Whither the GOP and the country?

In the past couple of months I’ve been thinking a lot about both American history and what portends for the next four years under a President Donald Trump.   I have often said that I have not been able, in good conscience, to pull any levers in the voting booth for someone with “Republican” next to their name since I watched then-Senator Arlen Specter hew dangerously rightward to fend off a primary challenge from then-Representative Pat Toomey in 2004.   

At the time,  my other senator was Rick Santorum.  When Toomey — whose worldview closely resembles that of Santorum — came in claiming the mantle of the future of the Republican Party, I lost the ability to vote for the GOP.  

I was (and still am) quick to point out to pollsters, this statement is not, in and of itself, a giveaway to the Democratic Party.   

Donald Trump ran on an openly racist, sexist, bigoted platform sprinkled with some economic populism that appealed to those who have felt left behind by a changing economy.   The racism, sexism, bigotry, and general xenophobia he spouted aren’t anything new in either this country or humanity in general.   It’s just disheartening how much he has emboldened them.  

In looking at the posturings of the president elect, I wonder if I have been misjudging things.   Thirteen years ago, I thought the downfall of the Republican Party would be the influence of the religious right, and that in order for the party to become remotely palatable to me, they’d have to rid themselves of the influence of the theocrats in their midst.  

Say what you will about Donald Trump himself, but he is not a theocrat.   He may have surrounded himself with the likes of Franklin Graham and other modern religious hypocrites but he himself has little use for the teachings and trappings of religion.   I might tongue-in-cheek question why someone like Trump hasn’t founded his own church as he seems quite comfortable preaching similar bullshit to gullible supporters, but I’m sure that, as a con man he recognizes similar people.  

I am not, by nature, a pessimistic person.  And I do recognize that sometimes, in order to move forward we must occasionally step back.  Looking at Trump’s nominees for important positions in his cabinet, there are only a handful of people who can competently execute the duties of the position without raising the specter of corruption, conflict of interest, or historical opposition to the goals and expectations of the agency they would lead.  Add in Trump’s very public disregard for our intelligence agencies, and it’s easy to see how our enemies can be emboldened to find ways to attack us while the wolves guard the proverbial hen house.  

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has shown his true colors in wanting to rush the most controversial nominees through the confirmation process without thoroughly vetting them.  (Note that there is nothing wrong with holding the hearings before the president elect assumes the office; it’s the lack of interest in compiling the necessary documentation on their backgrounds that is a problem.)  Considering the sheer amount of wealth all of these nominees have, both individually and collectively, their backgrounds should be investigated more thoroughly, not less.  

I have pointed out before that, depending on how you measure it, three historical presidencies vie for the title of “most corrupt.”  The way Trump is starting out, it seems as though he wants to surpass Grant, Harding, and Reagan and earn the mantle of most corrupt on his own, eliminating any ambiguity from the various possible definitions.  

And yes, that can and will damage the country in scores of ways, both direct (bankrupting the government) and indirect (leaving vulnerabilities in our defenses and infrastructure).   And that, in turn, could be the motivation of an otherwise reluctant congress to grant more powers to a president who is already excessively power hungry.  

During the campaign I was unable to answer the simple question of why Donald Trump wanted to be president.   Most people who enter politics — liberal and conservative alike — do so because they feel compelled to serve the public and think that they can effect positive changes for the country.   There is nothing in Donald Trump’s public statements or his past history that indicates that he wants to serve anyone other than himself.  

But there is cause for hope.  Whatever damage he does, can be easily undone by an electorate that watches in disgust, starting with a new congress designed to hold him accountable for his lies and actions in two years and then a new president in four.  

What I’d like to see in this process is the Republican Party waking up and realizing how much of a mistake they made by having him as their standard bearer.  The country will survive.  Will the republicans? 

This Is Why We Fight by the Decemberists

Come the war
Come the avarice
Come the war
Come hell

Come attrition
Come the reek of bones
Come attrition
Come hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
And this is why
Why we fight
When we die
We will die
With our arms unbound
And this is why
Why we fight
Come hell

Bride of quiet
Bride of all unquiet things
Bride of quiet
Bride of hell

Come the archers
Come the infantry
Come the archers
Come hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
This is why
This is why we fight
And when we die
We will die
With our arms unbound
And this is why
This is why we fight
Come hell
Come hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
This is why
This is why we fight
When we die
We will die
With our arms unbound
And this is why
This is why we fight



So come to me
Come to me now
Lay your arms around me
And this is why
This is why
Why we fight
Come hell
Come hell
Come hell
Come hell

(C) 2011 BMG Rights Management

Watch the video

Modern Day Israel

One of the most repugnant conspiracy theories in existence today is that of holocaust denial.  There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories that selectively deny evidence and focus on one tiny sliver of ambiguity or doubt in order to make the claim that the greater narrative should be discarded in favor of some alternate version of reality.   But holocaust denial stands alone in terms of both the mountains of evidence being ignored and the agendas of those who would further the alternate thesis.  

