Peter Cavanaugh


Here we are in the dog days of summer - an old expression referencing the hottest days of the year. These usually run from July 3 through Aug. 11 - a period extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and our sun.

It’s amazing what one can learn spending dozens of decades in hundreds of bars with thousands of interesting folks. Don’t try this unless you’re a professional.

Usually dog days are slower times, but not so this year.

Here’s July winding down with the powerfully porcine presence of Donald Trump facing “great danger” at the Mexican border while surrounded by enough bodyguards to annex Nuevo Laredo. And there’s Congress with Republican members chanting their “No Iran Agreement” talking points like mad monks on mescal.

Then we have those knee jerks in the House of Representatives yielding to Trump initiated, headline grabbing, anti-Mexican hysteria and voting 241 to 179 - passing legislation cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that shield residents from federal immigration authorities. This deserves special attention.

A young lady was randomly shot and killed in San Francisco by a Mexican national who had been deported five times in the past. This horrible tragedy provided convenient accelerant for a wild GOP stampede seeking instant remedy with maximum press coverage. So the Republican Party suddenly found it functionally expedient to elevate federal over state and/or local law in an absolute reversal of their normal philosophical stance.

Political vice must become a virtue when it’s on your side of the aisle, intellectual integrity falling victim to handy hypocrisy.

The tiniest bit of investigation quickly reveals that San Francisco is not the only “sanctuary city” in America. There are hundreds more, designated as such by municipal ordinances supported and endorsed by local law enforcement. These include Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Salt Lake City, El Paso, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle.

It’s simply a matter of efficiency and practicality. Local, county and state authorities say they have enough to deal with without getting into the potential minefield of immigration enforcement. Additionally, involvement in this area has been found to greatly hinder successful cooperation and communication between undocumented residents and law enforcement.

In threatening a presidential veto, the White House says this bill would threaten the civil rights of all Americans by allowing governmental officials to gather immigration status information from any person at any time, making citizens subject to purely arbitrary stop and search procedures from coast to coast.

The most baffling phenomenon of all can be found in the many Trump supporters proudly proclaiming that “The Donald” speaks for them with every word. Every random sixty seconds of his squealing rants contain a myriad of immediately evident self-contradictions, leaving George Orwell’s fabled “1984 doublespeak” far behind in the past.

Unfortunately, that’s not all these dog days of summer are leaving here in Oakhurst.

He will be remembered as a community stalwart, a good man and a fine friend.

An unavoidable aspect of the aging process is to find oneself in ever increasing acceptance of the impermanency of earthly life - each new year exponentially increasing the tally of those we know who’ve gone beyond.

I was saddened to learn that Dale Miller passed away last week after an extended battle with cancer. Although we tended to occasionally entertain varying political perspectives, Dale provided charming and delightful company without fail whenever our paths crossed. He was a joy to behold and cheerful to the end.

Whenever I saw Dale, he made me smile.