I listened to Sarah Huckabee Sanders begin her press conference on Wednesday speaking about her role as a working mother in the White House, the honor it is for her to support Donald Trump and the message she hopes she is sending to her daughter Scarlett and other children.
So, consider the “message.”
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Ms. Huckabee Sanders defends a president who, this week alone, has mercilessly bullied his attorney general, dishonored the dignity of his office by delivering an inappropriately partisan speech to the Boy Scouts of America while encouraging the audience to boo his predecessor, announced a transgender ban for the military and ignored the necessity of advancing policy responses to the ominous signs of both North Korea and China flexing their military might. Late Wednesday, the president welcomed Boys’ and Girls’ State participants to the White House. As always, he had to recall his great election victory and engage in the all-too-familiar question and answer routine geared to assure the approving applause he craves.
A former teacher and proud mother of a son who attended a Boy’s State program two decades ago, I fail to understand the message that Huckabee Sanders hopes to communicate to her daughter. That bullying is acceptable? That mocking those public servants who have honorably served the country is likewise acceptable? That there is merit in discriminating against others because of gender identity when they choose to serve their country? That constantly seeking self-aggrandizement and public adulation casts one as a role model? I know the demands on working mothers — I was a working mother. Still, what we mothers do in the workplace does impact our children and I’ll be curious to know how Scarlett, when grown, will view her mother’s role in propping up a president whose message and tone depart so strikingly from all previous occupants of the White House.
Madeline Felix, Evanston
Rauner’s biggest crisis is himself
In response to comments made by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Gov. Bruce Rauner once again played the blame game — one of the things he does best.
During his campaign, Rauner blamed for Gov. Pat Quinn and everyone else for Illinois’ financial woes. Since being in office he has blamed Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the democrats, the legislature, the state supreme court, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago Public Schools and anyone else who fails to accept his “one man” agenda for the problems faced by the state.
Say what you will about Madigan and the democrats, the legislature was always able to reach a compromise and pass a state budget. Rauner’s unwillingness to follow this process caused social service agencies to cut back or eliminate their services to those most in need of them. Just this week hundreds of people mounted a protest at one of Rauner’s homes demanding a restoring of funding to a much needed day care program.
Rauner’s continued unwillingness to compromise brought Illinois to the brink of bankruptcy and the lowering of Illinois ability to borrow to near junk bond status causing extra dollars to pay in higher interest rates. Now the governor says politicians “are holding our children hostage” by not sending him Senate Bill 1. The bill received support from both sides of the aisle. It was approved by many educational leaders throughout the state. The bill is seen as a major step forward in resolving the school funding issues that has plagued this state for years. Rauner, however, is ready to effectively kill the bill because he believes it unfairly benefits CPS because part of the money would go to fund teacher pensions. Yet, Rauner ignores the fact that Chicago is the only district in the state that funds its teachers pensions. All other districts pass the full funding of teacher pensions to the state itself. Also, Chicago teachers are the only ones who must work 34 years to receive full pension benefits. All other teachers are required to work only 30.
If anything, CPS is not being treated on equal terms with all other school districts. The governor doesn’t seem to see it that way. Rauner leveled accusations that, again, these actions were attempts to create another crisis. The next time the governor claims someone is creating a crisis, I hope he realizes that he is gazing in a mirror.
Daniel Pupo, Orland Park