The Politics of Outrage and The Nuclear Option

Did you know that when someone’s parents commit a crime, and are incarcerated, that we separate those children from their parents?  This is true for all kinds of crimes, from arson to wire fraud.  Bank robbers are separated from their children.  Murderers are separated from their children.  The fact of the matter is that when parents are incarcerated, for any reason, the only alternative to separating them from their children is to also incarcerate their children, and it would be inhumane to force children to grow up behind bars because of crimes committed by their parents.

 

The next time someone tells you they are outraged that we are separating parents who illegally cross our borders, from their children, keep in mind that this is a side-effect of the need to incarcerate the parents, pending a hearing, and that the children are only separated from their parents until the status of the parents is determined, and the parents are either allowed to come into the country, or are sent home.

Also keep in mind that the infamous ‘cage’ photo that sparked all of this outrage was from 2014, while Barrack Obama was still President.

UPDATE:  Since the time this article was written, President Trump has signed an executive order telling the Department of Homeland Security, and border patrol, to stop separating children from parents, by detaining them together.  Democrats, such as Senator Kamala Harris from California, have already said that detaining children with their parents is inhumane, so the executive order is not going to stop the outrage.  Democrats will only be satisfied once Trump starts releasing illegal immigrants with children directly into our population.

Outrage is being used, not because it is warranted, but because it is effective in undermining political opponents.

Outrage has become a part of our political norm.  Liberals are outraged by the police, by free speech, by those who support the police, or who support free speech, by those who want to enforce our immigration laws, by those who want to improve our immigration laws, by those who think there are better ways to help the working poor than with minimum wages, and by those who support pretty much every other conservative cause out there.

People are justifiably outraged by police brutality, but that outrage becomes a political tool when we begin to read brutality in where it does not exist, and begin to assume that the police are brutal thugs by default.   People are justifiably outraged by racism, but that outrage becomes a political tool when we begin to read racism behind each blade of grass we encounter.  People are justifiably outraged by the rampant damage that can be caused by natural disasters, but that outrage becomes a political tool when we turn against every facet of all recovery efforts, to the extent that nothing our government can do to help those in need can ever again be enough.  People are justifiably outraged by sexual assault, but that outrage becomes a political tool when the specter of sexual assault is used to deride all men, or to make masculinity sound ‘toxic’.  That outrage becomes a political weapon when the definition of sexual assault begins to include innocent behaviors, like looking at a woman for longer than five seconds, or smiling when you say ‘hello’.

I am outraged by the use of outrage as a political tool.  I am outraged by how outrage has become a political weapon, used against those who have done nothing wrong.

When we are outraged by outrageous behaviors, we hold the people who commit those behaviors accountable, reducing the probability that similar events will occur as frequently in the future.  We will never eliminate outrageous behaviors, as we are imperfect creatures, and imperfect creatures live imperfect lives.  Some people are downright evil, and actually want to commit outrageous acts.  Taking steps to make that more difficult, or to hold people accountable – these are healthy things that benefit society, and rational people can have rational discussions about what, specifically, to do.

There may be a better solution to illegal immigration with children than to temporarily separate parents and children, but solutions require discussion, and discussion is impossible when one side is screaming in outrage.  When we turn outrage into a political tool, we create witch hunts, and the United States of today is becoming something very akin to Salem Massachusetts, in the 1690s.  It is only a matter of time before we burn a witch, if we have not begun doing so already.  Outrage has become a political weapon.

When we assume people are guilty of crimes as soon as they are accused, we are weaponizing those crimes. When certain activities are acceptable for some people and outrageous for others, we are weaponizing those activities.

I mentioned the facts in a facebook comment, related to the separating of children and parents, when families cross the border illegally.  Someone commented back, “I’ll bet your parents were slave traders.”  That person was trying to use outrage as a political weapon to silence me.  I was not silenced, and the outrage against me continued.  Even facts become weaponized, with people making statements that may be factually true, but that are intentionally misleading.  People are saying, for example, that the law Bill Clinton signed in 1996 did not call for children to be separated from parents.  Technically that is true, but the law did call for illegal immigrants to be incarcerated pending their first hearing, and just as incarceration separates bank robbers from their children, so too it necessarily separates illegal immigrants from their children, unless we decide to incarcerate the children too.  Ted Cruz has, in fact, submitted a bill to the Senate that would involve incarcerating families together in facilities specifically designed for families.  This may be a viable option, but it is an option that came from reason, and not outrage, and it is an option I’m guessing our outraged leftists will reject.

The left has been clear: they will accept nothing short of the complete eradication of immigration law.  Anything else they will consider an outrage, and they will show their outrage with all the fury they can muster.  Outrage is their new political weapon.

Weaponized outrage leads to mob-rule, and there is nothing more terrible, nor more terrifying, than what a mob may do once emboldened.  Our political arena has turned into a mob, with our major media houses both creating, and responding to political outrage.  Things have gone too far, and there is no sign that weaponized outrage is going to go away.  Politically, this is the new normal.

The time has come for the Republican Party to invoke the Nuclear Option in the Senate, and to start cramming our limited-government agenda down liberalisms collective throat.  If liberals are not going to stop screaming, we might as well give them something real to scream about.

 

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