Wednesday, July 5, 2023

#186 / The DeSantis Doctrine: A Petulant Politics


Ron DeSantis, a Republican Party candidate for president and currently the Governor of Florida, has recently visited the border between the United States and Mexico. He has a solution for our immigration problems: let's kill us some immigrants!
Some immigrants, says DeSantis, are attempting to bring drugs into our country. He admits that it may not always be possible to determine which immigrants are trying to do that, and which immigrants are merely seeking asylum in the United States, which, in fact, is legally sanctioned. Given the problem, DeSantis suggests that anyone seeking to push past border barriers should simply be shot down and killed, on the basis that trying to reach United States soil in this way demonstrates "hostile intent." As DeSantis explains it:

If you drop a couple of these cartel operatives trying to do that, you're not going to have to worry about that anymore. They would end up "stone-cold dead."
I am quoting from an article in the Tuesday, June 27, 2023, edition of The New York Times. The Times is certainly correct that "DeSantis's proposal served as an escalation of Republican messaging on the border and was part of a host of plans he unveiled in an effort to match the hard-line immigration stance of former President Donald J. Trump, who privately suggested shooting migrants in the legs during his administration." 

This "DeSantis Doctrine," suggesting that we simply kill immigrants when they attempt to push past border barriers because immigrants who do that might be drug lords, is definitely an "escalation" of Republican Party rhetoric around the nation's immigration policies. However, my point in today's blog posting is not, really, to focus on the specifics of what DeSantis is proposing, as horrific as his policy proposals truly are.

What I really want to comment on is an observation that Times' columnist Jamelle Bouie made in the same edition of the paper. The "DeSantis Doctrine" is just an example. The Republican Party candidates for president, Bouie says, have "no appetite beyond red meat."
Another way of saying this might be that the Republican Party appears to believe that our election campaigns should basically be about all the outrageous things that we are "against," what we really hate, instead of all the things that we're "for," those positive changes that we would like to achieve. I am not sure that the Republicans are alone in their "red meat" preference for "outrage" and "negative campaigning," but as The "DeSantis Doctrine" demonstrates, they are definitely leading the pack in their appetite for "red meat" issues - and "red meat" solutions.
It is true, of course, that we do need to find ways to oppose and eliminate the things that we don't like - and there are a lot of things we don't like, a lot of "problems." It's hard to avoid thinking that our political and public policy debates must take account of how we might prevent things we don't like from happening. 
On the other hand, without adorning my blog posting with a big "Smiley Face" (or maybe I should), I would like to propose that our politics could be improved if we were having discussions and debates about what we would like to accomplish, as opposed to highlighting all the things we don't like and want to eliminate. 
I guess I am asking for a "positive" politics, instead of a "petulant" politics. Is that too much to ask?

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