Is it really so hard to solve the immigration issue? Let's tally the opposing sides to begin the discussion ... er, debate. On the right we have conservatives that want to build a wall, deploy 20K troops and throw in some drones to protect the country. Some of that sounds reasonable until the zealots toss in a few grenades about sending 11M people home. The same 11M people that we asked to come here and do jobs we didn't want to do. The same 11M people that violated laws we had no intention of enforcing. Meaning, the laws might have been on the books but everyone knew they didn't mean anything. So why try to follow laws that have no teeth?
Ok, enough of the right. On the left we have liberals who do not want a wall and no troops on the border and heaven forbid drones that invade someone's privacy. The most liberal loons on the left want to retain the 11M and reward them with free benefits and full citizenship without going through the process to "earn it". No test for the 11M. No fine for the 11M. No requirements other than you are already here and we want your vote. There it is, the real reason to retain the 11M. The liberal left wants a new block of voters and they know an offer is required to get that vote.
So, let's pretend we are Senators or Congressmen or someone influential that knows how to negotiate a deal. A credible deal that balances views from the left, from the right and from the 11M immigrants already here in the US. What if we invested in safety measures that protected our country. Yes, the wall and some troops, and perhaps a drone or two to protect our southern border. How about we enforce the laws on the books so that we and future immigrants truly understand we are serious about our rules. That way there is no confusion, no excuses, and no exceptions. We are a country of laws that actually are enforced. Wow, that's a new one. Then, we provide a green card to the 11M already here. Yep, we open our arms and welcome them with something permanent. Something they can count on, believe in and make a long term plan for their family. But no path to citizenship, at least not a direct path. Get in line with all the other people who are going through the process legitimately and wait your turn. What about a fine? Come on be serious. Why should they pay a fine for violating a law we encouraged them to ignore? Get a grip. It would probably cost us more money to collect the fines than the amount we would receive anyway.
Now, let's tally the results. The right gets the safety protection they crave. The left gets retention of the 11M and the immigrants already here get some sense of normalcy and a chance, a real chance for a better life. Last but not least, US citizens get to believe in the claim we are a country of laws ... that have teeth and are actually enforced ... finally. Phew! It seems everybody wins.
Political deal making isn't really that hard. Maybe we can try tax reform next. Hmmm ... I'll get a beer and be right back!
It has become commonplace for politicians to back up their claims with words like "common sense". Think about it for a minute or better yet read the paper or watch the news. You will undoubtedly read or hear the President or one of the numerous campaigns use these words. What happens next is the really interesting part. No one challenges the words "common sense". It's like checkmate in chess. The opponent or the press or the interviewer seldom take issue with a policy or claim wrapped in "common sense" language. The words "common sense" are better than a stiff arm in football.
Another example is the word "fair" or "fairness". This is typically used in discussions around tax policy. For example, "the rich must pay their fair share". Well, ok that makes sense. But what is fair? What number is the right one? And more importantly, who decides what is fair? Who picks the number? And who ensures the "fair" number actually happens? It should not be surprising the super rich get around paying their "fair share" because they hire armies of accountants, lawyers and politicians. The game is rigged ... but that's a different blog.
Our politics are more about words and speeches and rhetoric these days than action. For some reason we have allowed politicians to win or lose an election, a policy debate, just about everything based on speeches wrapped in "common sense" and "fairness" language, without ever doing anything to move the country forward. It almost seems they don't really intend to do anything ... except win elections. Politicians are very good at that.
I like to read and write stories that dig deep into characters and how they respond to challenges.