If politics proves anything, it’s that everyday Americans, for all their education, tend to think in simplistic ways, our ideas for societal solutions often derived from bumper stickers and campaign slogans. The specter of shooters bent on taking out as many of our children, educators and police officers as possible should demand more from us. To our relief, folks who bothered to show up for Waco Independent School District meetings on school violence recognize this. Our compliments.

Recently the Trump administration raised tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada. The president signed an executive order directing the Department of Commerce to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. The White House cited Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1982 as its authority to do so. This potent provision gives the secretary of commerce authority to determine the impact of any import on the national security of the United States, and authority to the president to adjust tariffs accordingly, bypassing the Congress.

At our Texas borderlands, U.S. officials under executive orders from the Trump administration have been separating minor children from their parents at a rate of about 48 children per day. And while the president, after much resistance, reversed his orders Wednesday, many citizens express anxiety about any statement from him till it is fully vetted and implemented and thousands of families are reunited.

For those of us who pass by it in the months and years to come, the abandoned, 14-acre Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center campus in North Waco will stand as an enduring monument to cheap talk by state leaders when it comes to mental health. Every time a tragedy erupts involving someone who obviously has mental-health issues — mass shootings are common examples these days — a hue and cry goes up among lawmakers that government and society must aggressively expand access to improved mental-health treatment. And some of us take them seriously.

Paul Ryan, departing ingloriously from Congress in six months, has capitulated to Donald Trump and House right-wingers at the expense of the “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the United States at a young age. Ryan blocked a bipartisan bill that would have given the Dreamers protection from deportation and given them a pathway to citizenship. The measure also would have provided money for more sensible border security than the expensive and inefficient Trump wall.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

The other morning I did one of the Meals & Wheels delivery runs as a substitute for one of the regulars at our church. The 13 homes included people from Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic backgrounds, the three major population components of Waco. Several people used wheelchairs, bringing to mind the people with disabilities and their families with whom I have worked a large part of my career.

For more than seven years now, those critical of the Affordable Care Act have blanketed newspapers such as the Trib with letters to the editor decrying how Democrats back in 2010 “rammed” Obamacare down the public’s throat. Now that Senate Republicans are doing much worse — crafting a repeal-and-replace health care bill behind closed doors without so much as a legislative hearing — these same hypocritical critics are as quiet as crickets in winter. Ditto regarding the House Republican health care package passed this spring without a single hearing for the public to scrutinize and sound off.