How we elect candidates

For many, voting is the path of least resistance — strictly along Party and tribal lines. Meanwhile, conscientious voters are busy following Jim Hogan’s advice in his October 5th letter, to “find outwhat [candidates] really stand for,” starting with going to their web pages.

Something Tammy Purcell touched upon in her September 28th letter, saying that Republican John McGuire (56th) offers nothing but “lofty platitudes” and “scant insight into policy positions.” A lack of substance which becomes even more pronounced on his Facebook page; where absolutely no effort is made to let voters know where he will be in Louisa County, or anywhere else for that matter.

Filled with images of him hobnobbing with the wealthy minded, strutting around like bantam rooster lest he be exposed as an astroturfed fraud.  Perhaps why the head of the Louisa Republican party isn’t putting up his banners, and reportedly would rather “talk to a teapot”.

Take the upcoming candidates meet and greet on the 24th at the VFW, sponsored by the Louisa Chamber of Commerce, where McGuire hasn’t bothered to respond if he would be attending.  And unlike the recently concluded Celebrating Democracy Days at Louisa High School, where students were required to participate and ask questions, this promises to be attended by the local faithful who will have little if any interest in stepping out of their echo chamber.

In-actions which make a mockery of Regina Cook, the chamber’s executive director earlier remarks about their May forum that “You don’t want to be too critical with your questions, and …. We wanted it to be collegial.” And that was after she reportedly proposed to water this event down from a debate to a meet and greet.

And they are actions which reflect the Chambers and local conservative’s attitudes and deference towards authority figures. Meanwhile their obeisance to respecting said “authoritah ” dovetails effortlessly with another prevailing local attitude; getting along to go along, and it is precisely why this promises to be an uninformative event, at least on the Republican side of things.

And while her comments last month, that “most constituents are largely unaware of the [candidates]” are true, it’s also highly misleading. Because it’s not the Chamber’s problem, it’s the candidate’s responsibility to get that information out.

Nor is this attitude limited to this event, as the previously dormant Mineral Industrial Development Corporation is sponsoring an October 19th candidate debate at Louisa High School. And in their letter to the candidates they gave all the candidates a September 26th deadline to respond.

When Willie Harper, who previously held the Mineral district Supervisor seat and is one of the organizers of this debate was asked if they would be extending that deadline for McGuire, he responded with “We’d like to have as many candidates as possible.”

Perhaps, but such flexibility doesn’t instill much confidence in their claims to be primarily interested in informing the people of Louisa County about the candidates. In many respects, it seems more like an attempt to support preferred candidates; such as Duane Adams the only “candidate with an R by his name” while pretending to inform the people.

It that respect it’s much closer like the Tea Party sponsored debate last June in Goochland, an attempt to create the perception of widespread support with “just –in-time candidate exposure.”

And since the Central Virginian declined to cover this earlier debate, perhaps they will do a better job of informing their readers as they moderate this debate featuring supervisor candidates from the Mineral and Green Springs Districts along with 56th District House of Delegate’s candidate Melissa Dart.

Who show up to take your questions and will represent you in the General Assembly, and deserves your vote in November.

Jon Taylor

Editor’s note: This is an expanded version of a letter submitted to Louisa County’s paper of record, the Central Virginian, and is only available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.

Is America great again, yet?

Lately, it seems like every time I write this column, things in this country have gotten worse and worse.

Guns, guns, guns: Our country is awash in them—one estimate says there are more than 310 million—more than enough for one for every man, woman and child. The 4th Circuit Court has noted, “in 2012, the number of AR- and AK-style weapons manufactured and imported into the United States was more than double the number of Ford F-150 trucks sold, the most commonly sold vehicle in the United States.” My apologies to those who hunt deer, but did you know that the 5.56 mm NATO round bullets, used by the Las Vegas murderer in the largest mass shooting in our history—the 273rd such of this year alone—were specifically designed to kill people? When they strike flesh, they tumble instead of going straight through the body like the single shot of a hunting bullet would, thereby creating massive traumatic wounds that, if they don’t kill, will certainly maim. That’s what you want in war. It’s not what you want in your venison, or in the streets of an American city like Las Vegas where people were sticking fingers and hands into the wounds of victims trying to keep them from bleeding out.

