Confusion, and Why

Yes, we watched the entire Republican show Wednesday, under-card and main bout. Oddly, where we were prepared to scoff and roll about on the floor in laughter, we didn’t.

This is troubling to us. Does this mean we are becoming inured to the quality of the would-be nominees? Are they not as miserable as we originally thought? Are we, too, being seduced by empty words, gestures, make-believe?

Putting the ineffable Trump aside, we saw glimmers of talent and thought from others. Not only Ms.Fiorina, but Chris Christie, John Kasich, even Jeb Bush. Could it be that the longer we are exposed to these people, the more likely their success seems possible?

There is a reason why we were willing to devote time and thought to the extended line-up of wanna-be’s. It’s called Syria.

When Barack Obama drew his infamous line in the sand, and then, seeing it crossed, did nothing, we were ashamed. We watched this lack of courage give an assist to ISIS, who were beginning their beheadings. And while ISIS did horrible things to people and ancient property, Assad –using the world’s shock and dismay as cover – began again to gas his own people. The US and Europe combined did nothing. As Assad dropped cluster-bombs and mustard gas, we kept telling ourselves there were no easy answers. We couldn’t find the illusive “moderate Syrian” to whom we might have offered technical and tactical support, not to mention real weaponry.

Our president had caved, period. We as a nation caved. Even now, as millions of refugees flee from south to north, we are behaving wretchedly. There is no earthly reason why the US cannot take in and support at least one million refugees at any time or place.

Which is why we attended with clean ears the Republican debates.

We did not expect to hear a candidate make the same statement. After all, politics is politics and people are fearful. And certainly there is some danger to our internal security.

But we have millions of unoccupied and even arable acres across the country on which to settle immigrants. Economically, we have good reason to ask refugees to come. We need them if we are to maintain our system of social welfare. To put it baldly, without hundreds of thousands of new workers, there won’t be sufficient underpinning to keep paying our retirees and baby-boomers moving into that class what they expect and deserve. We need man power; we need woman power. We need the energy and ideas of hard-working, committed citizens or even guest-workers to help keep America youthful and generous.

These new people are not charity cases. They’re imperative and valuable. In Germany, for example, the birth-rate is declining and the government there is solving the worker problems by adding 800,000 schooled and unschooled people to their work-rolls. Most of Northern Europe faces the same situation.

And so, to be honest, do we.

We fear “anchor babies” because of the drain on our budgetary abilities, and we fear being overwhelmed by people of different colors and cultures. We fear being in the minority. This is not our finest hour.

Immigration as a national obsession is a lot more than fearing for one’s own job, or even one’s own safety.

We have to leave the details of how this works to Congress – never a good solution, but they’re the only life line we’ve got. Some fear amnesty; some fear fourteenth amendment babies. Some fear any form of citizenship on the theory that new people will take the jobs older Americans no longer want or can do. Some fear for the social quilt we already have, wherein we help support needy people of all kinds with food stamps, public education, healthcare. Some fear the expense. Some fear the fear itself.

We appear to the rest of the world as cultural cowards and near-sighted racists.

What man or woman on that stage Wednesday night last can handle all this in a timely, sensible, brave and common-sensical way? Are we destined to keep the status quo that eventually will lead to disaster? Will “special interests” force us not to change so that their bottom lines will never be less than they are now?

For liberals such as ourselves, these are hard times which force us to examine candidates we otherwise would reject out of hand.

Confusion reigns and we cannot yet imagine the future. Just as the very sight of drowning refugees is almost impossible to imagine.
Daily life is changing, and we have to change with it. Who can lead us?


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