One of these things is not like the other.


Many of you of a certain age will remember this song, even if you don't want to.





I thought of this the other day as I followed the Trump administration's efforts to unseat Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro. None of us who believe in a progressive democracy can argue with the attempts to oust the man, except that Trump doesn't believe in a progressive democracy any more than we believe that Trump is qualified for, well, for anything.


In truth, the Venezuelan people are suffering under Maduro's policies—medicine and food shortages are worsening—and at first glance opposition leader Juan Guaidó seems to be the country's salvation. Situations like this, of course, are always fluid, and what we think we know usually differs from the facts. That doesn't mean we can adopt a wait-and-see attitude: aid is needed now.


It's quite a quandary for a president whose innate loyalty rests with Maduro. If you compare the situation to the Sesame St. song, imagine Putin, Duterte, and Mohammed bin Salman as the three sneakers. Maduro would be another sneaker: Guaidó is the boot.


Trump doesn't care for leaders with humanitarian motivations. He prefers the boot-on-the-throat (not the red striped boot) approach to government, as embodied by his pals in Russia, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. But unfortunately, Venezuela comprises many Venezuelans, and many of them now live, or have relatives living in Florida. With 2020 approaching, the party of Trump cannot afford to alienate a large Latino voting bloc, regardless of Trump's personal bias.


So it's all in to help the Venezuelan people, while we continue to turn a blind eye to Putin in Crimea, Duterte's extrajudicial murder campaign, and the misery that used to be called Yemen.


In the end the "one of these things that doesn't belong" is the American president tasked with making humanitarian choices when he possesses no humanity. We've seen immigrant children in cages: we know the real Trump. His "concern" for the welfare of anyone outside his own tiny coterie begins and ends at the ballot box.



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