After years of unforgiveable neglect, the festering illness on America’s southern border has erupted into a full-blown crisis. Thousands of vulnerable children are being used as pawns in a cynical, multifaceted game where unscrupulous powers maneuver behind the scenes to exploit them for money, political advantage and soulless ideology. Our government is responding with the precision, speed and effectiveness of the victim of a stun grenade.
We may have our doubts, but for the moment, let’s credit the rehearsed explanation we’re getting: These children are fleeing violence of their home countries in Central and South America. Let’s assume Mexico is either powerless to stop the flood, or has a credible explanation for why it won’t.
At this point, there’s no advantage in becoming embroiled in the finger-pointing and cover your hide rhetoric about who’s responsible for this mess. We’re dealing with an out-of-control prairie fire and we can get down to fixing blame once we get the flames under control.
At this moment, the airwaves are crowded with images of thousands of innocent children pouring across the border and being collected in poorly outfitted enclosures. We’re being told these thousands of children are being transported to multiple federal centers across the country were they are temporarily housed. They are given dates to appear before a judge and then released into our communities. We are informed that the overwhelming majority of these kids simply disappear to become part of a shadowy world where they are completely off our radar screen. We were told there are inadequate screenings to control for disease and violent gang connections.
The president is demanding a check for several billion dollars, which he doesn’t even pretend will solve the problem. When he’s questioned about why he isn’t personally inspecting the out-of-control situation and why he’s not receiving face-to-face reports from those on the business end of the crisis, he says he’s not interested in “photo ops.” He urges us to be content with the multiple visits made by one of his trusted bureaucrats. This apparent unwillingness to be seen demonstrating a bona fide, active, personal interest in the situation is drawing criticism even from some of his strong supporters.
If this was the only crisis; if this was the only puzzling misstep; if this was the only demonstration of his failure to grasp the fundamentals of leadership, it might be overlooked. Unfortunately, this is merely another component of a presidential administration that seems to be collapsing on multiple important fronts.
In 1935, Sir Winston Churchill, in a speech before the House of Commons, made the following remark: “Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.” Churchill made this observation as he witnessed the growing shadow of a foreign threat to British security at the same time British policymakers were demonstrating a dangerous lack of resolve.
Reviewing Churchill’s statements from our perspective we can say two things: First, his characterization of the repetition of historical folly is true. Next, if his countrymen had listened to him, millions of lives might have been saved.
At this point in our history, we are blindly stumbling down the same foolish path Churchill warned about. This country — and when I speak of this country, I mean the voters and the irresponsible politicians they keep returning to Washington — is demonstrating a gross lack of foresight. The crisis on our southern border manifests an unforgivable unwillingness to act when we know and have known for years there must be more stringent controls. Our thinking has become so fuzzy that we seem totally incapable of distinguishing between competence and cosmetics. The risks to our self-preservation are rooted and growing on foreign soil and we, ourselves, have sown the seeds and encouraged them to thrive.
The only hope for our nation’s survival rests were it always has. It depends on the determination and heart of the citizens of this country. Unless the voters avail themselves of their First Amendment rights to speak out to encourage, admonish and inspire each other, and unless they forcefully and unequivocally express their disapproval of federal incompetence, and unless they turn out in unprecedented numbers and cast their votes to reconstitute the nature of our federal government, they have surrendered to defeat as surely as if they signed a document yielding their government into the totalitarian hands of a foreign invader. Let’s fix the southern border, then, let’s clean house in Washington. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.
MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.