Published July 30, 2014
Why is it okay for Israel to defend its borders, but not okay for us to defend ours?
I ask, only because no one else seems to asking that question – either the inconsistency of the argument or the folks making that argument. If Israel is aggressively policing its borders because guys on the other side are hurling rockets at them, doesn’t it stand to reason we would do the same if someone on the other side was hurling stuff at us? And doesn’t it also stand to reason we’d be nuts if we didn’t do the same?
Pick an issue, almost any hot issue today, and the inconsistencies are remarkable. Democrats who condone porous borders here, but border on slavish, commending Israel for not condoning porous borders there?
It's not just one side, and it's not just one issue. But both sides, on so many issues.
Republicans who talk a good game on policing spending, but mention not a lick about how they abused the privilege themselves when they were in charge. Or can rifle off all their opponents’ pet projects, without bringing up their own sacred cows.
Democrats who say they’re all-in on all-energy, until it comes to traditional fossil fuel energy. They also continue to pour good money after bad promoting solar energy without recognizing it’s hardly produced much bang for the buck.
If you want to know why folks are so disenchanted with leadership in this country, it’s because a growing number of Americans think their leaders are just phonies when they preach their great love for this country. Polls prove voters think both Democrats and Republicans talk a good game, but that’s all it is: a game. A glaringly inconsistent game, at that.
It’s one thing for the president to famously say, you can keep your doctor, when it turns out you can’t keep your doctor. It’s quite another to say the other side took you out of context and destroyed your own plan, so they’re the reason you can’t keep your doctor. Just like it’s one thing for Republicans to say the president doesn’t bother reaching out to them, but they haven’t exactly been passing a lot of olive branches out to him.
Both sides are trying to have it both ways. It’s like the retail chief executive who quickly blames the bad weather for a lousy quarter, but never seems to credit the sun if he has a good one. It’s human nature to play fast and loose with the facts, I guess, but those who do should realize it’s human nature for folks to see through their phoniness when they do.
What’s remarkable is how close we are to so many deals on so many thorny issues, if not for the political gamesmanship we play that prevents getting them. Even Democrats see that entitlement spending simply isn’t sustainable, and that just taxing the rich to keep those entitlements going isn’t the answer. They just don’t say it. Better to rip the other side for all but throwing grandma off the cliff, than simply get off their talking points.
Republicans as well know that tax cuts aren’t the elixir for everything, but equally fail on presenting a compelling long-term entitlement survival plan for anything. Each side is so busy preaching to their base, that they don’t seem to mind that in the eyes of voters, they increasingly just look base.
That’s why trust in both parties is at an all-time low. And not just when it comes to politics. A majority of young people think the stock market is rigged, and even the state of marriage is a sham. Something makes folks this jaded. And that something is our leaders…in all fields and across all industries and sectors.
Words are cheap, and the folks who spout them seem cheaper. Is it any wonder politicians who praise Israel for policing its sovereign borders seem somehow remiss for not demanding equally forceful action at ours?
My dad used to say, “Neil, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it.” He was an Italian immigrant – a legal Italian immigrant – a man of few words who got it. And he married a far more loquacious, but equally adamant Irish immigrant (also legal) – who also got it. Although gone now, my parents were of that Greatest Generation that defined its greatness not by what they said, but by what they did, and the consistency of purpose with which they did it.
That was then. Why the hell can’t that be now?
We have it in us, after all. Because I know the Greatest Generation is gone, but last time I checked, we all share their DNA. Maybe we should act like it, and talk less about it.