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My spouse, who taught elementary education in public schools for more than 30 years, can testify to what it's like to try to bring order in leading a group of her students on a field trip. It might best be described as trying to organize and corral a herd of cats.
Expand this idea to the federal government and one has a tiger by the tail.
In the 2016 general election, millions of voters opted to elect a person with little to no experience in politics or knowledge as to how our government works.
The assumption was that such a person would bring real change, would "drain the swamp" and would turn the scene in Washington upside down. To all those who did so, I would say congratulations!
You have given our nation chaos, confusion, confrontation, distractions and constant disarray. We do not have a drained swamp.
Welcome to a government that is, in this moment, in shutdown mode, a stock market that is in free fall and a national security establishment that is in an uproar.
We find our nation withdrawing from the world as quickly as possible, thus leaving our adversarial powers of Russia and China to fill the vacuum of power we have abdicated.
Syria, with the departure of General Mattis, and Trump's tweet that we are pulling out of Syria, will now be free game for Russia, Turkey and Iran. Cuba is now filled with Chinese tourists, diplomats, products and military advisers and these are but tips of the iceberg. Will NATO be the next victim?
The chaos Trump is unleashing on the U.S. system is not like anything we have seen in American history. It is by design and the president is not nearly finished with his wrecking ball.
If President Obama got the legislation passed, was successful in establishing measures that protect our environment and our nation's health and provided a safety net for the poor, the elderly and struggling citizens of our nation, Trump has seen to it that all of it was or will be obliterated, destroyed. It's what Trump does best.
And what does Trump most of all want to build? A wall! A wall that will cost billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers' hard-earned income after promising Mexico would pay the tab.
He has created a chaotic, faux situation on our southern border. The vast majority of illegal narcotics arrive in the U.S. via ports of entry, seaports and airports, not at our southern border crossings.
Eighty percent of the illegal immigrants are those who have overstayed their visas. Yet Trump would have you believe the majority are the ones "pouring" over our southern borders. Just more chaos, tweets and lies.
It seems to me his racist base simply wants to hide behind a physical wall from the real world.
Check the facts. Immigration via the southern border is at 1970s levels. Fear and xenophobia are tools of right-wing populism.
If you know American history, you will also understand that "America First" and "Make America Great Again" are directly related to the 1930s white supremacy movements. Such a mentality benefits those who would love a closed-in United States.
Divide and conquer seems to be Trump's mantra. Who benefits? Trump, not the United States or we the people.
As I see our president, I see him as mercurial. No one can believe anything he says. This reflects the way he did business before he became our president. Also, he could care less about who gets hurt as long as he gets his way and his financial coffers are enlarged.
President Trump embraces, even relishes chaos. As insane as it may sound, he believes he can control his own created chaos. It is all about Trump, and what he has done to take the nation hostage.
I close with a piece of ancient wisdom translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the benefit of all of us and especially President Trump: "Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceedingly small; Though with patience He stands waiting; With exactness grinds He all."
Edward "Ned" Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.