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How to set right this uneasy world?

December 26, 2018

In the middle of our beautiful Christmas season in Santa Fe, events from the outside continue to intrude — as is only natural, since we all are part of the bigger world. Sadly, so many problems today are self-inflicted.

From the White House, a strange tweet from President Donald Trump on Christmas Eve, “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.” President Donald Trump wants his $5 billion for the wall and he wants it now. Or else.

The or else, in just the early days of a government shutdown, has been profound. The stock market tumbled Christmas Eve and is now at a 52-week low, on track for its worst December ever. The situation is enough to make individual investors — the ones who need market returns to finance retirement and college for their children — unsettled and afraid.

On the border, where a wall will not bring the security Trump trumpets, we still hold children and parents in unsavory detention. Two children are reported to have died in custody, with a second death reported on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropped off hundreds of migrants at a downtown El Paso bus station late Sunday night. There was no advance warning to area shelters, who scrambled to help the hundreds of people. On Christmas. (One place to send assistance, if you choose, is to Annunciation House at www. annunciationhouse.org.)

Meanwhile, top advisers to the president continue to resign. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned after Trump decided to pull troops out of Syria; Mattis was to have stayed until February, but Trump pushed him out sooner. Mattis, as the saying goes, was considered one of the “adults” in the White House. There aren’t any left.

And the shutdown continues, because Congress is home for the holidays while federal workers wonder if — or when — they will be paid. In New Mexico, where the federal presence is strong because of the military and national laboratories, other big impacts will come at national parks and monuments, since about 80 percent of the Interior Department employees have been furloughed. Most parks are remaining open without staff, which means there are no restrooms, trash pickup or other services at the site.

Here’s the message about the shutdown from the National Parks Service website: “During the federal government shutdown, this website will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions. Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities. For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.”

In other words, you are on your own. Which seems, in truth, a metaphor for how the government operates today. Our allies our on their own. Citizens are on their own

And also on his own, whether in fact or in mind, is a president who turns on a whim, acting without consultation or contemplation, unable to check his impulses.

Now, how to set him right, and with him, our uneasy world?

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