In this country, if you stay healthy and active, are careful, avoid hard drug and alcohol abuse and drive defensively, then you are most likely to die from assault by firearms. (

Russia, Russia, Russia: Facebook has turned over to Congress 3,000 Russia-linked ads that were intended to set factions against each other in key states because Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump. Google and Twitter are contemplating similar actions. The Congressional intelligence committees have concluded that Russia certainly meddled in our elections, but that the jury is still out on collusion with Trump campaign officials. Speaking of investigations, Robert Mueller is quietly and doggedly continuing his work.

Meanwhile, chaos continues to reign at the top levels of the American government, the largest economy in the world, the country that used to call itself the center of the Free World, the place that Ronald Reagan called “the shining city on the hill. The current occupant of the Oval Office has chided his Secretary of State regarding North Korea policy, not with a well-argued paper from the National Security Council, but with a juvenile tweet. Last Wednesday, the State Department actually had to deny that Secretary Rex Tillerson called the Trump a moron. Trump chided Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Moscow investigations. The head of the FBI was fired earlier this year, not for a breach of duty, but because Trump wanted loyalty, not professionalism. Finally, he fired Secretary of Health and Human Services for ethics violations after the press dogged his use of public funds for private plane flights. Trump is doing a fine job, attacking sport players for protesting the killing of unarmed African-Americans, picking on the mayor of San Juan, sending “warm condolences” to the victims in Las Vegas, bragging from his golf club in Bedminster that he will rain fire and fury on North Korea, and throwing paper towels to hurricane victims.

Trump’s asinine rantings, plus those of his counterpart, Kim Jung Un, both of whom have their fingers on the triggers of their nations’ nuclear arsenals, as well as threats of undoing the international agreement that stopped Iran’s nuclear program in its tracks, have led the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move the minute hand on their famous Doomsday Clock to two and a half minutes to “midnight,” the closest it’s been to nuclear holocaust since the United States and the Soviet Union developed the hydrogen bomb in the early ‘50s.

There’s not enough space to talk about our government’s unimpressive response to three hurricanes in a row, the healthcare debacle or the looming “tax reform” battle to benefit the rich. The last few months have proven that old adage, “elections have consequences.”

If you believe in democracy, then you need to participate in its practice. This means becoming and staying informed on the issues. It means supporting the candidates you believe in, not only with money, since we don’t have short, publicly-financed campaigns like they do in the United Kingdom, but also with your time and effort, through canvassing and phone-banking, as well as organizing and participating in fundraisers.

If you want to see America return to the values embodied in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, you only have eight more days to register to vote, and then you had better energize, vote and send packing the bought-and-paid-for politicians who serve only their rich corporate masters. Take care who you vote for at every level in our society, beginning with Culpeper’s local elections right up through the state and federal levels and into the Oval Office. It’s time for the people to demand that their elected representatives serve them for a change. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.

Mike McClary

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared here.

Taxes – a necessary evil

Recently Senator John McCain informed the Senate that he could not support the current proposed revision to the Affordable Care Act. McCain’s reasoning was based on many factors, most importantly that millions would either lose healthcare or would not be able to afford it, especially those with preexisting conditions.

Here in Virginia, lower income families have already been denied insurance by the Republican controlled legislature who refused to expand Medicaid even though the federal government was going to pay for it.

Now, we in Virginia, have a gubernatorial candidate— Ed Gillespie—who supports the financial cutbacks in healthcare, even though almost all medical organizations in existence here in the U.S. say it is a horrible plan. Not only does he support the federal cutbacks, even though Republicans want to put responsibility for healthcare on the states, he also wants to cut taxes.

