OPINION – We’ve all heard some variation of how the “illegal aliens are destroying America.”
It’s an overly simplistic answer as to how a once-great nation such as the U.S. could be headed for the trash heap of history. It’s also a testament to how easily the American public can be misdirected to focus its wrath on those who have nothing to do with implementing the actual policies that are destroying our nation.
We hear calls for building impregnable walls, armed troops on the borders, national ID cards and more administrative checkpoints. The clamor for loosening the chains on government power in order to impose a forceful solution is the perfect example of what Montesquieu referred to as a “tyranny that is self-administered by its victims.” But would it actually solve America’s problems?
Let’s suppose for a moment that we could wave a magic wand and effectively deport every person who is in this country without official government permission.
Another wave of the wand would make our borders airtight thereby stanching the flow of illegals into the U.S.
Now, take a deep breath and consider exactly what about our nation’s situation will have fundamentally changed?
Is our nation still drowning in public and private debt?
Is out-of-control taxation and government spending on entitlement programs at home and the projection of imperial power abroad still continuing unabated?
Is American society still continuing its descent into a cultural cesspool of false education ideas, immorality and the worship of material things?
Does the expansion of government at every level continue to intrude further into our personal lives even as our liberties diminish in the name of security?
Are the cries for stronger crackdowns on illegal immigration addressing the greatest problems facing our nation or simply addressing one symptom of a much larger problem?
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.”
While illegal immigration and its attendant problems are a real concern, they are hardly the roots of the what’s destroying America.
The real tragedy is that so many Americans have allowed themselves to be duped into being defined by who or what they are against rather than by the principles for which they stand.
It’s easy to be against something and easier still to be against someone. All we need is a grudge and a convenient target against which to direct our outrage.
To actually stand for something, rather, is a much loftier goal.
Standing for something requires one to clearly understand both the problem at hand and the principles at stake.
Such distinctions are too often lost in the swell of emotion that is the hallmark of the angry mob.
Blogger and author Connor Boyack, puts it like this: “It is unproductive and pointless to debate an issue without analyzing the underlying principle. Practicality, logistics, feasibility, popularity, and all other secondary interests should be set aside until all parties understand the core of the issue.
Whether the discussion is about illegal immigrants, Muslims, home schoolers, polygamists or any other group, we cannot lose sight of the fact observed by Will Grigg when he noted that even our supposed enemies are created in God’s image.
With this principle as our baseline, we can begin to examine solutions that don’t require us to reduce others to a caricature that, at best, downplays their humanity and, at worst, diminishes them to mere insects to be stomped on.
So what is the solution regarding illegal immigrants?
Prosecute individuals whose actual behavior has criminal ramifications. Whether that person is an American citizen or an illegal alien, they should be held to the law so long as there is an actual evil act involved. This means that there is a clear victim rather than simply a breach of some administrative rule.
For those who are truly interested in correcting America’s problems, Dr. Shanon Brooks of Monticello College asks a question that is worth considering: “Do we have a reputation of community service and sacrifice or are we seen as the ‘angry radical’ that can only point a finger and identify the flaws of others?”
There are many good people who see the problems that must be addressed, but they remain uncertain as to how they can best do something that will have impact.
Standing and shouting with the angry mob may be cathartic, but those who invest the necessary time and effort to quietly gain understanding and then to apply it through meaningful service to others will provide solutions that have positive, lasting impact.
We sometimes forget that it only takes one person leading out correctly to inspire positive action in others.
Our efforts would be far better spent in becoming that person.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.