February 25, 2017
Dear Mr. P,
As you’ve doubtless noticed, over recent weeks I’ve taken upon myself the role of teacher, in an effort to expand your vocabulary beyond the tired rhetoric of “great”, “huge”, “fake”, and so forth. Granted, I understand your affinity for name-calling and catchy slogans. But still, I naively wish you could become a bit more presidential, both by moving beyond those tiresome mood swings of gloating and pouting, and also by a more creative use of words.
But yesterday the tables turned on me. I found myself pondering the meaning of the word “gaggle” and had to reach for my trusty Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I verified that the definition I’m familiar with is, indeed, correct:
Sure enough, there’s a second definition:
2: a group, aggregation, or cluster lacking organization gaggle of reporters and photographers>
Of course, you know what I’m referring to – the off-camera briefing yesterday at CPAC from which a number of news organizations were banned, including NY Times, LA Times, Buzzfeed, BBC, CNN – in other words, in White House parlance, the usual Fake News suspects. Among the chosen attendees were some of your favs, Breitbart being the most notorious (was DNN – Deplorable News Network – included too?).
I will refrain from lecturing you about the dangers of limiting the free press, as you’ve heard from me before on this subject. But if you need a reminder, come visit. There’s a poster in our front window, a gift from a persistent friend: “Early warning signs of FASCISM”. It lists, among other items, “Identification of enemies as a unifying cause” and “Controlled mass media.” You don’t even need to fly to Denver to see it. The poster, created after a 2003 publication by Laurence Britt on fascism, is displayed in the U.S. Holocaust Museum. You can order your very own to hang in the Oval Office.
As you told the CPAC crowd, “They say we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment, you know, they always bring up the First Amendment!” Yes, Mr. P, for once you’ve got it right -- we always bring up the First Amendment.
But let’s get back to gaggle. Did you know that Denver is overrun – that’s right – we’ve simply been taken over – by gaggles of Canadian geese? They’re everywhere! Ruining our parks, ignoring traffic laws by boldly stepping into the middle of traffic, trashing lawns, and brazenly taking over the habitat of native American birds! It’s outrageous! What are you going to do about these illegal aliens? Millions of them have invaded our fair city. Denver officials have tried various creative methods to rid themselves of this scourge, including the notorious orange robotic Goosinator. But you know what? They keep coming back! They must like it here. We are, for the most part, a welcoming city.
Jeanette Vizguerra, mother of four, is in her eleventh day living at the First Unitarian Church of Denver where she sought refuge from ICE. To find out more about Jeanette, go to #jeanettebelongshere. “Sanctuary training” is now being conducted across the country. It relies on a 2011 ICE Policy, Enforcement Actions at or Focused on Sensitive Locations, stating:
This memorandum sets forth immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy regarding certain enforcement actions by ICE officers and agents at or focused on sensitive locations. This policy is designed to ensure that these enforcement actions do not occur at nor are focused on sensitive locations such as schools and churches unless (a) exigent circumstances (b) other law enforcement actions have led officers to a sensitive location . . . or (c) prior approval is obtained.
I wish I could be more confident that this policy protects Ms. Vizguerra. My level of confidence is about the same as my belief that Homeland Security can build a wall between the US and Canada that will keep out all the geese.
Apologies, Mr. P, I’m going all pessimistic on you. I need to cheer up and start shouting “USA! USA! USA!” out my front window. Tomorrow, I promise, I will be more upbeat. It’s Awards Night -- the night we’ve all been waiting for – when all across America, patriots are glued to the TV to find out who will take home those coveted golden Trump statuettes with the tiny hands. Stay tuned!