Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sick Conservative Border "Logic"

The current situation at our southern border is indeed a crisis. Children are risking their lives to travel hundreds of miles through dangerous areas in order to get to the U.S. in the hope that they can escape dire circumstances in their home countries. The ones who survive arrive here bruised, bleeding, and frequently sick. It may never be possible to determine who started the rumor that if they only got across the border, they would be guaranteed asylum and eventual citizenship.

Thanks to a law passed during the Bush administration, procedures are in place to determine these kids' origins, health, family status, etc. It takes time, experienced legal and medical personnel, record keeping, and housing. In short, providing for a humanitarian approach to this crisis is the least we should be doing. Awareness campaigns in the home countries are nice, too, and may or may not ultimately be effective. Keep in mind that, for these children, dealing with months or years of the American immigration procedures is preferable to dealing with whatever violent and oppressive stuff is going on in their home countries.

Clearly, tens of thousands of them feel the risks of the journey are worth whatever the potential rewards of arrival may be. What I find most revealing is the attitude so many conservatives have about the crisis. We can quickly move past all the Obama blaming, since that is a given anytime anything happens anywhere ever. No, what I would prefer to discuss is this whole thing about border security and what conservatives truly mean when they babble about it.

Let's imagine, for a moment, that all those "build a fence" right-wing xenophobic conservatives actually got their way. The entire southern border would have an 'Escape From New York' style wall, kept in good repair, dotted with watchtowers and patrolled on a regular basis. Except, of course, for the fact that our border patrols would be trying to keep people out rather than in.

These conservatives clearly don't think such a border wall would, in and of itself, be a deterrent. I gather many of them would actually prefer to see sick, starving people turned away (or even fired upon). The Venn diagram of Second Amendment psychos and anti-immigration quasi-nationalists has quite a bit of overlap.

It is revolting enough that the vast majority of these people can claim to be rabidly prolife while regularly and jubilantly turning their backs on the most vulnerable of our own citizens. To that extent, it shouldn't shock us to see them doing exactly the same thing to foreigners.

What they propose with this "border security" crap is a sick blend of psychopathy and sociopathy: they actually WANT to see a situation where desperate children risk their lives traveling hundreds of miles to get to a country in which they have very little chance of staying; upon reaching our border they see a wall manned with armed guards and drones. The people on the wall KNOW those children are sick and probably starving. They KNOW those children came here essentially on a one-way ticket. They KNOW those children will probably die within a week or two, if not given proper medical attention.

And the people on the wall will have no authority to help those children. All those cumbersome legal procedures and experts will have been done away with, of course: remember, in our imagined world, the conservatives would have gotten their way. These are the people who dont really want to replace anything, just repeal it. They never propose a better idea because--for some reason--they can get votes without going to the trouble of developing alternative approaches.

Their immigration policy isn't a policy. It is a wall behind which We The People will proudly wear our AR-15s at Chick-Fil-A and chuckle at the latest reports of forced emigration and deportation, knowing that desperate, starving children are rotting in the northern Mexican sunshine. Wave your flags, everyone! They want the "greatest nation in the history of the world" to express in physical terms the most amoral and evil policy of all: the refusal to help when help is so desperately needed.

Yes, there is a crisis at our borders. Real lives are at stake. Yet the party that allegedly "stands for life" and claims perfect alignment with our "Judeo-Christian values" seems to be just fine with forgetting to love their neighbors as themselves.

When your neighbor's house is on fire, you don't haggle over the price of the garden hose.