Service of Unintended Consequences II

December 10th, 2015

Categories: Politics, Security, Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences 2

Have you wondered how the shrinking moderate presence in Washington occurred; how the country has an increasing number of citizens from third world countries and how ISIS happened? Homer Byington, my husband, shares his theories.

In 1965, as part of his “Great Society” Civil Rights initiative, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed by Congress despite the strong opposition of the Southern wing of the Democrat Party, but with the overwhelming support of the Republican minority. Its intent was to give black citizens the same voting rights as white citizens and a proportionate share of representation in legislative bodies such as Congress. It and subsequent court decisions, especially since the 1990s, have led to the re-drawing of State Congressional district lines to create a number of new “black majority districts.” Doing this, obviously, has led to the remaining districts in each state becoming far whiter than they had previously been.

The unintended, and unforeseen, consequence of this was that while there are now far more black and Hispanic congressmen and women than ever before, the number of “safe” seats controlled by extremist white conservatives has also increased even more dramatically. The number of moderates of any political stripe has declined just as dramatically.

President Lyndon B. Johnson

President Lyndon B. Johnson

That same year, again as part of his “Great Society” Civil Rights initiative, President Johnson signed into law the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which was enacted by Congress, despite the strong opposition of the Southern wing of the Democrat Party, but again with the overwhelming support of the Republican minority. Its intent was to replace the existing law, which was discriminatory because it based visa eligibility on the national origin of the immigrant, with a policy that united families. There was no limitation on the number of immediate family members of American citizens that could be admitted.

donkey and elephantThe unintended, and unforeseen, consequence of this has been that the demographic makeup of the country has changed dramatically. Neither President Johnson, nor most others in his administration, and especially the mid-western Republicans, wanted or expected this to happen. They assumed that the vast bulk of immigrants would be family members of existing citizens and, therefore, would continue to be European. Instead, prosperity and declining birthrates there led to, if anything, reverse immigration to, rather than from, particularly Western Europe. Instead, a flood of Third World migrants, taking advantage of a variety of preference categories under the statute on a worldwide quota basis, compounded by the admission of their relatives and, in turn, their relatives, have poured into the country over the past 50 years.

In 2004, the United States invaded Iraq supposedly to fight terrorism and quickly overthrew Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, his Ba’ath Party and army. Perhaps following the example of what the Allies did in Post-war Germany with the Nazis, Hussein was eventually executed, the first tier of Ba’athists and military were prosecuted or jailed and the lower ranks were fired and disenfranchised. The latter, according to Michael Weiss, co-author of ISIS – Inside the Army Of Terror, became the pool of unemployed, unhappy, educated, technologically inclined, skilled Sunni labor from which ISIS sourced the relatively sophisticated team that now staffs its middle and upper-middle management. (Based upon my own experience with Iraqis, I’m inclined to believe Weiss.)

President George W. Bush

President George W. Bush

The unintended, and unforeseen, consequence of this occupation policy was that we and others now have a massive problem dealing with a variety of terrorist attacks by diverse ISIS agents and recruits around the world. President George W. Bush and his advisors may have invaded Iraq with the intention of weakening, and eventually defeating, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, (although I was not then, and am still not now sure anybody in the government really understood what he was doing at the time), but they certainly did not intend to spawn a new breed of yet more sophisticated Wahhabi Sunni terrorists. However, that seems to be what has happened.

Homer asks: Do you think that there is any way in which we can undo these past unintended consequences? If so, how would you go about fixing what has happened? And, can you think of any actions our leaders are now taking which will unintentionally result in regrettable consequences for all of us?  

 Tangle of yarn

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8 Responses to “Service of Unintended Consequences II”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Anyone pretending to have an answer to these questions is either a swami/psychic, political genius, or a liar. Probably a liar.

    While there are a number of possibilities which come to mind, they would have to be tried out on an experimental basis, and there might not be enough time to experiment before someone blows up the planet.

    If I had my druthers, I would accept as many refugees as humanly possible, and leave the Near/Middle East to its devices, which might bring about less terror and more calm once it realizes it’s on its own with no aid forthcoming. But again, this may not work, while the international community continues to be thrown in disarray.

  2. JBS Said:

    I read Homer’s remarks and couldn’t agree more. As a former Moderate Republican who can’t find a home anywhere now, we see the same things he does, although I’m sure we have not thought as much about the roots of today’s problems, as he has. (And now the Democratic party is too far left for us, just as the Republicans are too far right, so as I said, there is no home for us. Besides I don’t trust Hillary a bit.)

