Gary Bartle is a resident of Harlan.
I am a lifelong registered Republican, but I must respectfully disagree with David Carroll's Jan. 31 letter, “God's blessings shining on nation through Trump'” regarding President Donald Trump's accomplishments during his first year in office.
True, many middle-class Americans will see a slight, temporary tax cut. But after researching the subject, I believe my family will be worse off because the increase in the standard deduction is offset by the loss of personal exemptions for me, my wife and 21-year-old son attending college. Unfortunately, because the GOP tax bill also eliminated Obamacare's individual mandate, those with health insurance will see a massive spike in premiums and millions more will be left unable to afford coverage. Of course, the top 1 percent will receive far greater windfalls that do not expire. This dramatic slashing of government funding will balloon the already-staggering deficit, endangering the future stability of our economy – something we Republicans used to care about.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a reckless move. It was viewed throughout the Muslim world as siding with Israel. We have cast aside our ability to act as an honest broker between Palestine and Israel, fanning resentment in the region.
One cannot claim Trump has “boosted and supported” those who keep us safe so long as he continues his all-out war on the FBI. Encouraging his associates to smear someone like Robert Mueller, a man of impeccable character who has served this nation with honor in uniform and as head of the FBI in the dark days after 9/11, is both reprehensible and disgusting.
Trump's job-creation numbers were lower in 2017 than President Barack Obama's in 2016. And after much ado about nothing, Carrier still moved to Mexico.
With the signing of his watered down “Muslim ban,” Trump did more to incite violence than stop it by sowing mistrust within Muslim-American communities. Meanwhile, Trump cut funding for the monitoring of homegrown, right-wing extremists who commit far more acts of violence here in the U.S.
In 1973, The Supreme Court decided women have the right to control their reproductive fate. Abortion was not invented by this decision; it was merely made safer. In contrast, Trump's misguided attempt to defund Planned Parenthood would have resulted in many lower-income women losing all access to health care.
The Paris Climate Accord was a non-binding, voluntary agreement in which we set our own goals for reducing carbon emissions. We are now the only nation in the world not participating. By abdicating leadership in the field of clean energy, Trump has forced the world to look instead to countries such as China for direction and innovation, effectively handing them the future on a silver platter.
Border crossings from Mexico decreased dramatically over the past decade, due in no small part to Mexico's improving economy. DACA recipients have little or no memory of living anywhere except the United States, and many have served bravely in our military. They deserve better than being Trump's political pawns. To hold them hostage so he can have his wall built (with taxpayers' money) is politics at its worst. Besides, who was supposed to pay for it? I can still hear the chanting crowds. “Mexico, 100 percent,” he said with a smile.
Our flag is a symbol. We hold dear that which it represents. There is no surer way to subvert the meaning it carries than mandating people stand at attention before it. Kneeling quietly is not disrespectful. To genuflect shows even greater deference and, in this case, a plea for understanding.
Is it any wonder that Trump has so many critics? The God I was raised to believe in would not have given us a President like Donald J. Trump as anything but a moral test. Thus far, too many of us are failing it.