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Defining Ourselves By Our Enemies

When a federal judge earlier this week struck down portions of Arizona’s attempt to crack down on illegal immigration it certainly riled up those who’ve chosen this issue as their figurative last stand.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a darling of the forces of so-called “law and order” (so long as it’s being enforced against someone else), was quick to take a stand in defiance of the court’s ruling by launching an immigration sweep timed to coincide with the law taking effect.

In the meantime, the airwaves bristled with the outraged pronouncements of individuals who are utterly convinced that illegal immigration is the prime source of America’s problems–followed closely by the Muslim question and Barack Obama’s true nationality.

Not to be outdone, the more radicalized supporters of illegal immigration began staging noisy demonstrations of their own by taunting supporters of the law and demanding repeal of SB 1070.

The illegal immigration issue is quickly developing into a perfect storm of obnoxious ideologues eager to collide head-on at 100 miles per hour.  

Sadly, it appears both groups are likely to get their wish.

Let’s suppose for a moment that we could wave a magic wand and effectively deport every person who is in this country without official government permission.  

Another wave of the wand would make our borders airtight thereby stanching the flow of illegals into the U.S.  

Now, take a deep breath and tell me what about our nation’s situation will have fundamentally changed?

Will our nation still be drowning in public and private debt?

Will out-of-control taxation and government spending on entitlement programs at home and projecting imperial power abroad still continue unabated?

Will American society still be continuing its descent into a cultural cesspool of false education ideas, immorality and the worship of material things?

Will the expansion of government at every level continue to intrude further into our personal lives even as our liberties diminish in the name of security?

Be honest.  

Do the cries for a stronger crackdown on illegal immigration address the greatest problems facing our nation or do they simply address one symptom of a much larger problem?

Henry David Thoreau:

“For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.”

While illegal immigration and its attendant problems are a real concern, they are hardly the root of the what’s destroying America.  

The real tragedy is that so many Americans have allowed themselves to be duped into being defined by who they are against rather than by the principles for which they stand.

It’s easy to be against something and easier still to be against someone.  All you need is a grudge and a convenient target against which to direct your outrage.

But to actually stand for something is a much more weighty matter.

Standing for something requires one to understand both the problem at hand and the principles at stake.

This distinction is too often lost in the swell of emotion that is the hallmark of the angry mob.

Connor Boyack, a kindred spirit in the defense of liberty, puts it like this:

“It is unproductive and pointless to debate an issue without analyzing the underlying principle. Practicality, logistics, feasibility, popularity, and all other secondary interests should be set aside until all parties understand the core of the issue.

Whether the discussion is about illegal immigrants, Muslims, home schoolers, polygamists or any other group, we cannot lose sight of the fact observed by Will Grigg when he noted that even our supposed enemies are created in God’s image.  

With this principle as our baseline, we can begin to examine solutions that don’t require us to reduce others to a caricature that, at best, downplays their humanity and, at worst, diminishes them to mere insects to be stomped on.

For those who are truly interested in making a difference, Shanon Brooks of ReValue America asks a question that is worth considering:

“Do we have a reputation of community service and sacrifice or are we seen as the ‘angry radical’ that can only point a finger and identify the flaws of others?”

There are many good people who see the problems that must be addressed, but they remain uncertain as to how they can best “do something” that will have impact.  

Standing and shouting with the angry mob may be cathartic, but those who invest the necessary time and effort to quietly gain understanding and then to apply it through meaningful service to others will provide solutions that have far greater impact.

We sometimes forget that it only takes one person leading out correctly to inspire positive action in others.

Consider becoming that person.

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bryanhyde1Bryan Hyde is a radio host, husband, father, graduate student at George Wythe University, and seeker of truth. He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice.

Bryan blogs at The White Rose Society and writes firearm reviews for The Truth About Guns. He and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Defining Ourselves By Our Enemies