Once again, the Senate has killed the unpopular bill which would, judging from the vitriol hurled around in the past month, have surrendered the United States to a hated foreign power, replaced all happiness and joy with dismal angst, banished the sun and the laughter of children from our lives, and subjected the nation to the maniacal designs of the denizens of hell. Of course, the actual bill did none of those things, but the hatred against it took on a dark identity of its own, and rational debate was one of its first victims. There was a palpable rage in many circles, many of whom took it upon themselves to declare that they spoke for America. This basilisk of political correctness prowls the halls in both parties, always hungry, never forgiving. Consequently, I am not optimistic that we will now move forward towards a functional decision.
The problem here, is that while the bill is once again entombed in that most formidable of mausoleums, the United States Senate, whose Majority Leader so reminds one of funerals and loss, the issues which initially gave energy to the conception of that well-meaning but poorly-built legislative spawn are still corroding the security and commonwealth of the nation. People of goodwill are now morally compelled to consider the next step, which will be difficult regardless of its author. One unfortunate hallmark of this bill’s presence, was the common use of character assassination. Many unfortunate statements made no attempt at all to address the issue, but instead attacked proponents and opponents personally, and even many influential individuals who have profited from their association with certain leaders, did not hesitate to lie about their statements, the context, or their motives. The public now regards the entire federal government, across the board, as dishonest and of no integrity, as well as both major parties. The cost of this season of spite is high, indeed. The worst may yet be still to come, as well. The nation is not well-served by narcissism on such a scale, but we were not consulted, either by the legislators, nor by those famous mandarins in the old and new media, and so we must hang on as best we can, and hope that God brings a miracle. He’s done that before, but at other times He has delivered us the leaders we asked for, a torment devoutly to be feared.
But to the issues. The whole mess is not one issue, as I have said over and over again, but a set of issues, and part of the problem is that the people working on the Hill have bollixed up even explaining what they are trying to do. And that thought gave me the starting point for trying to unravel this mess. You see, Americans have some ideas about what they want, and the Congress, strange as they have been acting, may be said in general to want the right things. The problem is that the bills they have put up for consideration are just not dealing with things effectively. I have remarked, when someone says to just do “X”, that he is presenting a goal, rather than a plan to accomplish that goal. And it occurs to me, that they are right, in that Congress is not being clear about its goals, and until they do that much, they are bound to get the plans wrong for making those goals happen.
The goals Congress is pursuing are not clear. They say they don’t want “Amnesty”, but some opponents say that’s where the bill leads, while other opponents demand a clear vote for amnesty. Congress says they want to secure the border, but won’t state specifics on how they plan to make that happen. Congress says they will punish employers who hire illegals, but not how they will avoid hurting legitimate businesses with undue bureaucracy, or how they will make the charges stick. But worse than that, Congress did an amazingly-poor job of bringing supporters on board. They did not invite comments or suggestions, they did not have regular debates in public on key provisions, they did not pay attention to the flood of emails and letters from their constituents, and they failed to make sure they included professionals in their discussions, like INS and Border Patrol agents, people who actually worked the front lines and who could have supplied critical credibility for their decisions. Even those Americans who saw good things in the bill, found it uncomfortable that the bill seemed to be forced on America. Good managers should not rush decisions, especially when those decisions are controversial, and yet there is no evidence that even a single Senator warned off his colleagues from the way they approached this bill. I’m not saying the bill is good – early on, I said I did not like it because it no effective enforcement provisions, but if you’re going to reprise the delivery of the 10 Commandments, you’d better be able to sell yourself as Charlton Heston.
I have mid-terms coming up, so I don’t have the time to put together a decent argument for what I would like to see done, but for now, I would like to see us all try the following:
1. Let go of the insults and the anger of the last month – it will do no good to dwell on it, if you’re honest you will probably have to admit you said a few things you should not, and in any case old feuds is something for hillbillies and Sicilian crime families, not rational adults;
2. Chill for a few days, enjoy the coming holiday;
3. Remember that a politician is just a politician; and
4. Come back later with the attitude that something constructive can be built. If someone wants to act like a rabid dog, you don’t have to join him.
Just a thought …