Donald Trump filed his paperwork to run for reelection only hours after his inauguration in January 2017, setting a presidential record, the first of his many dubious achievements. For a man who relished the adulation and bombast of campaigning, it should have surprised no one that he charged out of the starting gate so quickly for 2020 as well.
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For the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope has addressed a letter to the entire population of 1.2 billion Catholics on the topic of sex abuse by clergy. In the scathing 2,000-word letter, Pope Francis wrote, “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.” Last week in Pennsylvania, a grand jury report revealed how more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused 1,000 children, and possibly thousands more, over seven decades and that the church leadership covered up the abuse.
I was born Boston Irish Catholic, did First Communion and Confession (but balked at Confirmation, I am pleased to note), went to a Catholic junior high and a Jesuit college, and taught at a Catholic high school. The first and only CCD (think “Sunday School”) teacher I ever had was the now-notorious rapist of children, Father Paul Shanley. Suffice it to say, I know the Church, and can still recite the “Our Father” prayer in Latin. Pater noster, qui est en chaelis, etc. etc. etc.
Earlier this month, I happened to spend an afternoon in southwestern Pennsylvania shooting the breeze with an ardent Trump supporter. In fact, I not-so-accidentally ruined his whole day.
Other than shouting about building a wall on the US-Mexico border, one of Donald Trump’s most frequently proclaimed promises on the 2016 campaign trail was the launching of a half-trillion-dollar plan to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure (employing large numbers of workers in the process). Eighteen months into his administration, no credible proposal for anything near that scale has been made.