In My Own Words: What not to pay attention to


With Facebook posts and Twitter tweets and masses of other information blasted over the television and Internet, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material. It’s also far too easy to focus on the unimportant things, which distract us from the real problems to which we should be paying attention. Below are some of the things we should ignore. Writing about them is fun, though, which explains why so many people can’t stop talking about them. 
Ivanka Trump’s e-mail
Some people feel like this is the best joke in the universe. After President Donald Trump declared over and over again when he was on the campaign trail that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server was illegal, it turns out that his daughter has been using her private e-mail address for government business. Perhaps Ivanka Trump didn’t listen to her father during his campaign, when he frequently condemned Clinton and led people in chanting that Clinton should be arrested and jailed. Ivanka claims she was unaware of the rules, which makes this even funnier because, again, Clinton’s e-mail use still plays a role in many rallies led by her father. Well, in the grand scheme of what the Trump administration is doing to our country, it’s really not worth our time and effort to get worked up about this. Two congressional committees are looking into this and a decision will be made without our input. However, every Clinton supporter can (in private) have one moment of fun by chanting, “Lock her up!” OK, now it’s time to move on and let government officials do their job.
Red trees
Twitter was agog last week over the latest White House Christmas decorations. The private quarters of the White House have been decorated with two rows of dark red trees with no decorations on them. Twitter users have been having a ball calling the trees “blood red” and making really nasty comments about them. I’ve written before how Melania Trump is not an elected official and her personal life should be her own. The interesting thing is that if an avant-guarde artist had done this as an installation, critics might be praising it as biting commentary on the current administration. I don’t think that Mrs. Trump is trying to comment on our society, though. I’m guessing that she likes this look. Really, though, who cares about her decorating style? She’s the one who has to live with the trees and, if they make her happy, it’s none of our business. If you don’t like them, fine. But unless you want the public commenting on your holiday decorations (or lack of them), it’s time to think about something else.
Birthright citizenship
President Trump has said several times recently that he wants to end birthright citizenship and plans to do so through an executive order. This is contrary to the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution that says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” An executive order can’t override the Constitution. In fact, adding a new amendment to the Constitution is a long and arduous process. Even if Trump issues his order (which is debatable), the court system would declare it unconstitutional. If a court says that the president can add or discard parts of the U.S. Constitution at will, then we have far greater things to worry about since this would undermine the basic structure of our government. What I think Trump’s statement does is distract us from the many real changes his government has made about who can enter our country. That’s something to which we should be paying attention.