This will be on top of President Trump’s proposed tax cuts. That sounds great doesn’t it? Tax cut promises are one of most used political ploys to get votes. Tax cuts always sound great until it is time to pay the bills. It sounded great when Governor Jim Gilmore implemented a tax cut on vehicles, but it didn’t take long after that for Virginia to run into the red, unable to pay our bills. Other taxes had to be implemented and the car tax relief was modified.

I don’t know of anyone who wants to pay taxes, but almost everyone I know wants good police protection, good fire and rescue responders, top notch teachers and schools, good roads and affordable healthcare. All of these cannot be paid for if insufficient funds are not collected to pay for them. Currently, Virginia does not have enough police officers or teachers to fill jobs because we do not pay them enough.

Ralph Northam isn’t seeking tax cuts. He’s seeking to improve our healthcare system for all Virginians. He isn’t seeking to take money from our public schools. He is seeking to find ways for ALL of our children to get a quality education. Despite what Gillespie says, Virginia is doing just fine. Several new businesses have come to Virginia and our unemployment rate is 3.8 percent—one of the lowest in the nation. Why vote against a good thing? Vote for Northam.

Deanna Nicosia

Editor’s note: This letter which appeared in the October 5th edition of the Central Virginian has been reposted with the author’s permission and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.


Looking at the issues

This November, for the first time in eight years, Louisa County residents have a choice in who represents us in the House of Delegates.

Both Melissa Dart, the Democratic nominee, and John McGuire, the Republican nominee, are political newcomers. Neither enjoys the clout of incumbency and neither possesses a clear political record.

As these candidates vie to be our voice in Richmond, we deserve to know where they stand on the critical issues that affect our lives.

On her website and in her campaign outreach, Melissa Dart makes her vision clear.

As a mother of three and a member of the Henrico County Special Education Advisory Committee, Melissa is fiercely committed to protecting funding for our public schools. Over the last eight years, Virginia’s school systems have endured nearly $800 million in state budget cuts. Melissa knows our families deserve better.

Here in Louisa County, public schools are integral to our community and a point of civic pride. Our teachers shouldn’t face overcrowded classrooms or struggle to buy necessary supplies. Our kids’ needs shouldn’t go unmet because of out-of-touch politicians in Richmond.

Melissa believes in investing in an economy that works for all of us and not just large corporations and wealthy elites. She will fight for infrastructure that improves broadband access in rural areas, a key to increasing economic opportunity for folks across Louisa County.

In this same vein, Melissa understands that Virginia must initiate and support specialized training programs that equip workers with skills for today and tomorrow. With the introduction of solar farms to Louisa County, a green economy is emerging around us. Melissa wants to ensure that local workers are prepared to build the infrastructure of the future.

When it comes to education, infrastructure, economic development and other vital issues, Melissa Dart is unafraid to take a stand. She has a strong platform built on commonsense solutions and crafted to improve the quality of life in our community.

John McGuire, on the other hand, offers scant insight into his policy positions.

On his website, he provides little more than platitudes. Lofty pronouncements like “overhauling our current regulatory scheme” and supporting “public stewards” in “their noble cause” sound nice, but what do they mean?

John doesn’t bother to mention public education or rural broadband access. Does he fail to grasp the importance of these issues?

As Nov. 7 approaches, I urge all Louisa residents to look beyond party lines and political theatrics and focus on the local issues that have a real and lasting impact on our lives.

Louisa deserves a delegate with practical knowledge and tangible ideas who will fight hard for us in Richmond. Melissa Dart has a sound plan. John McGuire does not.

Tammy Purcell Louisa

Editor’s note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and appeared in the 9-28-17 edition of  the Central Virginian, and is only available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.

The Conservative Myth

In the upcoming elections, voters must choose candidates for public office based upon their values, authenticity and trusts. And the radical authoritarian right wing Koch brother’s front group, Americans for Prosperity, is wasting no time mailing out their deceptive propaganda. Expecting voters to believe that they are preserving and promoting American values and yet their actions trample our values and deconstruct the government agencies responsible for protecting our citizens.