At times like this, I like to examine the true crux of the argument they’re making.  The fundamental argument that the deniers make, is that there’s no way that in the approximately 5 1/2 year period beginning in late 1939 and ending when Germany surrendered to end the European stage of World War II was not enough time, given then-available technologies, to massacre six million Jews and other minorities.  

Let’s ignore the fact that, if there were a mandate that everyone on the planet must fight exactly one other person to the death every day, the death toll on day 1 would be more than 3.5 billion and that we’d wipe out pretty much all of humanity in just over a month.   And the only real technological limitations would be for the survivors on any given day to locate their next opponents.  

I’m not unsympathetic to the argument that the six million figure might be wrong.  After all, it is truly impossible to know the exact number.  It took the best statisticians in the world more than a decade to land on that number in the first place.   Even today, there’s no shortage of bona fide historians who argue that the true number might be closer to 8 or 9 million.  If we’re willing to argue that the number should be larger, surely there’s room to argue that it’s closer to 4 million, right?

And that’s not even getting into the old canard about how there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.  After all, those gum ads don’t say “4 out of the 5 dentists we surveyed recommend sugar free gum to patients who chew gum.” It’s amazing what the addition of two tiny words can do to the interpretation of the numbers.  

So at the end of the day, denying the holocaust its place in history serves to undermine what happened next: the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.   It’s not unreasonable to assert that a major reason why the nation was carved out of the territory it now holds, because of a degree of European guilt over what happened to the Jews during the holocaust.  Deny the holocaust and you deny the justification for the founding of the nation.  

And that’s unacceptable.  

An argument can be made that the Palestinians who lived in the area in 1948 weren’t adequately informed of what was happening or they weren’t properly compensated for their land and for their troubles.  With that fact in mind, they can’t be faulted for resentment towards Israel and its leaders.  Nearly 70 years have passed since Israel was first founded, and she’s been in a near constant state of alert for hostilities ever since.  

Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens.  But at the exact same time, if the Palestinians in the area are kept in slum-like conditions without the same privileges enjoyed by the state of Israel, there’s no way around the resentment aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.   To make matters worse, Israel has been building settlements in lands earmarked for the Palestinians.   

I’m not trying to argue that Israel deserves any terrorist attacks committed by the Palestinians but its leadership sure as hell isn’t doing itself any favors by not being willing to listen to their grievances.  Yes, the Palestinian charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It’s what Israel is trying to do to the Palestinians.   

When Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech before congress a year ago, I heard his words and came to the conclusion that he may be one of the most dangerous people on the world stage.  

That fact was underscored a couple of weeks ago when the UN Security Council condemned Israel’s continued building of settlements in the territory it has been occupying for nearly 50 years.  At the very least, it’s a violation of the Geneva conventions.  

I want to reiterate that Israel has a right to defend itself against foreign attacks, and it. has been doing so quite effectively for as long as it has existed as a nation.   But Netanyahu and nearly the entire Israeli government are either being shortsighted, foolhardy, or both when they continue sowing the seeds of resentment that can only result in more attacks.   

The Palestinians don’t need to have the moral high ground in this debate.  But as long as right wing hardliners are in charge of Israel, the Palestinians are getting it anyway.  

It’s a small consolation for the horrors its people are facing, by the hands of a group of people who, quite frankly, ought to know better.  What the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians may not rise to the level of another holocaust, but they still harbor an attitude that surely resembles Germany around about 1936.   

I worry that Netanyahu may be emboldened to make life worse in that part of the world, thanks to the incoming administration in the US.  

And that’s a bloody shame.  

Presidential Greatness

A lot of Donald Trump surrogates are saying that we need to give him a chance.  Of course I’ll give him a chance and so far, if I want to be at my most polite, he is on track to becoming easily the biggest disaster of a president since World War II.   

