Much of the reaction to Barack Obama’s illegal granting of amnesty by executive decree reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about our government’s intended nature. Illustrative of this misunderstanding is pundit Geraldo Rivera, who opined Thursday that “Republicans had it coming” because they “allowed their House Leadership to be rendered irrelevant by anti-immigration radicals” who have “zero intention to do anything on immigration except build higher fences and hire more border guards.” He furthermore states that if Obama “waited for the House GOP” to do something on immigration, “we would have waited forever.”
First note that building higher fences and hiring more border guards — aiding the executive branch in its legitimate role of enforcing the law — is hardly “doing nothing.” Moreover, if the liberals really wanted something done, all Obama had to do was assent to the Republican proposals. Oh, why should he just capitulate and give the opposition what it wants?
Fair enough. But doesn’t my suggestion merely reflect the attitude liberals have taken? The GOP is supposed to give them what they want, and if it doesn’t, it’s to be viewed as some kind of code violation that justifies liberals’ law violation.
In fact, as is common today and aided and abetted by a complicit media, the Left has turned reality on its head: They have portrayed enforcement of existing law and a securing of the border as if it’s a mere proposal to be debated (at best) and the change they desire as if it’s the status quo. Amnesty is the default position — and deviation from that “radical” agitation.
Enforcing existing laws is, again, Obama’s job as chief executive. And the attitude he and his fellow travelers have adopted would be comical were it not so destructive to our republic. They essentially have engaged in blackmail, saying “We won’t enforce existing laws unless you give us more laws, the ones we want.” The obvious question is, if the Left won’t enforce existing laws — if they, in fact, have refused to do so for decades — why should we think they’d enforce future laws designed to secure the border? The reality is that the Left has no intention of stopping illegal migration because it’s one way they import their voters.
Speaking of voters, polls consistently show that Republicans oppose amnesty; this means those so-called “anti-immigration radicals” are simply representing their constituents. Is this so shocking in a representative republic? Do Rivera and other leftists consider the millions of Americans who gave the GOP the largest House majority margin since the Hoover administration “anti-immigration radicals”?
They do, actually, and this brings us to why liberals quite naturally consider their proposals for change the default. Being self-centered and solipsistic, leftists tend to view themselves as the center of the Universe and, by extension, their views as being centrist. Their definition of radical, far from consisting of deviation from Truth or even from the political spectrum’s middle, is “that which departs from my feelings-derived passions.” As William F. Buckley once put it, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
Yet it’s their implied view about how government is meant to work that should be thought shocking and offensive.
An argument consistently used against the GOP Congress is that its intransigence is preventing things from getting “done” on immigration. And this theme extends beyond immigration, in fact, as recent decades have often seen laments about a “do-nothing Congress” — even though that’s precisely what we’re supposed to have.
Consider why the Founding Fathers gave us three co-equal branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial. They wanted a balance of power. And what does such a thing beget?
Or, as some would say, stability.
There is supposed to be a continual tug-of-war in government, a see-saw battle preventing any one branch — or any one man — from aggregating the amount of “power that corrupts.” This is the same reason why the ancient Spartans once had two kings. There is supposed to be “gridlock.”
Gridlock is good.
This seems counterintuitive to many. “How will we get things done?” some ask.
And that’s good, too.
Think about it. What does government generally do when it gets things “done”? It enacts more laws, regulations, and mandates, which, by definition, are almost always removals of freedom. It raises taxes and robs the people. It creates more government programs, which effect social engineering, waste resources, and bust the budget. We need a “do-nothing” government — or, at least, a do-little government.
Government machinery that generally cycles slowly, forcing us to look before we leap, accords with the Hippocratic principle “First, do no harm....” And wouldn’t such gridlock have helped us with ObamaCare?
Some say constant tension among the branches of government is messy and inefficient; this argument was used in favor of fascism before WWII. And the reality? If you want fast, seemingly efficient (it’s often an illusion) government, appoint a dictator. Things will get “done” with the wave of a hand. You and your freedoms may get done in, though.
Yet with Obama increasingly behaving as a dictator and with millions cheering him on, it’s apparent many Americans are willing to cast constitutional government to the winds to achieve immediate ideological gratification. This is childish, but not at all surprising in an increasingly juvenile culture. It’s also a recipe for dictatorship, as the fate of children is to be controlled by a larger, more powerful entity.