In “Conservative” economic mythology the earth resources exist for human profit and for us to consume. Promoting the idea that if natural resources are not privatized, then they are of no value…. The land, water and air that we cherish are being destroyed by “conservatives” who promote privatization and deregulation as a virtue instead of a responsibility of the government to protect our common wealth.

The outsourcing of American elections through wealthy campaign contributors has made profit making our governments primary mission, and spending on public good and safety no longer one of their goals. For example, climate change is happening, yet the “Conservative” agenda is to bury scientific evidence, stop conducting research, gag government agencies and cut budgets for those investigating it, acerbating this global crisis even further.

In the “Conservative” free market world we find multi-billion dollar government bailouts, legalized bribery by lobbyist, and subsidies for industries, plus the auctioning of common wealth land, water, oil rights, etc., to corporations at a fraction of the cost of what privately owned resources cost.

Business decisions and markets driven by profits will often affect human health and life, a subject outside the scope of conservative moral judgments.

In contrast, Progressives believe that markets should serve human values, that government regulations protect the public from harmful products and fraud, they believe in fair taxation wherein the wealthy should pay more to nourish and replenish the common wealth they benefit from, and they believe in a balance of power between worker’s and corporation owners to insure a healthy workplace.

Clean drinking water and air quality are NOT commodities and industry should not decide how much contaminants American’s ingest. Progressives see fundamental freedoms of markets exist for the common good, the freedom to earn a living wage, freedom from expensive healthcare, freedom from ignorance, freedom from bigotry, hate, and fear, and the preservation of our natural world.

Conservatives see these freedoms as interferences.

So here we are at the beginning of another election cycle filled with the Conservative myths of free markets and deregulation. Do we vote for a “Conservative” party candidate intent on lowering labor costs, providing less health care coverage, abolishing environmental protections, and letting the taxpayer pay for corporate profits?

Or do we vote for a Progressive candidate whom claims the moral responsibility to care for others, believes in using common wealth for the common good not for the wealthy, and believes in protecting the natural and individual resources we share? Your vote IS VERY important for our future.

Mark S. Chapman

Editor’s note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and appeared in the September 28th edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paid subscribers.


Resist Persist and Insist

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, you know that Senate Republicans have resurrected another version of wealth care, better known as Graham-Cassidy that like their previous plans wouldn’t start until the end of 2019.

Because they want to avoid being blamed for massive health insurance rate hikes until after the 2018 midterms were over.  And there will be rate hikes next year because of their actions, or more appropriately inaction.

Unlike their past bills, Senate Republicans didn’t include any specific appropriations for Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) reimbursement payments to insurance carriers on the individual market exchanges in this round of zombie care.

Because there is no specific appropriation of CSR funds for the next two years, some carriers are dropping out, specifically citing uncertainty in being paid. Those who are sticking around are jacking up their rates dramatically to cover themselves with an average increase of fourteen percent to cover potential losses.

And our President has been threatening to pull the plug on CSR’s very month since March. And should this bill pass, unless the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee (HELP) can find a way to appropriate them separately, there won’t be any CSR payments in 2018

So when you hear Republicans talk about how affordable health care needs to be turned over to the states to make it more “cost efficient,” remember which Party has been sabotaging it ever since the ACA’s inception.  Like trying to pass it without proper hearings — or a score from the Congressional Budget Office, hoping to pass it via reconciliation with only a simple majority (51) — but reconciliation ends Saturday, the 30th.

Since they can start reconciliation anew in January, with meaner version getting scored by the CBO, with proper hearings and debate, and still pass with a simple majority, why all fuss? Because they just might pass it, even in the face of overwhelming opposition from medical associations and the American people.

Unlike Senator Chuck Grassley, claiming “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” along with “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.

And when that substance is toxic, what does it say about their policy free philosophy? So how should the American people respond to a dysfunctional Party determined to take us back to the days of the Robber Barons, using the “savings” from cutting health care to fulfill their plutocratic master’s desire for more tax breaks?

