The Importance of Common Sense

For the last few days, I have watched as both extreme sides of the political spectrum have gone completely crazy over the concept of Syrian refugees.

Yes, I said BOTH SIDES.

Look, I am all for bringing in more refugees, but the issue is not whether or not we bring in 10,000 Syrians, but whether or not we bring in 10,000 additional refugees to the 70,000 we already accept every year. The other side is screaming loudly that we should be cowardly as hell and deny access to any Muslim who wants to come here, and that is completely batshit, but instead of countering with a rational explanation of why we should bring in 10,000 additional refugees, our side is attacking any politician who reflects the fear his or her constituents have, based in part on natural fears, as well as the right wing rhetoric.

Let me say that again, so that you understand…

Instead of allaying the fears of average Americans who don’t understand the issue and explaining it to them, our side is actually exacerbating the fear by essentially repeating the right wing rhetoric and “refuting” it by condemning everyone who doesn’t completely reject their position that we should just accept anyone. Not only that, but we’re also doing our damnedest to keep Republicans in power. Good job.

Case in point: the screaming on the part of a great many far left “progressives” (PUBs and pro lefties) when a bill passed this week that strengthens the restrictions on Muslim (Syrian) refugees coming into this country. The fact that a few dozen Democrats voted with the Republican majority on the bill and created a seemingly “veto-proof majority” had these “progressives” apoplectic and promising to work against any Democrat who voted for this bill, which is exactly what Republicans were trying to do by proposing this bill in the first place. Again, guys; good job.

Look, I’m not happy with the bill, which is pure Republican ideology, but you are fooling yourself if you don’t understand that the bill, rightly or wrongly, does actually reflect how the American people feel at the moment. Reacting like a bunch of screaming pre-adolescent kids doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever. Yelling at the Democrats and threatening to not vote for any of them only serves one purpose; it helps the Republicans win.

Here are a few things you should think about if you’d like to keep this rational:

  • The bill would have passed if it had ZERO Democratic votes, so no Democrat cast a deciding vote on it.
  • Next year is an election year, and a lot of Democrats represent fairly conservative districts, meaning their constituents probably are very strongly against allowing Syrian refugees here.
  • We don’t know what the Senate will do. They are not nearly as right wing as the House and they will need 60 votes to pass it in the first place; certainly not a guarantee, especially since they won’t even vote on the bill until the furor dies down.
  • President Obama will veto this bill.
  • In order to override the veto, everyone who voted on it in the House the first time will have to vote on it the second time AND the Senate will have to scrape together 67 votes. Given that the “veto-proof majority” in the House was a whopping two votes and it’s hard to imagine getting 67 votes on anything in the Senate, that probably won’t happen.

 This is why progressives fail at politics; we’re too emotional and we tend to react to everything. Issues can be emotional, but politics never is. Bringing emotion into politics is a sure way to lose. What you should see in last week’s vote is an opportunity, not a defeat, and by “opportunity,” I do not mean an opportunity to complain. We have a chance to appeal to the people rationally and get them to realize what this issue is really about and to change hearts and minds. Instead, PUBs and pro lefties scream at Democrats, who literally have no effect on crap like this. If this type of issue continues next year, which is a possibility, since terrorists aren’t likely to take a year off, then these Democrats have actually made a vote they can point to, in order to show how tough they are on terrorism, without actually hurting refugees in any way, since this bill won’t likely pass. By the way, even if it does pass through some miracle, it will face years of court challenges, which will make electing Democrats to appoint Supreme Court Justices and other judges even more important.

In other words, as usual, “progressives” have succeeded in making it look as if Democrats are just as bad as Republicans again, and thus giving the GOP an opening in 2016. They probably won’t win the presidency, and their odds of keeping the Senate are slim, but we have seen that Democrats have to have the House, too, or we’re screwed as a nation.

One more dose of reality before I go:

  • The only reason a bill like this exists is because the GOP runs the House. If Democrats were in the majority, we’d never see crap like this.
  • The current allotment of refugees is 70,000 and Obama’s proposal is to raise that to 80,000, with a couple more increases in the next few years. If we keep being reactionary, we could end up not only seeing the increase killed, but we could see the original cap reduced.
  • We are not teaching people why their view of the refugee program is wrong. By calling anyone who doesn’t see everything the same as us “stupid” or “Islamophobic,” we make them less receptive to seeing things as they are.

We have a lot of work to do, folks, but we can’t do it as long as we’re reacting to everything emotionally and not using common sense. We live in a democracy; if you want things done, you need a majority. Instead of screaming at a few dozen Democrats and making it less likely that Democrats will take over governments all over the country, which really needs to happen, think about the various possibilities and make sure you’re working for the best one. The bill to block Syrian refugees will probably never become law, but the best way to guarantee it is to change the minds of the American people and making a vote for such a bill untenable.

This is getting sickening. If Republicans didn’t run the government in the first place, you’d never see bills like this. That’s right; put Democrats in the majority and no Democratic politician will ever have to make such a vote. You keep helping right wingers win elections and then seem surprised when they do right wing things and politics forces others to have to do things they don’t want.

Progressive politics is about making sure Democrats win, so they never have to “compromise” with wingnuts and make terrible choices.

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