense on the face of it. But you see, that’s only if you conceive of law as a means to effective governance; the great irony of American politics is that in a country born of a concept of unlimited freedom, our entire legal history is one where law is used as a punitive measure against those with whom we disagree.

But that is, perhaps, a topic for another post. There’s lots going on today across the state, so it’s not easy getting all those concepts into one article!