When Bill Clinton won the presidency after having taken only 43% of the popular vote in a three-way presidential race, the highest ranking republican in office, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas tried to justify his obstructionism by claiming to represent the 57% of the country that didn’t vote for Clinton.  When Obama won the presidency, the republicans in congress stepped up the obstruction even more and it persisted throughout his eight years in office. I don’t see them as doing anything that can even be remotely considered “giving [them] a chance.”

But the bigger point here is that I question why someone might say that we should give an incoming president “a chance” in the first place (beyond simple civility). It sounds to me as though this is a means of saying that we shouldn’t criticize them. And that’s just bullshit. You can always find things both to praise and criticize in any presidency. My general approval of President Obama doesn’t stop me from criticizing the NSA under his watch, or what happened with Edward Snowden, or the drone strikes. Hell, a year ago I faulted him for the fate of ACORN, the now-defunct community organizing group.  

And that got me to thinking about the greater process by which we judge our presidents.  The Wikipedia page on historical rankings of US presidents is an excellent resource here.  It’s easy to argue that FDR and Lincoln were among the best presidents and that Buchanan and Harding were among the worst.   But why?  What did they do to earn those rankings?  How hard would it be to find something worth criticism for FDR and Lincoln and/or something to praise for Buchanan and Harding?

And I’m not just talking about individual decisions that are important but ultimately not relevant, like FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court.  I’m embarrassed that it was necessary to go to war to end slavery.   We should have been able to do that without so much carnage.   But is it fair to say that Lincoln deserves criticism for his apparent eagerness to go to war in the first place?  Be my guest if you want to make the argument that the fault just as readily might have lain with those who wanted to continue slavery.   You wouldn’t be wrong but the escalation of belligerent rhetoric during the decade or so prior to the war should be a blight on both sides.  

I guess that’s one of the reasons why, when I was in high school, the Advanced Placement American History test put a heavy focus on the 1850s in their questions.  (And the 1790s and the 1930s).  

But fundamentally, it’s not always easy to judge any given president.  Take Ronald Reagan, who championed tax cuts and deregulation.   If we regard these concepts as his primary legacy, were they successes or failures?   It depends on who you ask, of course.  Even if we recognize that they were worthwhile experiments (and I do), can we say, for example, that supply side economics serves nobody but the already rich?  Is it not unreasonable to say that privatizing the prisons was a bad idea?   Regardless of their merits or demerits, he got them done.  

Where is the dividing line between effectiveness at implementing and/or maintaining a given policy, and your disagreement with the policy in the first place?  

Andrew Jackson comes to mind here.  He said he’d force the native tribes to relocate, and he did.  For however horrible the policy was (and it’s a part of the reason why I don’t care for him or his legacy, and I will be grateful when his image is taken off of our $20 bills) but you can’t deny the fact that the goal he set out to achieve, got achieved.  

Just compare Teddy Roosevelt and George W Bush, two men whose interventionalist approaches to foreign policy appear quite similar to each other.   Why is TR so highly regarded but W so low on the Wikipedia page I cited above?  Did TR just get lucky where he swung the big stick?  

It’s interesting that Lincoln and FDR both succeeded presidents whose rankings are close to the bottom of the list.  Is there a degree to which we’re comparing them against their immediate predecessors?  Earlier this year I wrote a blog entry about the gun problem in this country and compared it with the inaction on the part of Herbert Hoover at the start of the Great Depression.  I gave a semi-defense of Hoover who likely had little reason to think this particular economic downturn would have been any worse than prior ones.  James Buchanan was probably correct when he took the position that the federal government had no legal power to prevent states from seceding and certainly would have overstepped its boundaries by forcing them back into the union.  

It’s tough work upholding the constitution, especially when it runs counter to public opinion or need.  Just ask any of the lawyers working for the American Civil Liberties Union, which probably does more to defend our constitutional rights from government overreach than any other organization.  They’ll get criticism from the left when they defend the KKK’s right to hold a rally, and from the right when they point out that nativity scenes on public property violate the establishment clause of the first amendment.  That’s enough to make me wonder if the constitution would even pass a popular referendum today.   

How long after a president leaves office can we truly grasp his legacy?  In some cases, it’s immediate.  George Washington was given a blank slate as to how to run the executive branch.   In others, not so much.   We can pin the assassination of President Garfield (in 1881) on the system of patronage introduced by Andrew Jackson (when he won the 1828 election).  

If it seems as though I’m picking on Andrew Jackson a fair bit in this blog entry, you’re right.  Without regard to how good or bad a president he was, I do consider him one of the most overrated.  

