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One of the biggest problems in today’s political discourse is that people seem to have lost sight, or purposefully ignore, much of their own commonsense. Instead, political affiliation seems to have taken over as the driving force behind our decisions and points of view.

Let’s take one modern example: Trump’s new Muslim ban. Now let me be clear: I detest Donald Trump. He has no business in the White House, and does not deserve to be president. But, would I call his recent executive action to ban people from certain countries “A Muslim ban”?  Not really. There are dozens of countries that are majority Muslim not on his list. And I know many well-meaning liberal people who are smart enough to understand that an actual Muslim ban would look much different than this limited order.

On the other side of the argument the administration says that an immediate ban from these locations is absolutely necessary. Why? That wasn’t President Obama’s take, and we didn’t have any terror attacks from non-citizens under his 8 years. If these places were really interested in attacking us they could do it very easily. It’s not as if guns are hard to come by in the US. 9/11 was over 15 years ago.

The ironic thing about this specific debate is that both sides have relied illogical arguments to make their point.

So what is really going on?

The political left realizes that continuing to insult Muslims could actually provoke the dangerous circumstances this order is said to prevent. It seems very ill conceived, and was obviously crafted hurriedly and without a lot of thought considering the green card scandal and obvious lack of guidance to the various departments. It’s also been characterized as overly broad. The problem with Donald Trump insulting minorities is that any attack in response to his bellicose blather will just turn into a reason for him to grab more power and suppress his political opposition.

Meanwhile, the political right gets to feel some form of appeasement from their new leader whose first wall “to keep out them foreigners”, as it turns out, is more of an ocean. The xenophobes argue it’s not a Muslim ban, but that’s exactly what they want. So they are approving of the position they are arguing against.

*sigh*

 

1. How does repeatedly insulting the nation of Mexico get them to capitulate to our demands? Public support in Mexico for a tough stance against the United States is probably at a record high, dramatically increasing the prospect of a trade war and diminishing our position in any negotiations. That would ultimately hurt the United States economy.

2. How does insulting the whole world of Muslims, not to mention many non-Muslims, make us safer in the long run? This action by President Trump will only enhance our enemy’s narrative of religious persecution by Christians and fuel a new generation of both homegrown and international threats making us far LESS safe.

3. Weren’t at least a few recent terrorist attacks in the United States homegrown, and isn’t this crackdown a provocation to another such local extremist? The San Bernardino terrorist was born here.

4. And why isn’t Saudi Arabia on the list? They sent 15 of the 19 hijackers from 9/11. Wouldn’t they be at the top of any list? What secret purpose would motivate president Trump to overlook $audi Arabia? I suppose our new secretary of state, the former CEO of Exxon had something to do with that decision.

5. And what if Trumps fancy new extreme vetting system doesn’t work right, and a few angry, determined extremists slip in? Then who will Trump pin the blame on? Obama, most likely.

Even to the casual observer one cannot ignore that these are all costly and strategic mistakes when it comes to protecting the American people. Insulting, bullying, fabricating, insinuating might (shockingly) get you to the White House in this country, but the same strategy could well prove disastrous for the United States as a country.

One last note: a terrorist attack would play right into Donald’s hands. It would allow him to consolidate power. It would also allow him a bigger microphone and make it easier for him to defend himself against criticism. So the only real person with something to gain from a terrorist attack against the United States at this point in time is Donald Trump himself.

While the rest of the world gathers in Paris to discuss the future of planet Earth and the threats posed by climate change, the Republican Party and in particular this week, Ted Cruz,  stand alone on the world stage as the final vanguard of denial and stupidity – or is it just greed? One can only wonder about which is true.

Only the hard-nosed conservatives of the Republican Party could stand proudly before their constituents and once again deny the legitimate role of science in creating public policy, and the mountain of evidence supporting its conclusions. And only the paranoid Republican electorate would believe the dubious tales of vast left-wing conspiracies and greedy scientists (whose conclusions are ripe with falsehoods after being paid for with dirty money of the nefarious corporations that supposedly fund them).

Meanwhile Beijing issued its first-ever red alert for air quality as Republicans decry President Obama’s war on coal while they politic across the nation. And while 2015 appears to be the hottest year on record, Republicans cherry pick data on global temperatures and assure us the glaciers aren’t receding THAT quickly.

I feel like I’m living in Bizaro world where white is black, down is up, and all that jazz. It turns out by the way that Beijing does not even rank in the 20 most polluted cities by air quality.

And as long as I’m talking about Bizaro world, how can I not discuss the topic of guns. Year after year, mass shootings in the United States pile up like newspapers on the lawn of an abandoned house. The solution? More guns of course. Evidently we don’t already have enough on the streets even though it seems like any 15-year-olds in the nation that wants one can get three.

Out of all the carnage and mass shootings we’ve had in the United States over the last several years, the NRA and their staff congressmen are steadfastly against enacting any type of new gun laws to help stem the flow violence. This stands in sharp contrast, of course, to the panic and hysteria that seem to terrify Republican voters at the mere thought of running into a Muslim at the grocery store.

As far as the Republican voter is concerned, allowing repeated mass shootings in the US with no new gun restrictions is acceptable. But after a couple of terrorist attacks, it’s suddenly time to close the border to an entire religion and lock up or listen in on anyone who’s already here.

Do I have that right?

To top it all off, the right wing conservative’s ruled by the tea party are all excited about Donald Trump who’s lack of military experience, multinationalism and cultural awareness will almost certainly lead us into an expensive war with ISIS in Syria. “Let’s carpet bomb” proclaims Trump while a bellicose Ted Cruz implies we’re ready to drop nuclear weapons as he ponders aloud whether sand glows in the dark. These people are insane if they think they can bomb their way out of this problem. But then again, we already know they aren’t sane people.

This war they are promising will explode the debt and result in the deaths of many more thousands of Americans, but as long as it’s a Republican idea, I guess it’s financially and morally ok. Never mind fiscal conservatism, we have some ass to kick with those bombers. Seemed to work just fine for us in Vietnam where carpet bombing brought the North Vietnamese to their knees, right?