Mr. Trump has been working hard. Yuge hard. So hard that he’s taking his third Palm Beach vacation of his presidency.
So hard, I’m taking my first vacation of the year and going to Palm Beach myself. No, really. I have relatives there and it was planned even before this Trump fiasco began. Believe me. I need that vacation. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.
Chicago is celebrating what they’re calling Not My President’s Day. Maybe by Monday, we’ll have our own Not My President’s Day planned in Dallas.
On the bright side, Trump’s already solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the immigration problem (you know, the one where people come to this country to work), the refugee problem (where victims of oppressive governments and war try to find a place to not be killed) and issued an Amber Alert for every child in the country as his choice for Education Secretary got sworn in.
The one issue that seems to be at the center of a lot of really bad policy and really confuses me is immigration. People here know they’re all immigrants, right? My grandparents and great-grandparents first arrived in the 1860s and were all in this country by 1905 and came from places like the Netherlands, Hungary, Alsace and Romania — and that makes me from an immigrant family.
Or am I unusual in knowing anything about my family history?
And my grandparents and great-grandparents all arrived with exactly the same documentation as a six-year-old who floats across the Rio Grande on a tire — absolutely none. That’s because passports and visas weren’t invented until later. And neither they nor more recent immigrants are rapists, terrorists or any other pejoratives being hurled at them. They just decided to come to the U.S. for a better life and they stayed.
Well, except my father’s father.
His brothers were already here and sent back stories of the streets being paved with gold. But when he arrived, no gold.
So he went back to Austria-Hungary.
Before his first trip to America, my grandfather had already served in the Kaiser’s army and, when he got back to Europe, the Kaiser was talking war. Sxo my grandfather high-tailed it back to New York. The Lower East Side was pretty slummy, but by then his brothers had moved to New Jersey and started small, downtown department stores. He met my grandmother and they opened Taffet’s Department Store in Nutley, N.J.
So this immigration issue that I’m just not understanding — I’m not arguing doing away with documentation. I am saying I simply understand. I don’t have this raging hatred that I’m seeing all around me for people with or without documentation. I don’t understand the cruelty with which immigrants are being treated.
All that leads me to believe that most people in this country don’t know their own family histories, and that’s sad. Or they honestly don’t understand that they are immigrants, too. If you see other people through your own family’s story, you have to understand we’re all much more similar than different.
So Monday is President’s Day. It’s meant to honor all past U.S. presidents. Slave-owning presidents. Presidents who established the National Parks System and fought for civil rights legislation and Social Security and Medicare. Presidents who dragged us into the Great Depression as well as those who dragged us out. Presidents who declared war and presidents who ended wars. Those who welcomed immigrants and those who didn’t.
And even for a recent president who is still on vacation out of the country and is beginning to piss me off just a little bit even though I’m not sure what he could do even if he were back. So this year, I think I’m just going to pass on Presidents Day.