JFK is another interesting example.  Popular, likeable, and, quite frankly, inspiring: many Americans have a soft spot in their hearts for the man, and likely would even if he hadn’t been assassinated.  But when you look at his foreign policy (specifically), the best thing we can say about it is that he was shortsighted.  Just look at his policy towards Cuba during the missile crisis and then later during the Bay of Pigs fiasco.   

His successor exemplifies the dichotomy between domestic and foreign policy successes and failures: he deserves accolades for the Great Society programs he instituted, and criticism for the way he handled the quagmire we know as Vietnam.   Indeed, Vietnam was the reason he became the only president since the passage of the 22nd Amendment to choose not to seek reelection.  (As opposed to being constitutionally prohibited from doing so…  I’m not counting the three presidents who lost their reelection bid who could technically have challenged their successors four or more years later but chose not to.)

How does dying in office change the overall perception of a president?  After all, that’s another thing that Lincoln and FDR have in common.  A total of eight presidents have died in office (William Henry Harrison, Taylor, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR, and JFK) of whom three — Lincoln, McKinley, and FDR — had already served at least one full term as president when they died.  Of the remaining five, two served less than a year (Harrison and Garfield) and probably should be exempted from any lists ranking the presidents since the fact of their deaths probably had a greater impact on the direction of the country than anything they did in life.   This is especially true for Harrison since he was the first and nowhere in the constitution was it written that the Vice President becomes president upon the death or resignation of the president.  

Side note: I use the word “was” here because the 25th amendment to the constitution settled that question in 1965.  Only 124 years later and after the death of the most recent president to die in office…

It certainly does seem as though popular opinion of presidents who died in office seems to be frozen in time based upon how we felt about them at the time and the relative suddennness of the death.  It’s at least partially why JFK is so loved today while Harding ranks near the bottom.  

But does that mean that the post-presidential activities of the 35 men who lived long enough to become ex-presidents ought to have a bearing on how they’re perceived?  I’d like to think that both Nixon and Carter managed to redeem their relatively uninspiring presidencies once they were unencumbered by the needs of the position itself.   That’s not a new phenomenon.  John Quincy Adams also looks better in the lens of history when you consider his work in congress to abolish slavery.   (Plus, he was portrayed in the movies by Anthony Hopkins.)

And no discussion of post presidential activities (at least the ones that redeem the presidency) would be complete without a huge shout-out to William Howard Taft, who went on to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  According to legend, he wanted to be on the court more than he wanted to be president.   Without regard to the validity of the legend, he certainly executed the duties of the president most consistently with the way it’s spelled out in the constitution.  It’s why he pissed off Teddy Roosevelt so much.   

There are so many moving pieces to what does and does not make for a good president, that it seems almost impossible to gauge it all.  I haven’t even gotten into the stuff we don’t (and can’t possibly) know about what happens behind the scenes, either because it’s classified or just not exceptionally relevant.   

In the end, it’s probably most fair to say that Lincoln and FDR were our best crisis managers.   And that likely means that they’ll rank near the top simply by virtue of the historical circumstances that happened to lead them to he presidency.   Yes, that gives the short end of the stick to those presidents who weren’t tested the same way.   But what can you do?

Watch out for fake outrage!

About a week ago, a fake video popped up in which a person who opposed Trump verbally confronted a Trump supporter.  Almost immediately after this, a report appeared where Ivanka Trump was confronted on a JetBlue plane in a similar manner.  

In light of (1) the sheer amount of fake news out there, (2) the fake video, and (3) the fact that it was JetBlue, I was skeptical of this report.  

So when I saw someone on Facebook make a vaguely worded comment that could have been interpreted as the fake video, I commented “you know this is fake, right?” I talked about confirmation bias and how it feeds into fake news.  And then the following morning, when I realized that it wasn’t fake, I apologized for my error.  

That’s when things went downhill in the Facebook dialogue.  She asked me to make a post on my Facebook feed echoing her outrage at the actions of the man who was escorted off the plane.  After all, would the political left have sat idly by if it had been Chelsea Clinton who had been harassed like that?  And in the presence of her child no less!

I politely refused to do so, largely on the grounds that this isn’t something worth being outraged about.  She threw my confirmation bias statement back at me along with a few other things and I abandoned the dialogue. 

I’m not defending the actions of the man who confronted Ivanka Trump, but he was punished accordingly by being escorted off the plane.   Conservative news media continue to talk about this and how horrible the guy was.  Tucker Carlson called him a member of the intolerant left.  

I call it bullshit.  

