Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blinded By Ideology

We wrote recently that we tend to view current events through a very narrow ideological prism, paying little attention to the long term cause an effect of any one particular event.
First let’s take a look at our politics. 
Kelly Ayotte is a Republican Senator from New Hampshire.  She won her last election by a 23% landslide.  The people of New Hampshire supported the recently defeated background check legislation by a 75-25 margin.  Ayotte chose to listen to the very vocal minority and voted against the bill.  Polls taken after the vote show that Ayotte’s approval ratings are now upside down.  She’s lost 15 points in her approval ratings while her “disapproval” ratings have gone up 11 points since the last polls were taken.
Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota broke party ranks and joined Republicans in opposing the bill.  She said her office was inundated with calls from constituents voicing their opposition to the bill.  Polls show North Dakotans supported the background check legislation by an overwhelming 90-10 margin.  Heitkamp said she didn’t believe the polls.  Neither did Mitt Romney.
Ayotte and Heitkamp join a host of lawmakers who have historically been hesitant to vote against the NRA for fear of facing its money and grassroots activism come election time.  That insular thinking will have consequences.  The NRA and the gun lobby have made a serious miscalculation about the county’s desire to curb gun violence.  Lawmakers who join the NRA in their ever shrinking ideological bubble will learn that lesson at the next election.    
We see the same insular thinking in our foreign policy.  The Boston bombers are domestic terrorists but their actions were fueled by our foreign policies.
 Lawmakers in Washington are now playing Monday morning quarterback with the events surrounding the Boston bombings.  Word has leaked out that the Russian government warned both the FBI and the CIA about the radical leanings of the eldest bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  Naturally congress wants to know who knew what when.  We are already hearing rumblings from the neo-cons about tightening our security while conducting a scorched earth policy to destroy whoever radicalized these two bombers.  The far left is all concerned that the reaction to the bombings will infringe on our civil liberties.  And opponents of immigration reform cite the bombings as reason to kill all talk about pathways to citizenship. 
These lawmakers fail to understand that when we insert ourselves into the affairs of a foreign country under the guise of “protecting our interests” we tend to step on toes.  Those policy decisions have consequences.  And those consequences are playing themselves out on our shores with ever increasing frequency.  We can play the blame game all we want.  We can tighten our borders, tap into emails and eavesdrop on phone conversations all we want.  But as long as we continue to operate under a foreign policy of entitlement and self righteousness we will continue to be attacked.  Any thought to the contrary is blinded to reality.                        

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