That headline quote is Peggy Noonan in this morning’s WSJ piece on the border crisis. Here’s a fuller quote of her conclusion:
Meanwhile some in the conservative press call the president incapable, unable to handle the situation. But he is not so stupid he doesn’t know this is a crisis. He knows his poll numbers are going to go even lower next month because of it. He scrambled Wednesday to hold a news conference to control a little of the damage, but said nothing new.
There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be “comprehensive,” meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.
The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?
A couple of weeks ago, writing about the downward trend in new business formation, I wrote:
The concerns of the WSJ are far more profound that just the downturn in productivity and causal slowness in business formation. (Something that, by the way, if not reversed will mire the nation in the debt this administration has buried us under forever.) It is a reflection of the secularization of the nation – it is not a business problem, it is a soul-sickness.
This border crisis is more soul-sickness – It is soul-sickness on a new and heinous level. Even if the president genuinely does not know what to do, even if he really is completely incapable, he must still, as Noonan says, “know this is a crisis.” The fact that he is doing anything other than enabling (that is to say, getting the h%^$ out of the way of) people that do know what to do is political calculation.
Jim Geraghty discussed the issue yesterday and while he lauded Glenn Beck’s charity efforts he quickly pointed out such is not enough – that action is needed on so many levels. As I read Geraghty yesterday the idea flooded into my head that the thing to do would be to organize a massive number of church buses to provide humanitarian aid and transport these kids home to their families. (A Dunkirk kind of thing.) But then it dawned on me, for that to work we would need the cooperation of the governments of Mexico and Guatemala and Nicaragua and…. We would need physical protection from the highly organized gangs of criminals that are providing the networks that move these children. In other words we would need the help of the United States government, and that is unreliable.
Somewhere on talk radio yesterday I caught a quick snippet of a guest discussing with the host the fact that the reason nothing is happening in Washington is that the Congress cannot trust the president to honor an agreement. There is no point entering into negotiations, he will simply do as he pleases. That, in a nutshell, is the heinous level of soul-sickness that infects the land. It matters; it is not just the president.
I have no statistics, but it certainly seems to me that I am more and more experiencing people violating the commonly accepted social contracts. You know the simple politeness of life, from butting into lines to talking in movies to roadway behavior. The amount of profanity and dismissive insult spilled after the Hobby Lobby decision is not merely a reflection of the pervasiveness of social media, it is also a reflection of the fact that those taking to social media do not feel compelled to engage in civil discourse. That is a reflection of what is happening in Washington. It is not good.
The culture war before us now is no longer about issues, it is about simple human decency. All I want from the president is a chance for those of us of religious bent to be humanly and humanely decent in this border crisis. Whether through incompetence or political calculation or both, he denies even that opportunity. I will not pretend to understand his motivations, but I will tell you that whether it be the loss of life in the continued struggles of the Middle East or the humanitarian crisis on our border, his actions or inactions have produced evil.
Such is not what made America the leading nation of the world. We are much, much better than that. We need our president to let us be so.