By Resisting — Persisting — and Insisting in this year’s state and local elections, particularly the 56th District race, where Melissa Dart will represent your interests far better than Peter Farrell…ahem McGuire could.

Lewalta Haney

Editor’s note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and this is the version that was submitted to Louisa County’s paper of record, the Central Virginian, not the heavily redacted version which appeared in their October 5th edition.


Transparency in Health Care

It is interesting to review some American history as we ponder our concerns about health care delivery in the United States. Going way back there was a short lived health care system of national medical care, with federal government involvement, in the South. In the 20th century the United States was influenced by progressive initiatives for universal coverage supported by a Republican presidential candidate.  Theodore Roosevelt (R), in 1933, and Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) included publicly funded health care programs while drafting provisions to Social Security legislation.  This was eliminated in the final product.

In 1949 President Harry S. Truman (D) proposed universal health care, Lyndon B. Johnson’s (D) proposals created Medicare and Medicaid, and proposals by Ted Kennedy (D) and President Richard Nixon (R) promoted variations of universal health care along with Democrats Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.  President Barack Obama’s universal health care plan became law with the passage of the Affordable Care Act signed in March 2010.  The provision of universal health care has been a centerpiece of political campaigning since then.

Melissa Dart is a candidate for District 56 of the Virginia House of Delegates election.  In addition to being a strong supporter of improved education for our children, Dart has a vast knowledge of how our health care delivery systems work and understands the difference between “access” and affordability.  Melissa holds a Master’s of Science in Health Administration from VCU, has 20 years of experience in healthcare administration, finance, reimbursement, and recognizes the changes necessary to improve the Affordable Care Act.  It is a fact that doctors and hospitals are incentivized to treat illness rather than maintain health.  We, the public, need more transparency in the delivery of our health care so we can keep Virginians and all Americans healthier and have more money in our pockets.  Vote for Melissa Dart on November 7.

Kathy Zeiler, RN, Retired Veterans Affairs Hospital Administrator

Editor’s note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and is a preview of a letter submitted to Louisa County’s paper of record, the Central Virginian, where after 3 weeks it was finally published under a different title in their 10-12 issue, and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.

What Explains Hixon’s Growing Support?

Ben Hixon’s campaign to represent Culpeper in Virginia’s 30th House of Delegates district has been gathering momentum in recent weeks.  Finance reports released last week by the State Board of Elections confirm an impressive showing of grassroots support for Hixon. He took in $26,000 during July and August, not only doubling the total raised by sitting Delegate Freitas, but also bringing in three times the total number of contributions.

“This just shows that when you stay in your district and you focus on the issues that are important to the people who live here, they appreciate it,” Hixon said in a statement after the reports were released. “It’s not about whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.  I’ve been knocking on doors here every single day, and the people I talk to know we need vocational training and reliable internet so our kids can succeed and businesses here have the freedom to grow.

Ben Hixon is one of a new generation of Virginia candidates who eschew traditional party politics to focus on the needs of their constituents.  He is a computer programmer and former National Science Foundation research fellow, and his campaign has focused on bringing freedom and opportunity back to the district by making vocational training and reliable internet access its top priority.

Hixon’s focus on the issues important to our district stands in stark contrast to the incumbent.  Lately, Delegate Freitas has been all over the state:  a winery in Winchester, a distillery in Afton, Liberty University, a photo-op at George Mason. Maybe he would be better off in the U.S. Senate, which the newly-launched Draft Freitas website and Facebook page lead me to believe he’s eyeing a run for, or maybe he’s just doing it for the PAC money – Raytheon PAC, Realtors PAC of Virginia, and Dominion Power all eagerly contributed to his campaign according to the new report. Meanwhile, Ben Hixon has signed a pledge to refuse all campaign contributions from Dominion Power.

I urge readers to check out Hixon’s Facebook page (Ben Hixon for Delegate) where you can hear him discuss the issues in his own words in the videos he records when he’s out knocking on doors.  Here are a few sound bites:

Let’s talk about the party system.  Whether I’m a Democrat or a Republican, that’s not something I usually get asked at the doors.  It’s not something a lot of people care about here.  When we get stuck in our camps, when we disagree with someone simply because we’re in a different camp, that’s when nothing gets done.  That’s what’s wrong with politics today.  We’re stronger as a party and as a country when we can rationally disagree with each other.  It’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right.”

