Friday, February 19, 2016

Pope Francis, Donald Trump, and Immigration

As to the current contretemps regarding Donald Trump and Pope Francis, let me first say that I have no problem with countries wanting to control their borders.

 I remember riding on the train in Europe from Milan to Zurich about eight years ago and a stern-looking Swiss policeman coming down the aisle checking passports, including ours. It didn't bother or offend me that the Swiss wanted to be sure who was entering their country. That's completely understandable, and it's the same with every other country, including our own.

 Of course, the US is uniquely an immigrant society, including six of my eight great grandparents from Sweden. But it still must be done in accordance with US law, which has changed over the centuries of our history, waxing and waning with regard to how much immigration is allowed. 

Furthermore, immigration into America is and has been VERY controlled for folks who don't sneak in illegally. A couple of years ago, I was trying to help a young Swedish cousin of mine obtain a work permit to live in the US for a couple of years, so I went to our local Congressman's office (Howard Coble) to see what could be done. It clearly was going to be a long, difficult process to make that happen, so it didn't happen, which of course disappointed me. But I wasn't about to advise my cousin to skirt the law and try to enter illegally.

 So, I say let's work this immigration situation out in a political deal between the Congress and the President and in the process make sure that persons entering/living in the US are doing so in accordance with the law.

 As for the Pope said, having just listened to a video of him making the remarks about Trump in a language other than English, I want to think that something didn't come across in the translation and that he wasn't making the statement as it is currently being translated. In other words, I'm going to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt on this for now, admiring him as I do.

 Yes, the Pope is very liberal on immigration, by which I mean that he supports treating immigrants and refugees in a very loving and merciful way. But at the same time, I tend to believe that it would out of character for him to judge Trump to not be a Christian in this matter. That doesn't sound like something he would say. So that's where I am for now.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Predictions for the 2016 Iowa Caucuses

Predictions for tonight's Iowa caucuses?

Here's my analysis. On the Republican side, it's obviously a squeaker with Trump or Cruz on top, with Rubio third. Trump probably has the momentum, but the question is whether he can get his supporters out to the caucuses, many of whom have never participated before. The evangelicals are strong there in the Iowa Republican, so that part of me thinks that Cruz will probably end up taking it. But I wouldn't be surprised if Trump pulls it out. If Cruz loses tonight, he's effectively out of the race, and Trump is strengthened for the rest of the race.


On the Democratic side, it's also a squeaker between Sanders and Clinton. Sanders has the passion, while Clinton has the machine. If Sanders wins here, then in New Hampshire, it could be a long primary season. If Clinton wins tonight, then she will probably wrap up the nomination quickly. In other words, a lot is riding on this outcome tonight.