Hypocrisy is an ugly trait. It is one thing to fall short of one’s ideals and humbly aim to do better; it is quite another to profess virtue while willfully doing the opposite. It is not hypocritical to fail at times, if there is repentance and resolve to improve. It is hypocritical to present oneself as a paragon of compassion and then recoil when called upon to act in accordance with one’s ideals.
Political hypocrisy is on full display as hundreds of migrants are bussed or flown to sanctuary locations. None of the leaders of sanctuary cities complained when these folks were transported under cover of night to conservative suburbs or rural locales. But the moment a few dozen folks arrive in Martha’s Vineyard, suddenly such actions are now “inhuman” “Illegal” and even “akin to the Holocaust.”
Open borders serve no nation well. Neither does xenophobia. America has a wildly contradictory history of immigration law and practice and current systems are in need of reform. Before offering a way forward, balance is needed as we critique the current crises. Some Democratic leaders want a flood of people dependent on state help and they offer rapid citizenship so migrants will vote for their benefactors. Republicans have been unfairly portrayed as White Nationalists for simply wanting order and security at the border. But many Republicans are secretly happy with an endless supply of cheap labor.
How do we make progress? We must start with ending the “either/or” thinking that poisons reasonable policymaking. We can be hospitable and secure, creating pathways for citizenship and residency that welcome hard-working people from all nations. A secure border matters. The wall must be finished and many hospitality centers constructed on both sides of the border with Mexico. Criminals must be screened out and current undocumented felons must be deported. DREAMers deserve a pathway to citizenship while we eliminate incentives for anchor babies and the tragic separation of families.
Legal immigration is a mess. It is cumbersome and expensive and we can do better. Instead of reactive, symbolic actions (open borders, shipping migrants, etc.), Let’s gather people from all sides of the issue, keep the cameras outside (I know, that is impossible!), and forge real policy. For those in the USA illegally, offer a streamlined pathway to normalization with real accountability. ONLY citizens can vote. Apart from basic food, clothing, and temporary shelter, government benefits require registration and screening. Reform the whole system and while this is taking place, take the monies designated to the IRS increases and apply them to border security and compassionate care.
There is no place for racism and xenophobia in our policies. And there is a need for secure borders and screening for criminality and diseases (which can then be treated). Once our agitation propaganda is replaced by compassion and courage, there is hope for our nation and for millions we should welcome to our land.
In my writing, I aim for civil, principled conversation across ideological, political, and religious boundaries, respecting differences and aiming for consensus where possible. I am grateful for the many who join me (often with far greater eloquence and influence) in such peacemaking. But I would be remiss not to expose two tactics of the enemies of freedom: projection and subversion. These are the twin towers of agitation propaganda (known as “agitprop”) and have flourished for a century in communist and fascist societies. (One note here: the extreme Left (communist) and extreme Right (fascist) differ in some particulars but share similar roots of totalitarian control over people and societies, along with philosophies favoring particular groups [Party members or a particular race] over others.)
Projection is when one group accuses another of the very actions they are doing themselves. For example, a group of students, in the name of freedom and safety, calls for the firing of a professor that disagrees with their philosophies. Another form of projection is deflection: when individuals or groups ignore difficult questions and merely repeat their slogans. For example, a pro-choice activist was asked what she thought of recent remarks by her governor concerning his support of late term abortion and even infanticide (“Make the baby comfortable while the mother and physician decide what is best.”). Rather than answering with revulsion, support, or even a nuanced middle ground, the activist just shouted, “You want to deprive women of their access to healthcare and return to the days of the coat hanger.” This happened four times as the question was repeated. Religious adherents are declared intolerant when they refuse to support alternative lifestyles contrary to their tradition. This is projection – for the accuser is her or himself intolerant of the religious point of view (or wants it confined to private spaces!).
Subversion appears as the true agendas of groups are revealed. White nationalists and Nation of Islam adherents want to subvert the Bible, the Constitution, and a positive history of improving race relations and create completely segregated nations. Many Marxists are happy to use capitalistic and democratic means to achieve communalistic and undemocratic ends. They also combine projection and subversion when they accuse some of their own of not being revolutionary enough! Such was the case in the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, where millions died for not being radical enough. Think about these historical illustrations:
- The Nazis burn the Reichstag (parliament) building, blame the communists, and use it as an excuse to kill and imprison thousands (projection and subversion).
- Lenin spoke of his need for capitalistic “useful idiots” to fund his revolution (subversion).
- Closer to home, “Rules for Radicals” author Saul Alinsky advocates to creating chaos and dissatisfaction (subversion) and making sure no other peaceful solutions get in the way the radical agenda.
- Radical Islam promotes deception and temporary truces with opponents as part of the long play for domination (subversion). Anyone who does not honor their Prophet is pronounced a blasphemer and subject to severe penalty, even as they claim victimhood status (projection).
- And today, several extremist groups in the USA are calling for an end to nuclear family, and end to free enterprise, and overturning particular religious influences (subversion), as well as declaring all their opponents’ oppressors (projection).
May we examine our hearts and choose advocacy over mere accusation and acceptance of complexity over childishness. Let’s keep projection and subversion far away as we pursue peace and justice.