Two days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, MSNBC’s indomitable Chris Matthews asked Trump surrogate Steve Cortes about the political wisdom of Trump’s tweet-storm condemning civil rights icon John Lewis, which only further aggravated racial tensions. Cortes explained that, whatever else, Trump voters relish Trump’s combativeness:
“The reason people rallied to his fierceness [on the 2016 campaign trail] is because we have a rigged crony system right now which works very well for the people over in Davos [site of moneyed elites gathered for the World Economic Forum], it works very well for Washington, D.C.,” he said. “It’s not working for Dayton, it’s not working for Waco, Texas.”
Fair point. We’ll take that as an invitation from President Trump to highlight at least some of what’s important in Waco, Texas, assuming he’s really interested:
• Poverty remains a massive problem for nearly a third of us, maybe more. We’re not just talking about homeless people but folks who have jobs, yet remain one paycheck from economic ruin, including getting bounced from their lodgings. To the surprise of very few economists, trickle-down economics have failed millions of Americans. What else do you have up your sleeve, Mr. President? Is it time to talk of raising the minimum wage? How about some form of job subsidies? Can you use your considerable clout to shame employers into doing better by their employees?
• Given the reports of backlogged claims snarling the Waco Veteran Affairs Regional Office a few years ago or the bungled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, our folks don’t so much detest the federal government as governmental inefficiency, red tape and incompetence. Improve accountability by rank-and-file staff in a dysfunctional civil-service environment and you’ll begin to improve governmental efficiency, maybe even to the level of your hotels and casinos.
• Republican Congressman Bill Flores’ earnest discussion with leaders in our construction, hospitality and high-tech industries regarding their heavy reliance on illegal immigrant labor justifies major reforms that expedite legal immigration and ensure efficient use of work visas for targeted industries. Even Flores’ conservative followers see justice in doing right by the Dreamers. And any wall should be high-tech and virtual. Texans are funny about property rights. They should be respected — even if they have land on the Texas-Mexico line.
• Think twice about breaking your campaign promise to Americans not to touch their Social Security and Medicare, including some chatter about signing whatever House Speaker Paul Ryan sends your way. Our folks labor under the idea they’ve actually paid into federal trusts. We learned this first-hand when we tried to justify the government’s not allotting cost-of-living raises one year. Ouch!
• Championing coal might have won you votes in West Virginia, but in ultra-conservative Central Texas, folks still frown on coal-fired power plants in close proximity. Such sentiments prompted even conservative state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson to inveigh against a proposal to permit nine such power plants within 50 miles of McLennan County a decade ago — his finest hour. Most of us want clean air, clean water.
• Those of us who want the best for Baylor University appreciate the importance of Title IX protections to safeguard students from sexual aggression in all its horrid reforms, some of which have now hobbled this great university. But Republicans are right to be concerned about federal overreach in some of the guidelines, especially when they compromise due-process rights and turn academic settings into courtrooms.
You assure the masses you have not forgotten them. We’ll be watching.