(Note: This is the second of a two-part essay, the first part centered on the proposition that the Republican party, through its own self-destructive tendencies, has reduced conservatism itself to little more than an academic exercise.)
The second proposition is as follows:
Donald Trump is less an instrument of political vandalism than of utter and complete exasperation.
There is a certain lunacy that we’ve come to expect from the left. For example, Tricia Bishop, the Baltimore Sun’s deputy editorial page editor, opined recently that she fears licensed gun owners more than she fears gun-wielding criminals:
I’m less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore, I declared as we discussed the issue, than I am by those permitted gun owners. I know how to stay out of the line of Baltimore’s illegal gunfire; I have the luxury of being white and middle class in a largely segregated city that reserves most of its shootings for poor, black neighborhoods overtaken by, ‘the game.’ The closest I typically get to the action is feeling the chest-thumping vibrations of the Foxtrot police helicopter flying overhead in pursuit of someone who might be a few streets over, but might as well be a world away. But I don’t know where the legal gun owners are or how to ensure that their children, no matter how well versed in respecting firearms, won’t one day introduce that weapon to my daughter.
The poor dear, whose heart no doubt bleeds (metaphorically of course) for those poor chaps in the “black neighborhoods,” but whose pointed head would rather consign them to defenselessness in the face of armed criminals to assuage her angst in the relative safety of her middle class enclave, is boringly typical. But as I say, we expect that sort of condescending twaddle from the left. We don’t expect it from our own side.
“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, who probably still wonders why it was his presidential campaign that died out instead. Meanwhile, Graham’s sorority sister, John McCain, refers to those few senators who actually tried to make good on their campaign promises as “whacko birds.”
And of course, every Republican big wig, medium wig, and toupee immediately set their rugs on fire when Donald Trump serenely ignited national interest in illegal immigration and the government’s bipartisan refusal to follow the voters’ wishes. Both Trump and his supporters were branded as racists for calling attention to the mayhem that would not have occurred and those whose lives would not have been cut short had the government simply enforced its own damned immigration laws and controlled the nation’s border. That the concerns being raised by Trump were neither fictional nor petty was underscored with the ghastly killing of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien who had been deported five times, returned, and was released from jail to roam about freely.
Fox News examined a patchwork of local, state and federal statistics and concluded that 11.7 million illegal aliens within our borders account for 13.6 percent of those sentenced for serious crimes, with 12 percent of murder convictions, 20 percent of kidnapping convictions, and 16 percent of drug trafficking convictions. While the federal government removed some 315,943 criminal illegal aliens from the US in 2014, they simultaneously released into the general population 30,558 criminal illegal aliens who had amassed a combined 79,059 criminal convictions among them, including 86 homicides, 186 kidnappings, and thousands of sexual assaults. They roam freely.
The nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies has concluded that the majority of what our government euphemistically calls “Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC),” which unfortunately include criminal gang members, have been simply lost by the feds. Of the 84,820 UAC cases filed between October 2013 and August 2015, only 29,307 were completed. Of those, 17,382 UACs were ordered removed from the country — except that 14,014 of those cases were tried in absentia, meaning the minors never showed up for the hearing, and thus remain at large. A total of 313 UACs were permitted to stay in the US, while 11,610 applied for asylum or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and their cases apparently continue. That leaves 55,513 cases still pending, meaning that out of 84,820 UAC cases filed, only 3,360 UACs have actually been removed. But there’s nothing to see here, says the political-industrial complex, move along you knuckle-dragging racists, and stop listening to Donald Trump.
Only this time the people aren’t buying it. They’ve seen European utopianism come crashing down, or rather blown to bits, after Germany admitted 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year. On New Year’s eve, some 500 men, including some newly-arrived asylum seekers and many other immigrants, groped, robbed, and raped hundreds of women, in Cologne and other cities, in what appeared to be a coordinated assault. Vigilante mobs then roved through the streets and attacked men of foreign appearance, leaving at least two in the hospital. Neo-Nazis went on a violent rampage in Leipzig.
A few days ago in Canada, a couple of guys named Mohamed shot up a Calgary nightclub, prompting Mark Steyn to write:
Occam’s Razor would suggest that Mohamed and Mohamed shot up that bar for the same reasons as their fellow Mohameds turned a Paris rock concert into a bloodbath and the German New Year into an auld lang rapefest – because the infidels (rockers, boozers, women) have to be intimidated into accepting the supremacy of Islam.