“[One of my constituents] has four kids, aged 14, 15, 16, and 17.  Not all her kids want to go to college.  Not everybody needs a four-year degree.  We need carpenters, plumbers, electricians, computer programmers, let’s give them the skills they need to succeed.”

“[One of my constituents] Just moved here from Korea.  He says we don’t even know what fast internet is.  Their infrastructure is so much better than ours.  That’s criminal in the 21st century.  Reliable, high-speed internet is necessary to work from home, to do our homework, to get jobs, to keep our property values from diminishing.  I’m going to work to build rural broadband internet for everybody.”

The opioid crisis is clearly one of Virginia’s most urgent issues. We must fight the disease of addiction as a community, working together to educate one another on drug safety, alternate coping mechanisms, treatment options, mental health and family services, and Good Samaritan laws. Law enforcement, emergency response teams, social service agencies, schools, clinics, hospitals, and treatment centers should work hand-in-hand to share information, resources, and best practices to address this crisis.”

You can find detailed discussions of Ben Hixon’s views on the issues important to the people of Culpeper on his website,  Check them out.  Do your own research.  Become informed. See what you think about Hixon’s growing support.  And, be sure to vote on November 7th.

Mike McClary

Editor’s note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and was originally scheduled to appear in the September 23rd edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, but for some reason was delayed until the 26th, where it now appears online.


Looking behind the Distractions

If these past few weeks weren’t enough to make you realize that the Drumpf is not one to let empathy or human decency get in the way of self-aggrandizement—even in the face of hurricanes, then nothing will.

His pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio as Harvey was making landfall because the “ratings would be far higher,” was not a coincidence. It came after his remarks about Charlottesville; disingenuously declaring “blame on both sides,” while implying White Nationalist’s are “very fine people.”

According to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, his pardon signals that this Administration will indeed endorse racial profiling and intends to overlook flagrant violations of the law. And remember this is for violating a judicial order, not for federal statutes unlike previous presidential pardons.

When the president issues a pardon for criminal contempt of court, he’s interfering with the ability of another branch of government, the judiciary, to perform its constitutional duties.

And in a separate statement about his decision to end DACA within the next six months, they said “The decision is a tremendous blow to the personal dreams and ambitions of DREAMers. They now are at risk of being exploited in the workplace and deported and prevented from fully contributing to and supporting their families, communities, and country.”

Still, many feel he has betrayed his allies by agreeing with the Democratic leaders to tie hurricane relief into a three-month extension of the debt ceiling and funding the government through early December without seeking any concessions whatsoever.

This what he does; play both sides against each other in order to assert his dominance. Now that Congress has been liberated from funding the government for the next few months, they can give their undivided attention to—tax cuts for the rich before the fiscal year runs out, especially if they can repeal the Affordable Care Act in the process.

Meanwhile, Replicant’s will double down on other distractions; like Brat stating “It is time we keep our promises” whenever discussing the Drumpf’s DACA proclamation. Claiming with a straight face that we are making a ”pretense of American rule of law” by upholding it when in fact, this administration has made a mockery of the law by doubling down on Party’s xenophobic policies.

Brat even implies that “wages have been flat for 40 years,” because of immigration, not even recognizing how close to the truth … I mean edge of conservative heresy he’s come by admitting that reality.

When the real pretense is Republican’s believe in anything but unchecked authoritarianism which ensures the wealth continues to flow upwards. And it’s why John McGuire (56th district) makes a point of hanging out with some of the Commonwealth’s worse legislators; Kirk Cox, John O’Bannon and Bryce Reeves.

Or Duane Adams, running for Supervisor in the Mineral District, minimizing his son’s relationship with Bryce Reeves along with the support they are getting from dark money groups like Americans for Prosperity, coupled with the reality whose bidding they would do if elected.