Let’s start with the “think of the children” part.  What should it matter?  We hear that a lot when people want to give a comforting lie to children rather than expose them to uncomfortable truths about life.  I have no problem with being age appropriate to some of the more unpleasant aspects of life, but to outwardly lie to them and pretend that things aren’t the way they are?  No. 

I’m reminded of the scene in the movie Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd playing the very uptight Joe Friday and Tom Hanks playing the more iconoclastic Pep Streebek.   They’re investigating vandalism at the local zoo and find a lion whose mane had been shaved into a mohawk.  Friday goes on a long “think about the children” screed about this travesty and how will they recover from seeing this.   Streebek looks over at a group of children and says, “kids, it’ll grow back.”  They all cheer.  

Ivanka Trump may have one of the most unenviable positions in modern politics: she has her own business interests to tend to and she may be best positioned to temper her father’s nature.  If she intervenes too much, charges of corruption and nepotism will surely arise.   If she does too little, she may be questioned about why she allows her father to do the things he will inevitably do.  

Do you want real outrage?  How about Donald Trump’s attempts to redirect US policy during the transition, most glaringly with regard to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory?  By comparison, then-president elect Bill Clinton didn’t even complain when still-president George H W Bush had an initial troop deployment to Somalia in December 1992.  If ever the outgoing president might have been in the right to refrain from acting until the new administration came in, it was here.  

How about a Secretary of State designate who has a personal vested interest in seeing the sanctions against Russia be lifted?  How about a Secretary of Energy designate who not only doesn’t accept the reality of climate change but who wants to pursue policies that will make it worse?  How about an Attorney General designate who thinks that racism only exists when it’s aimed at white people?  How about a Secretary of Health and Human Services designate who wants to make it harder for people to afford the health care they need?

How about a Secretary of Education designate who wants to dismantle our educational system, replacing scientific truths with lies that I’m not even sure I’d call comforting?  You want someone to think about the children?  Yeah, I’ll take that over a rude and inconsiderate person on an airplane.   

I suspect the fake outrage machine is only just getting started.  

I think it’s a warning shot

There still remains a month before Barack Obama and his family vacate the White House.  Our allies and our enemies know this.  To that end, this was planned as a part of the drafting of the constitution and reinforced by the 22nd amendment.  

From the perspective of other nations, it is something they all must abide: how to deal with the planned transition time when you know someone new will be in charge (but not yet).  I imagine that before the 20th amendment moved the date the new president was sworn in from March to January, it was even harder.  

Yesterday, all of the (legitimate) news sites were abuzz over the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey.  I’ve lost count of the number of articles I’ve seen, where the author questioned whether this is a spark that might trigger the next world war, not unlike the assassination of Austro-Hungarian archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 triggering World War I.  

(Note that the assassination more than a century ago really wasn’t the cause of the war; it was the excuse for it…)

I’m not trying to argue that this particular killing — it should be noted that Russia and Turkey are not allies — won’t lead to war (it certainly could).  But I am arguing that this seems more like a strategic warning to Donald Trump that couldn’t be more than that while Obama is still in charge.  

Officially, Turkey is an ally to the US through NATO.  Prime Minister Erdogan, though, has been making some very undemocratic moves in the past couple of years.  President Putin may be happier than most world leaders with the results of this election.  Among other things, he wants to see the sanctions against his country lifted.  

And Donald Trump has business interests in both countries.  I expect to see him at least try to get Russia and Turkey to be less belligerent to each other.  It’s in his interest, as well as being in the interests of many people he has nominated to his cabinet.  

And in and of itself, less belligerence is a good thing.  

So I regard the assassin’s motive as having less to do with political sovereignty and more to test the incoming Trump administration.  A warning shot, if you would.  

The world has become a more dangerous place in the past fifteen years than it was in the previous fifty.  We can’t close ourselves off to it and we’d be naive to even try.   Alliances do shift over time.  

I just hope we don’t give up on our friends because someone might make more money from others.  I suspect that some people in Turkey might be thinking the same thing.  

Immigration and Hypocrisy 

Like many American children, my early civic education taught me that the United States has always been a melting pot: a place where people from diverse backgrounds and cultures can come together as a single unit.   And there is a certain appeal to this picture.  

As I learned more about the history of this country, I started to think that maybe a salad bowl might be a better metaphor.   In a melting pot, the various ingredients all mix together and you can’t necessarily discern what went into it.  In a salad bowl, none of the ingredients lose their original nature.  Indeed, the act of becoming “American” has no requirement that you eschew what you previously were.  

