Moms know something about multi-tasking that escapes Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Republicans. It’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Ukraine is about to enter its third year defending itself against Russia. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill providing additional aid to Ukraine, and also to Israel and Taiwan. Johnson and House GOPers balked. 

Those House Repubs fret that we can’t help Ukraine (some adore Putin), or Israel (they strongly support) or Taiwan (they oppose China) until we secure our border with Mexico. They fear America walking will swallow its gum and choke. 

That argument doesn’t cut it. For example, I, a retired man (and not a mom), engage in four writing projects throughout the week: finishing my new novel (Taking Stock appears late May), outlining the next, creating study sheets for the weekly Torah portion and writing this Friday post. 

I also manage to walk at least four miles (over three walks) a day, read, catch up with breaking news on CNN and watch my favorite streaming TV shows. (We just finished season three of Slow Horses starring Gary Oldman. As always, fabulous.) 

Oh, and I have three adult kids to catch up with (imagine working moms caring for children), friends to see and speak with, the usual errands— You get the picture. 

Yet according to GOP lawmakers occupying space on Capitol Hill, our government, with its large executive branch staff, cabinet departments and huge workforce, can’t provide money and weapons—not troops—to allies while restructuring security on our border with Mexico. 

This is the nation that waged war in two separate theaters during World War Two, then rebuilt Europe, including defeated Germany, and Japan afterwards. All while providing for changes in the post-war home front.

Of course, not everybody in Congress feels that America can handle only one issue at a time. A bipartisan Senate team came up with a bill to restrict—not eliminate—asylum seekers coming to America across the Rio Grande. This was similar to earlier legislation proposed by—wait for it!—the GOP. Oh, and we’d also provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. 

No-go for the far right. It seems that Joe Biden is president, and an election approaches in November.

The naysayers oppose such legislation because Donald Trump does. Why? It might work. This could sweep one of Trump’s key campaign issues off the table. But House Republicans loathe inaction and love posturing. All but three voted to impeach Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The Senate will not convict.

Then again, what’s more important? American border integrity or another term for Trump? (Did I use Trumpand integrity in the same sentence?)

Trump did express his concern for American security last Saturday in South Carolina. He would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries “delinquent” in meeting spending targets. 

Charles Dickens opened A Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Welcome to America’s bipolar politics. 

But we can unite to acknowledge the good, improve the mediocre and fix the bad. What’s required? Remove our blinders and walk the walk—one step after another. And treat ourselves whenever we want to a fresh stick of gum.

Please pass on this post.

Order The Short (Pun Intended) Redemptive Life of Little Ned in softcover or e-book from or Or your favorite bookstore.


  1. David Newman on February 16, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    The Republicans’ inability to take yes for an answer reminds of something I learned as an occasional litigator — when the judge says he’s granting your motion, shut up and accept your win and move on. What they did with the immigration/foreign aid package was either stupid or venal. While I usually believe that you should not ascribe to venality what can be explained by stupidity, in this case I’m inclined to believe that are both are operating simultaneously. In at least that sense, they seem to be able to walk and chew gum — or rather trip and choke — at the same time.

    • David Perlstein on February 16, 2024 at 12:30 pm

      I love the image, David.

  2. Sandy Lipkowitz on February 16, 2024 at 5:24 pm

    I’m in Panama researching moving here. With this crazy government, Panama is looking better and better every second.

    • David Perlstein on February 16, 2024 at 8:51 pm

      I hope it doesn’t come to that, Sandy. And I hope you find what you’re looking for if you need it.

Leave a Comment