"Or What?" Longing for a World Without Consequences
It seems to me that the US and the West in general has nearly completed the construction of a consequence-free politics, a world where we make demands but when presented with the inevitable question, “Or what?” we lapse into silence or incoherence.
On the illegal alien problem, the Senate makes numerous, tough sounding demands about “touchbacks” and visa overstays and requirements for “Z-visas”. But if an illegal doesn’t meet these requirements or fails to even apply and “come out of the shadows” what will be the consequences? The Grand Compromisers say they’ll be deported. We all know these are false threats. People who enter the country illegally or overstay their visas today are not deported, at least not in any significant numbers. If our political elite can’t stomach enforcement personnel rounding up crying and wailing illegals and deporting them today, (see Ted Kennedy and the usual sob sisters in Congress) why will they be able to do so tomorrow? Does the Grand Compromise legislation grant our heretofore spineless political overlords a spine?
The President says that it is “intolerable” that Iran develop a nuclear weapon. Or what, George? Will Bush strike the ayatollahs after they build the Bomb? Before? Wasn’t it intolerable that North Korea build the Bomb? Remind me again of the consequences there.
Repeat the paragraph above in regards to supporting terror groups in Iraq or arming the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the same results.
Darfur is supposed to be “unacceptable”, “intolerable”, “genocide.” And what are the consequences? A concert and a vaguely disapproving report from an EU sub-committee.
Last summer, when Israel tried to enforce consequences on Hezbullah and Lebanon for kidnapping its soldiers and attacking its cities with missiles, the Usual Suspects whined that the response was “disproportionate.” (Watch: if in fact the Grand Compromise passes, heaven forbid, we will hear that word or it’s synonyms over and over if the feds actually try to enforce the deportation provisions. The crybabies in the media can always find a sympathetic story of a young, telegenic mother who “is only trying to make a better life for her family”. The law be damned! There should not be consequences!)
Our rhetoric is completely disconnected from reality. We have confused Process with Results. We speak of great ambitions but perform only the most meager actions. We have inverted TR's old maxim. Now we speak loudly and carry a wet noddle. Unfortunately, we live in a real, gritty world of real, tangible consequences. We will be reminded of that sooner or later. And we will not like it.