More political silliness

“Clinton Strong, Iowa Raises Doubts”

When I see articles like this, I wonder if any actual journalism is going on. I used to write claptrap like that – rumor and guesswork masquerading as information – and it makes for disturbing flashbacks. Yes, it is news to report on trends in the public perception of the candidates, but reporting on those trends should always take a back seat to reporting on policy statements and rigorous analysis of those policies.

The prevailing wisdom is that illegal immigration (currently translated as “the Mexican and terrorist problem”) is going to be the big Republican issue, as they can’t talk about national security save in code anymore – or at least every pundit claims so and the media is only too happy to oblige with stories such as Romney and his lawn care.

You know, we really could be the best country in the world if we actively encouraged immigration from Mexico instead of wasting time keeping people out who want to be here and work, or maintaining a permanent underclass to prop up the economy.
If there is anything I have learned from studying Christian early rhetoric, it is that two of the most fundamental qualities of Christian faith are 1) hospitality and 2) selflessness. Restrictive borders and a hard line on immigration is frankly incompatible with the Christian values that many of these candidates – and not just the GOP candidates – like to brag about, regardless of individual creed.

One of the few things – well, actually, it’s the only thing I can think of – that Bush has done ok on in his presidency is his stance on this issue, encouraging citizenship over deportation. Why wouldn’t we want productive citizens? Doesn’t that contribute to economic growth, the magic conservative cure-all, if I must stoop to making a bottom-line argument?

As for the terrorism angle to this question, I’m currently with the folks that, to paraphrase a thought I’ve seen in many places, that the threat after 9/11 could have been taken care of by simply securing the door to the cockpit on commercial aircraft. No Patriot Act, no Homeland Security, no invasion of Iraq, no squandering of American foreign goodwill. No obsession about terrorism around every corner.

I think the next American president needs to apologize to the Middle East in a major speech. It would be long, as there’s a lot to apologize for in the foriegn policy of the last 50 years or so. I might write it out in another post. Obama would be the perfect person to deliver it, and it would be quoted in history books as a great example of common sense – a new realpolitick, as it would engage all the realities of our involvement there in blunt terms.

Don’t think the U.S. has anything to apologize for? Sorry, I don’t think America has any special hold on truth or morality any more than Rome did. The ability to enforce an idea is not proof of its worth. We’re simply in a position of relative power. That’s all.

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