It seems that our political scene doesn’t have many slow days anymore, and now we have a daily ration of news about children from Mexico and Central America arriving at our border for a new life. The Occupant doesn’t want to see them for himself, lest the rest of us do the same via his news entourage. The DHS alternates between brutal sequestration of the immigrants (from the prying eyes of members of Congress, among other people) to abject confusion trying to keep up with the mass of people.
There’s a great deal of speculation about whether the Occupant sent a signal for this rush to start. That may or may not be true. Keep in mind, however, that this is the administration that never let a crisis go to waste (although Rahm Emanuel, the author of that observation, is having a hard time keeping up with the crises facing him in Chicago). So perhaps some perspective is in order.
Immigration reform has two very important political sponsors from both sides of the ideological divide. The left wants people in the country who will vote the way they like, and employers want people in the country who will work the way they like. On the face of it, with our money-sotted political system and pliant media, this should be a slam dunk. It hasn’t because large portions of the population have realised that neither the left nor the employers find them satisfactory these days, but that never stopped a lot of things from happening in this country.
In spite of that, there was a window of opportunity for this to take place. Unfortunately it was blown principally because the Occupant, rather self-righteous in the view he sees in the mirror in the morning, kept moving the goal posts to the point where even those on the Republican side of the aisle who wanted this to take place–and they are many–got tired and walked on the process.
In labour relations, that’s called bad faith bargaining, and it’s one of the no-no’s you’re taught not to do at the start. Unfortunately Americans, too trusting for their own good, don’t understand that people in high places are capable of bad faith negotiations, that trust needs to be established before progress can be made, and that sometimes the best thing to do is to walk.
With that avenue closed, the Occupant decided to play the cards he was dealt in the Executive Branch. In that he has two advantages: a pliant media and an uncritical electorate. The current crisis would have been a disaster for him without both. As it stands it has two important results.
The first is that it takes up a lot of airtime that could be spent on other matters such as the IRS scandal, Benghazi, the weak economy, problems with Obamacare, etc.
The second is that it mobilises his base, which is the road to victory he counts on. It used to be that, to win elections in this country, you had to win the independents. One of the little-heralded results of the 2012 election was that the Occupant won without swinging the independents. Although this lesson is lost on much of the punditry, it wasn’t lost on the Occupant. Some of the “red state Democrats” may get hung out to dry on this, but the Occupant understands what Bill Clinton did: that what’s good for you as a Democrat President and what’s good for Democrats in the House and Senate are two different things.
Given the humanitarian disaster we’re looking at here, this is cold-blooded politics at its worst. Americans aren’t used to this either. Now the Occupant wants several billion dollars to “fix” this problem. Given his penchant for executive action, the only reason he might ask for it is to make his opponents look bad. Probably the best response to this would be for John Boehner to adjourn the House and spare us from this and any other stupid legislation until things cool off (in every sense of the word).
As for the Christian response, we shouldn’t fault any humanitarian response we can make. Chances are DHS will try to play favourites with which church gets in and which doesn’t, but if things get bad enough they may have to hold their liberal noses.
We’re also being told that we’re heartless if we don’t support immigration reform. As a former employer, I’m certainly ready to do it. But I’ve got a question: how about some economic development for places like Mexico and Honduras? Are we so provincially arrogant we think that economic progress only happens here? Why is it that people who can come here and work hard and get ahead can’t do it where they started?
If politics like this become the norm in this country, along with all of the other stunts going on these days, it won’t make as much difference which side of the border you’re on.