It’s why we technically have no official language under the law, despite some people’s efforts to the contrary.  

The USA has always had a bizarre relationship with immigration.  Indeed, if you look at world history and events that have triggered large scale migrations, there was probably pushback against immigration from those areas into America.   Ireland in the 1840s thanks to the potato famine.   Russia in the early 1900s thanks to the revolutions of 1905 and 1917.   Germany in the 1930s thanks to the Nazis.   The Mexicans and middle easterners in recent years thanks to currency devaluation and the Arab spring respectively.  

I often talk about how there’s something truly special about becoming an “American”.   Imagine the range of emotions people must go through as a part of the decision making process.   To decide to give up your family, your friends, your home, your very way of life to make a journey to a place where, stylized imagery notwithstanding, the only certainty is uncertainty.  How bad must things be in your home country to even consider such a drastic change?

And that’s the big question.  Immigration on a large scale is always either a direct or indirect result of more people in a geographic region than there are resources to support that number of people.   What’s going on in Syria right now is an easy example of it: a drought, caused by global warming, took its toll on the nation’s farmers, who migrated to the cities in hopes of finding jobs and commodities.  The infrastructure of the cities wasn’t prepared to handle the influx of people and the people already in the cities started to resent this movement.   Tempers flared, fights broke out, and the next thing you know, the country became enmeshed in a three-way civil war.   So some of the immigration from Syria is a direct result of strained resources (the drought) and some is an indirect result (getting away from the war).  

I don’t want to give lip service to the objections of any country that is on the receiving end of large-scale immigration.   There are legitimate questions about the cost of providing goods and services to every new person crossing the border and it’s never an unfair question to ask, to wonder when the tipping point will be, when the cost outweighs the benefit.    (All too often, the knee-jerk reaction is just to the cost without regard to the benefits.)  For every new person who comes to the country, there is an added need both within the government and the private sector to provide for them: jobs, basic goods, health care, police, infrastructure, etc.   Is there a point where the availability of those things is outweighed by what they provide in return (taxes, spending on those goods, volunteer work, intangibles that occur simply by their presence — see the movie It’s a Wonderful Life for details…)?  Of course there is.   But I don’t think we’ve come anywhere close to it.   

Now you’re free to disagree with me on that point.   Maybe we’re closer to that tipping point than I say.   Maybe we’ve already passed it.   It’s certainly possible, to be sure.  I certainly don’t have a magic formula to know one way or another.   Or maybe it’s because, as then-candidate Donald Trump put it, the countries from which immigration is a quote-unquote problem, “aren’t sending their best people”.   That could explain why you hear complaints about the Mexicans taking blue collar jobs but not Indian or Chinese immigrants taking white collar jobs.  

That’s where we see a ton of hypocrisy.   If you’re opposed to immigration while simultaneously denying the reality of climate change and/or restricting access to birth control/abortion services, you’re contributing to the immigration problems that you complain about.  

By denying climate change, you’re denying the strains on resources that will inevitably cause populations to relocate.  Remember that the scientists who have written about the consequences of climate change, have reported that it will cause natural weather phenomena to happen with greater intensity and in greater frequency.  Thus droughts will last longer, floods will happen more often, wildfires will burn for longer, there will be more hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, and other harsh weather events.  Crops will fail, animal migration will start following different patterns and times.  Arable, farm-worthy land will be reduced even more than they already are.  

By denying access to birth control and abortion, you’re setting the stage for more people to consume the foods that are already being farmed.   Population and population density will increase, and cities will be even harder pressed to meet the needs of its residents.  There was a report about ten years ago that said that the state of New Jersey was on track — given then-current growth rates — to run out of land for people to live on within 25 years. I haven’t heard anything about that report since then.   

Rising populations and reduced crop yields set the stage for the most hard-hit to need to leave their homes.   This isn’t about the ones who want to leave.   It’s about the ones Trump sarcastically said aren’t “the best people”.  

And the evangelicals are the greatest hypocrites here.   They’re the ones most loudly denying climate change, railing against any form of sexuality that expresses itself when people have sex for reasons other than to make babies, and, of course, complaining about the immigrants.  Not the only place where they’re hypocrites but certainly one of the most outrageous.  

In this regard, I do have to give some credit to the Catholics.    At least they (or their current leader) is saying that climate change is a problem, and that we shouldn’t build walls to keep immigrants out.   They’re still being irresponsible with regard to the very real problem of overpopulation, but they’re not the hypocrites their conservative Protestant brethren have shown themselves to be, at least in this arena.