Americans look at this, and at the shooting in San Bernardino, and conclude that importing tens of thousands of Muslim refugees, a great many of whom appear to be healthy military-aged men, is probably not a good idea. Yet again, right on cue, they are chastised not only by the usual cadre of open borders enthusiasts, but by those ostensibly on the same side of the aisle. Even if a few bad actors slip in, the sophisticates assure us, it won’t be many — a statistical anomaly, really. We are supposed to forget that it took only 19 “bad actors” to slaughter over 3,000 innocents on 9/11, or that a mere two fanatics killed 14 people and wound 22 more in San Bernardino, or that it took only two barbarians to detonate a bomb at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 260 others.
Americans are increasingly looking at both major political parties and seeing a gaggle of well-heeled and well-protected elites who think it a demonstration of their own intellectual and moral superiority to play Russian Roulette with the lives, property, and safety of others, and they have simply had enough. They’ve had enough of people staring at them as if they just sprouted a third eyeball when they suggest that those who hold public office really ought to keep their promises. They’ve had enough capitulation, enough inaction, enough excuses, enough of playing loose with their lives, safety and property, and enough mockery. They are angry, yes, — and they are desperate, as if trapped in a runaway car, flipping all the switches and mashing all the pedals in the hope that something, anything, will please, Lord, bring this thing to a stop before it sails over a cliff. To wit, my final proposition:
It isn’t about Trump, Cruz, et al. … it’s about the American people.
Has anyone stopped to notice that when the old guard rants and insults Donald Trump, his poll numbers climb? His followers identify rather closely with him, so that insulting him becomes tantamount to insulting those whose votes a politician might need. It’s been entertaining to watch representatives from the consultant class speak of both Trump and his supporters in terms they would never use on Barack Obama or his devotees, and then wonder why the voters rebel. Republican consultant Rick Wilson, whose Twitter feed suggests that he is trying to replace Bill Maher as the nation’s preeminent vulgarian, went as far as to write a sexual slur against Trump supporter Ann Coulter that would make Bill Clinton blush. “But hey, don’t forget to vote for us in November,” they say. Not very bloody likely, comes the response.
So they rant, they slander, they insult, and they exhibit some of the worst qualities they assign to others, moving more people into the Trump column by the day because — because why, exactly? Because, one gathers, it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. The conservative candidates were supposed to divide their votes, leaving the last moderate standing as the presumptive heir to a string of moderate losers in November. As lug-headed as voters are are assumed to be, it appears they finally caught on. From which, the GOP has learned positively zilch, zero, zip, nada, nothing.
In the Republican response to the State of Trump speech Monday night, Governor Nikki Haley delivered another sterling lecture to the benighted citizenry:
During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.
At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our border. We can’t do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.
We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.
And what, Governor Haley, if their religion, or at least their subsection of it, requires that they convert or kill us? What if they reject American constitutional law in favor of Sharia? And, as Mark Steyn patiently reminds us:
That’s not actually true. By “centuries,” Mrs. Haley means half-a-century – since the 1965 immigration act. Before then, America, like all nations, reserved the right to pick and choose which non-citizens it wished to admit.
The point in this discussion, however, is that Americans have figured out that it isn’t really Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson, or Carly Fiorina who is being lectured. It’s the American people themselves. It’s the ones who get up early each day, who work hard and play by the rules, but are constantly being told that they are insufficiently trusting of a government whose IRS and EPA abuses them; or of a health care system that not only features skyrocketing premiums, but that imposes fines if they can’t afford them; they are called nativists and worse if they are found insufficiently welcoming to people from regions that call for death to America; they are deemed racist if they don’t submit to the false narratives of those who defy the law and attack those who who enforce it; and they are expected to subsidize their own harassment as they watch their incomes dwindle and their country disintegrate while their interests rank somewhere behind that of criminal aliens and domestic wards of the state.
They are lied to by a bipartisan cabal of politicians, and condescended to when they voice their resentment. In the final analysis, it isn’t about Mr. Trump or any of the other outsiders. It’s about the American people themselves, whose ire has been raised and who are very likely to upset a great deal of the established order, for better or worse. Perhaps the sophisticates, with all their erudition, should have seen this coming?
This post was originally published on Jan. 16, 2016.