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I think that even the most informed citizens don’t know everything–as it should be. So for one of us to come to a solution without knowing crucial intel is unlikely.

    However in response to Homer’s question “can you think of any actions our leaders are now taking which will unintentionally result in regrettable consequences for all of us?” I have a few suggestions.

    Our leaders must begin to think of their constituents, not their pocketbooks, when it comes to issues such as gun control. Hundreds of them are on the NRA’s payroll. I keep hearing that if there had only been citizens with guns things would have been very different in the parking lot, movie house, school and at the California Christmas party and in Paris–any of the places where crazies or terrorists killed and injured too many innocents and I agree: Far more people would have been dead. Citizens have no business taking the law into their own hands. This leads to chaos.

    Second, the media should play its part as it did in the past. I don’t believe many are digging deeply enough into the backgrounds of some of the candidates. On a positive note, some have begun to stop promoting the names of terrorists when referring to the horrific damage they cause, to discourage copy cats hoping for their ten minutes of fame. Newscasters can do us all a big favor by laying off gleefully relaying what candidates have to say when their words are irresponsible, unworthy of recognition and dangerous. Candidates are free to say what they want–that’s the American way and I agree with it. However, the public doesn’t have to be subject to reiterations of uninformed, uneducated bluster from people who have zero experience and who will say anything for a headline. For those interested in this pap, they should visit the candidate’s website.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    Consider Bernie Sanders. His competition throws around words, like “socialist,” to scare Americans and I’d posit that most haven’t a clue what that means other than it sounds foreign and they should avoid it. He’s an unusual politician. He’s not a $billionaire like Mayor Bloomberg, yet like the former Mayor, he doesn’t pander to big money. He says it as he sees it–not as polls suggest he should. He appears to be a straight arrow and understands what’s happened to this country and its hardworking, dwindling middle class and that we are currently in the hands of a few enormous corporations and wealthy individuals who say “jump” to the collective response, “how high?”

    People wonder who will pay for all that “free college education in public institutions.” Frankly, we’re paying in SPADES for an uneducated workforce. That said, just because Bernie wants this to happen, he knows, and has said, that he doesn’t expect to get everything he wants.

    We hear about “refreshing candidates who tell it like it is,” which they interpret as “its OK to use foul language and hate-talk.” Bernie is a refreshing candidate without such a demeaning, insulting approach.

  5. Homer Byington Said:

    JBS,

    My namesake, A. Homer Byington, was a newspaper man and smalltime Connecticut politician. Originally, he was a Whig, but became a Republican when the party was founded in 1856. He heard Lincoln speak at Cooper Union (a speech worth rereading) and backed him at the 1860 Republican convention. I know of no descendant of his that was ever anything but a Republican.

    I feel as you and your husband do. The time has come to found a new center-right political party which is dedicated to the commonsense principals in which men like Lincoln believed, and lead by moderate, thoughtful, honest, intelligent, patient, capable leaders. I expect to vote third party this year and perhaps from now on.

    The only candidates I see out there who might fit that description are Bernie Sanders and John Kasich and neither has a chance.

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    Leaders don’t have a history of working to the interest of their constituents, and the press/media could care less about responsible reporting. Even if they did, their bosses may, like the leaders, lean towards personal gain, and fire those who march of line. Remember Dan Rather? Unfortunately, ma pauvre Jeanne, you dream! Before you rebut by referring to exceptions, they are not likely to prevail in the present climate.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    One can only hope, which is why I say “Go Bernie!” and hooray for Pollyanna.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Homer,

    One of the reasons sleeper candidates like Sanders and Kasich don’t have a chance is that the media covers D. Trump mostly. Every time I mention Bernie I get that same response. It’s a crime that to get media attention a politician has to be outrageous, a buffoon or weird.

    I hope that this approach doesn’t bleed into other industries as I won’t recommend to clients ridiculous promotions that skirt on cruelty or that make them appear obnoxious so that their legitimate news has a better chance of getting editorial coverage. Don’t get me wrong: I celebrate clever partnerships and/or promotions. Somehow the elephant in the room these days has been protected. I can’t figure out why, nor could I or anyone else guarantee that others pulling similar stunts would also come out unscathed.

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