So Who You Going To Believe-- Tom Joad Or No Country For Old Men?
There are many points of conflict in today’s arguments between the Left and Right in America. One just had to see the ballistic reaction of the Left to the Supreme Court supporting president Donald Trump’s so-called Travel Ban to take its temperature. Prominent progressives are openly talking about stacking SCOTUS when they next get the chance. (When they’re not threatening to harass GOP office holders in restaurants, theatres and street corners.)
The reversal of a lower-court decision— that was hailed by the anti-Trump media— provides further incitement for lefties still smarting from the landmark Citizens United decision on campaign finance law dealing with the regulation of political campaign spending by organizations. That 2010 decision called political advocacy free speech and upheld the right of independent political bodies to spend money on ads in campaigns.
Overturning Citizens United is a sacred trust for the Left. So, the current immigration schism over Mexican border policy has been side-tracked by liberals’ obsession with family separations and process issues about where children are housed. In a few words, they’ve used immigration as a hostage to get back at Trump and his Citizens United supporters.
Those still in possession of their faculties shouldn’t get too deep into the legal weeds trying to divine why the two polarities are at their worst juncture since the 1960s. The explanation for the heated border rhetoric speaks to something more fundamental between the sides. At its heart, the DEMs attempt to change to topic from FBI collusion and the DNC’s speaks to very different philosophies about the world we live in.
The Left sees the struggle of illegals to crash the border as The Grapes Of Wrath. That’s John Steinbeck’s epic novel about poor farmers trying to make their way from Dustbowl Oklahoma to California in the Depression of the 1920s and ‘30s. The dangerous, heart-breaking trek in the face of cops and criminals became the siren song of modern American liberal thought.
The final words of the noble Tom Joad sum up the Democratic Party creed since FDR. “I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.” These are the words the little guy up against staggering odds and yet succeeding.
This sense of inevitability carried over to Barack Obama, the first black president in U.S. history— and spokesman for the policy of history heading for the better. Obama was fond of the Martin Luther King phrase, "“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. In short, we will face adversity and opposition. But, because our hearts are as pure as Dr. King’s, good will persevere.
So we see the ultra-liberal Democrat concept of a fluid border and the sanctifying effect of bringing in millions of Spanish-speaking Tom Joads escaping violence in Nicaragua or Honduras. We’ve also see their cultural shock troops in the media adopt the Left’s tender-hearted interpretation in a filibuster of ‘why can’t we all just get along?”
By contrast, conservatives see the immigration crisis as No Country For Old Men. In the award-winning Coen Brothers movie, fate stalks the common people, engaging them— not in a battle of values— but in a random coin flip to save their lives. Survival is not Obama’s arc of a moral universe but a an episode of pure luck.
They have no illusions that the malign forces working across the border from America are the noble Tom Joad. This isn’t a family that just needs a break. The people coming across are the shock troops of crumbling societies. The smugglers sending them are from huge drug cartels. The countries dumping their undesirables are unrepentant.
Trump may or may not believe this as fervently as some on his side, but he’s been willing to give voice— and take the blows— for articulating the need to seal the border. Hence his no-exceptions policy to charge or deport illegals. His rhetoric about MS-13. His consistent demand that Congress solve the mess left from eight years of Obama’s arc of the moral universe sophistry.
When two sides see a grave national issue in such starkly contrasting ways, it’s little surprise they are stuck. In many ways, Trump faces the same dilemma Obama did in trying to be compassionate while also protecting the nation and its economy. But where Obama believed in his own inevitable triumph, Trump says the border can only be work through a bare-knuckled fight against the worst forces a nation can face.
He sees the man flipping the coin standing ready to cross the wall into America and wreak a capricious, deadly justice on its citizens. While the cultural elites want happy endings— and berate him as Hitler— Trump’s supporters are prepared to wage a bloody fight to stave off a cruel fate.
The question now is will they let him finish the job by giving him a friendly Congress— and new SCOTUS nominees— in November?
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on his website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand will be available this fall.