Join us this week in sending up a chorus of “get over yourself” to our pixel nation of the habitually outraged.
Granted, it is embarrassing to hear reports of a president openly insulting millions of people by referring to their homelands as…”outhouse?” countries. (You know what they said he said. Such language may be acceptable in Washington, but we won’t be using it here in our hometown newspaper.)
Whether these reports are accurate or not, we told you what to expect if we elected the republican or the democrat in 2016. We thought it unlikely anyone could go from shaving heads at a WWE match to diplomacy on the world stage without a few upsets. But this verbal cage match we find ourselves in is not going to accomplish anything, and it’s interfering with the work that needs doing.
Politically, Trump seems to have stepped right into an open privy. The talking heads of the pixel nation collapsed on their fainting couches or ascended to the holier-than-thou heights of indignation and judgment and virtue signalling. Criticism is certainly warranted, but to anyone with a memory for history or a sober outlook for our economic future, the current frenzy is tainted by a measure of cultural illiteracy and hypocrisy.
There is a long list of foul mouthed presidents, and presidents who held private opinions that we would consider reprehensible. Most had enough discretion to keep those private views private. The stable genius currently occupying the White House does not bother with discretion. What you see is what you get, on any given day. Still, to telegraph such contempt on the verge of what promised to be a bipartisan agreement on immigration invites questions. Was it a blunder, or a crass manipulation to further another agenda?
Our broken and outdated immigration policies are in dire need of update and repair. We are confident that those who agree do not share the kind of prejudice to which the president is accused of giving voice. We are glad that prejudice is being called out, but we are troubled that this mission to seek and destroy every hint of bias or racism sometimes resembles the hunt for communism during the McCarthy years.
A sober look at the numbers reveals the simple fact that our country needs immigrants -tens of millions of immigrants to burden with the taxes that will be needed to pay the bills already owed. Every single day about 10,000 Baby Boomers retire, and this will continue unabated for the next twenty years. By 2030 there will be over 100 million living here who are 65 and older.
Some prefer immigrants with a demonstrated ability to contribute to our economy and our culture. Others believe they hold a higher ground where humanity trumps nationality, (and perhaps math as well), and they would prefer to invite the huddled masses with fewer restrictions, in the hope that our superior society would create from them the productive citizens we need. Any hope of compromise, however, lies in the shared belief at the very core of our national identity, that the best people we could hope might join us can be found in every nation.
We hope that the President’s indiscretion and potty mouth does not fatally wound our chances of fixing immigration through bipartisan cooperation, but in all likelihood now we will have a democrat majority in the House after the midterm elections. An unpopular president and a divided Congress does not bode well for compromise, and if this government continues to behave like so many governments have, the chance to legislate for the good of the country will again take a back seat to the scramble for political advantage.
If we don’t get our act together, and soon, many will suffer that need not suffer, and many will fear, both inside and outside our borders, that need not fear. It’s anyone’s guess how much longer the can will continue to be kicked down the road until it runs into a fiscal wall that will do more to limit immigration than any physical structure ever could, at which time we, ourselves, will begin to transform into an “outhouse” country.
Since politicians watch polls like geologists watch seismographs, maybe we can help improve this outcome by adopting a more pragmatic position ourselves. This is a challenge in an environment where we see a bat or a butterfly depending on whether we are a democrat or a republican. We need to see truly, but we lack the necessary perspective.
To gain that perspective, let’s tighten our emotional belts and lace up our boots. Our country has never been led by saints. In every step forward we have taken as a nation, we have been accompanied, if not led, by “rogues and thieves,” and supported by those who did the dirty jobs that we prefer not to know about. Our past leaders were essentially identical to the ones under which we now suffer, with the same character flaws and the same massive egos.
Politics is like sausage – it’s a lot more appetizing when we don’t see how the sausage is made. What is different today is that we have a front row seat at the slaughterhouse where we can see every pixel of the worst parts of the process, and where we can be easily manipulated by our shock and our indignation. It’s time to get up from the fainting couch and step down from the lofty perch and roll up our sleeves, and that applies equally to liberals and conservatives. At stake is whether our nation’s ship of state will move forward, or continue in circles with two sides paddling in opposite directions.