Jon Taylor

Editor’s Note: this is an advance preview of a letter submitted to Central Virginian. Should it be printed, it will only be available online to paying subscribers, or cross posted here.

Dashed dreams and an emerging American meanness

When did America become such a mean country? Or, more accurately, when did one-third of America become so mean? You can read their comments for yourselves in the Opinions section of the on-line version of this newspaper as well as all over social media. Quite shocking, actually—to me, anyway. You will see them again when this column is posted.

Every day, and in every way, Donald Trump achieves new lows in bad governance – even to the point of throwing his own party under the bus by compromising with Democrats over hurricane relief and raising the debt ceiling to avoid shutting down the government. In my humble opinion, that’s good, but Dave Brat doesn’t think so.

In his latest unwise decision, Trump has announced that he will terminate the protections of the DACA program. DACA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors, to obtain renewable two-year periods of deferred action from deportation as well as eligibility for work permits after application and payment of $500 fees. President Obama instituted the DACA program in June 2012 because Congress failed to act.

As a result, more than 800,000 young people across America came out of the shadows because they were promised that we would let them become lawful, productive members of our society. Trump has turned his back on these Dreamers. Now, it’s okay for ICE to use all their data to root them out and ship them back to countries they have never known.

It is reported that Trump will wait six months before he drops the ax on the necks of the Dreamers. Between now and then, their lives will be thrust into limbo, and pretty much ruined. Who will hire them? Who will enroll them in school? Can Trump make this country any meaner spirited? Stay tuned, it gets worse every day.

The White House rationale is simply not true. The well-worn canard that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans is demonstrably false. A business-by-business review proves this. Those industries that really do take advantage of the undocumented immigrant are those that pay the lowest wages and maximize the drudgery and misery. Anti-immigrant regulations in the agricultural South and West did not draw white workers to the fields—the fruit and vegetables just rotted there.

The most shameful attack is that Dreamers take educational space in colleges and universities away from white citizens. Like everyone else in this country, Hispanic immigrant children can get into community college or university based on their own merit and talents. There are no quotas for them. There are no lawsuits alleging discrimination in favor of immigrants. Immigrants in education are using the most basic of American promises: work hard and you will get ahead. And, most of them do. One hundred percent of them have no criminal records. Ninety-one percent of them are employed, and they pay more than $400 million in taxes.

This latest outrage is just one more example of this administration’s moral and ethical corruption. The Republican conservative wing seems willing to rubber stamp a policy that offers neither hope nor charity. Our very own Congressman, Dave Brat, is a shameless apologist for, and enabler of, Trump’s hatred. Look at his Facebook statement (and read all the comments, too) about the termination of DACA helping to preserve the “rule of law.” This is complete nonsense—but it is hurtful nonsense. He is as cruel as his heartless idol.

Legislation has been offered year after year for decades to create some sort of mechanism to provide and adjust status commensurate with the long contributions undocumented immigrants have made. But the mean-spirited have blocked or stalled every single one. Ronald Reagan effected sweeping immigration reform. Why can’t Republicans of today do the same?

When did we start punishing children for the acts of their parents? When did equalizing white supremacists with those that oppose them become okay? When did demeaning our allies become policy? When did bullying and intimidating people become strategy? When did disparaging women on Twitter become procedure? When did fear, hate, racism and bigotry become American values, morals and ideas? You know when, and many of you should be sorry, embarrassed, and ashamed.

Poised to pounce on undocumented immigrants who have faithfully served our country in uniform, as well as in our local communities, Trump and his ilk are offering neither hope nor charity to any of them. Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durban (D-IL) have proposed bipartisan legislation to protect the Dreamers.

If Congress doesn’t act, families will be torn apart and young people forced back to countries they don’t know. Our economy will lose billions of dollars. We must all get behind opposing Donald Trump’s virulent hatred. It is time for American women and men of good will to stand up for decency.

Mike McClary

Editors Note: This piece is re-posted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared here.