It looks like the House GOP is finally ready to begin constructing the border wall along the southern border.
The Homeland Security funding bill proposed by House Republicans includes $1.6 billion to fund the first phase of building President Trump’s border wall, which has up to now been stalled in the House by Republicans dragging their never-Trumper feet along with Democrat stonewalling. But no more. It does appear that they are ready to move forward with the wall.
Now this is a really good move by the GOP, in that they put this funding as part of a $44 billion dollar Homeland Security bill, and are thus presenting the construction of the wall as part of national security. Demoncrats want to turn this into their typical identity politics paradigm, that this is nothing more than a whitelash-inspired xenophobia and racism and the like. But you will notice that the funding of the wall is attached to other funding increases aimed at enhancing border security, including $100 million to hire 500 new border patrol agents and $106 million for new aircraft technology for use along the border. So I think this was a very good move on the part of the House Republicans. To the extent that the Demoncrats want to get in the way of this, and appease their far-left ‘resistance’ crowd that has yet to actually win an election, the Republicans can push that resistance back with appeals to national security. There are very few things that move the American electorate more than appeals to national security; and the chicken-little cries of racism and identity politics pale in comparison to the effectiveness of enhanced border security.
And I think we can see this with the confidence that seems to be emerging among the Republicans. In many respects, we are seeing the GOP begin to embrace the whole notion of enhanced border security, given its overwhelming political popularity. We have Steve King suggesting that we use the money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood to fund the border wall. And over on the other side, in the Senate, we’ve got Mo Brooks, who is vying for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old seat in Alabama, promising his constituency that he will read from the King James Bible on the Senate floor until the wall is funded. This kind of confidence, this bravado, over the funding of the wall shows you its popularity among voters, particularly in the south.
On the other side of the political aisle, the Demoncrats really have nothing; they have not given any specifics at all in terms of how they are going to resolve the sense of chaos that lingers over an unsecure southern border. And this is not good. Scholars have noted that a combination of economic and employment insecurity has not only exacerbated concerns about unfettered immigration, which serves to intensify the scarcity of jobs, but is also the primary reason for the electoral surge among the nationalist populist political right. To just simply respond to economic and immigration insecurities with identity politics makes one look like nothing more than a moralist idiot; you know, a Berkeley-brat that never grew up.
And I think the bottom line here is that the border wall is a no-win situation for the Demoncrats, and that is because they do not want to fix it. They do not want to end unfettered immigration. They are all for open borders precisely because this is the primary way in which the secular left has achieved its political prominence, particularly in places like California.
Unfettered immigration, both legal and illegal, is radically changing the social complexion of the nation to one favoring liberal democratic policies and preconceptions. It is not that the immigrants are themselves inclined toward liberal social issues (most are not), but they have been largely persuaded that their political advocates belong to a center-left coalition at the state and federal levels. Thus, the stream of immigration that has flowed uninterrupted over the last few decades is providing an increasingly insurmountable political demographic responsible for the advancement of left-wing social agendas. The liberal politics of California today will be those of Texas tomorrow. And so what is the solution? Stop the flow, and we will have cut-off a significant source of left-wing power and influence.
Now the Republicans are ready to do just that, and they have rightly framed the border wall as a matter of national security, so now the Demoncrats have to come out and oppose national security. Again, if they had an alternative plan that was even remotely comprehensible, they might have a chance; but right now – if you think it through — all they have is racism and Russia; that is it! That is the Democratic Party; Racism and Russia. What else do they have? What five to ten year plan of demonstrable border security enhancement do they have? Or, given their eight years in the White House and the couple years of their dominating all three branches, what on earth can they point to to demonstrate that they are the political party of border security? It is really laughable when you think about it.
Americans, like a growing number of Europeans, want their borders secured. And this fits in, as we have analyzed before, with a growing sense of insecurity among Western populations, both from a financial or economic concern as well as from a terrorist concern. And these two come together in the whole notion of illegal immigration; stop the flow of illegal immigrants and you will have stopped a highly significant potential source for terrorist infiltration into our nation on the one hand, and the adverse disenfranchisement of citizens from potential low-wage employment on the other. And so it is no wonder that the so-called far right or the nationalist populist right has politically surged throughout the US and Europe, and I have no doubt that we are just seeing the beginning of this surge.
Again, all you have to do is see how, what was once marginal, is now becoming normal and mainstream. Trump’s political positions were first touted by Pat Buchanan back in 1992 when he launched a primary challenge to what he saw as the secularizing globalism of George Bush Sr. And both in ’92 and then later in ’96 when he ran for President – and I was a big-time supporter of Pat Buchanan in that Republican primary – if you read some of the commentary coming from the likes of mainstream Republicans such as George Will, Buchanan was called a racist, a xenophobe, a backwards thinking economic protectionist that would never be accepted in the mainstream of the Republican Party! Well, here we are. And where is George Will now? This is called a political paradigm shift; it is when otherwise marginalized or peripheral political positions or parties end up becoming centralized and normalized. And then the question is how did that happen? What were the social, cultural, economic, demographic dynamics responsible for such a shift? And of course this is where we have been examining the worldwide dialectic between secular globalization on the one hand and its traditionalist nationalist backlash on the other.
This is why centrists such as McCain and Graham are actually now full blown political liberals; they were centrists, say in the ‘90’s and the aughts, but now, as of 2016 and the mass political shifts that we’ve been seeing throughout the West and indeed the world, like the presidential elections in Mongolia, those who were once centrists now find themselves on the side of the political left.
This is why we have good old Joe Scarborough announcing that he is leaving the Republican Party. He would rather hang around Mika and Steve Colbert and all the libbies at MSNBC because he has more in common with them than he does with a nationalist populist party. A lot of people are coming out and saying that Scarborough has changed, he was once a good reliable conservative Republican, but now he’s turn libbie since he has gone over to MSNBC. Nonsense! No, he has not changed; the nation has changed; the political paradigm that governs our nation has changed. He served in congress at a time when there were two political parties both equally dedicated to the promotion and perpetuation of economic globalization. The difference was in how best to manage globalization: should we go full-blown globalist and throw out all of our historic moral traditions in the name of emancipatory politics and a full-blown welfare state, or should we try to maintain the traditions as much as we can given our commitments to economic globalization?
Now you have someone like Trump and the new right emerge and say, sorry, you can’t have it both ways: you can’t be committed to secularizing globalization on the one hand and still maintain the traditions and moral customs of our culture on the other. They’re mutually exclusive social projects. And so, Scarborough wants his secular globalization, which he is getting plenty of at MSNBC, he wants his secular globalization more than he wants to protect life, more than he wants to protect marriage; in fact, he could not give a crap about traditional marriage, or gender, or the sanctity of human life. He will abandon all of that just to keep his old political paradigm. I do not think he has changed in the least in terms of his core commitments.
No, we are in the midst of a mass political paradigm shift, rooted largely in what scholars have called a post-security mindset brought on largely by economic and immigration insecurities; and it is precisely these two insecurities that Trump is addressing, most specifically in terms of the construction of the border wall. And as such, we are finding Trump on the right side of the wall, the side of mass political popularity and support. And the political left on the wrong side of the wall, and at least when it comes to this issue, for all practical purposes, they may be shut out entirely.
For more on baptism and the Apostle Paul’s vision of a sacramental society, see my book, The Ritualized Revelation of the Messianic Age: Washings and Meals in Galatians and 1 Corinthians, available here.