Bill Larsen: The poison arrow
Don Rogers hit the nail on its head in his column on immigration and “the wall” controversy. And he did it in a way that drove home the nail (i.e. his point) without splintering the wood.
How did he do this? He simply stated the facts and refrained from partisan blame and rhetoric.
And what was Don’s point? It’s not for me to say, but here’s my take on the article. The “crisis on the Southern border” is a political hoax and does not exist (unless one is considering “executive privilege” run amok). The radical right doesn’t need to get all uptight here, no need to call 911 on some arcane liberal conspiracy. The public record speaks for itself.
Even conservative research verifies that immigrants commit fewer crimes than we native-born; drug smuggling is channeled far more through legal points of entry rather than by individual drug runners; and illegal immigration on the southern border has decreased in recent years.
Sorry guys, that’s just the way it is.
Facts are building blocks to the truth, the raw materials that hopefully lead to the formation of intelligent conclusions. They don’t solve problems, they clarify them. Unfortunately, our contemporary news media is riddled with talking heads spouting polarized rhetoric that distorts factual reality and keep us hopelessly (and mindlessly) at odds. And what they’re showing is a reckless disregard for factual reality in the administration’s bizarre border and immigration policy.
Still, it would be an uphill task to demand that the media reform, and do their job as investigative journalists, probing the public sector to maintain transparency in governmental affairs (perhaps a boycott of media outlets that fail to do so might help). But it would be one that is in the best interests of both progressives and conservatives. Or would it?
Cleaning up the news media is one aspect of any real effort to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but is this something our vehemently adversarial representatives truly want? Or would they prefer to continue kowtowing to their political base, sucking up to lobbyists and glorifying their personal egos? The congressional freshman class might offer an exception to this pattern, but danger lurks behind their exuberance.
The Democrats took back the house in the last election, and stand poised to make larger gains in the 2020 elections. That’s good news for anyone left of the extreme right, but will these young lions seek to unify the country or further divide it? For sure, the Democrats and the country have been damaged by the destructive antics of the Trump administration, and many on the progressive left are itching for revenge. How sweet that taste would be, but how devastating to any level of national unity.
Actually, there is an ancient wisdom story that relates to this issue. I paraphrase:
A man stumbles into a village with a poison arrow stuck in his chest. The village doctor comes and says to remove the arrow immediately. But the man says no, he must first find where the feather in the arrow came from so he can locate the tribe who shot him and get revenge. The doctor says he will die if the arrow isn’t immediately removed, but the man is adamant. He must find a way of exacting revenge before he saves himself.
Pretty stupid, right? But this is exactly the precarious position in which the Democrats find themselves.
Here’s a thought: language like “we gonna impeach the mother ______” will not antidote the poison that has overtaken the public discourse in recent times. Such language and behavior will only serve to frighten the political opposition and strengthen their political base. Perhaps, in our situation, removing the thorn involves cleaning up our own alienating and counter-productive language rather than ditching Donald Trump midstream.
Sure, impeachment would be a thrilling — but illusory — balm for those despising the president. But I would advise against doing so.
Donald Trump is the poster boy for a right-wing agenda that would undo decades of Democratic achievement by both sides of the aisle. He also appears to be a self-serving megalomaniac who has earned the ridicule of nations around the world. His stock is plummeting, and will fall much lower when the Mueller report and other investigations are complete.
The cause of democracy would be far greater served by having the Republicans limping into the 2020 elections with their would-be king (and his inhumane agenda) in tatters before his beleaguered constituency.
Bill Larsen lives in Nevada City.
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