Barney Frank once famously said that Republicans believe life begins at conception and ends at birth. It couldn't be more true when it comes to the current humanitarian crisis involving some 52,000 Central American youths who have fled across the U.S. border since October. How are certain elements of the GOP reacting? If the photo-ops and rhetoric are any indication, the situation isn't anything a M-249 machine gun loaded with 5.56 millimeter rounds can't solve.
Of course there was Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Fox News host Sean Hannity who were embedded with the border patrol, showing off how their military drag and poseur badassery. There was the rally in Michigan in which at least one attendee decided the only way to peaceably assemble would be to bring along an AR-15, the Sandy Hook weapon, in order to protest existence of unwanted children in their town.
But there's something missing in the increasingly hot rhetoric coming from the nutbag margins. A missing ingredient. It's missing a particularly slow-witted crackpot who doesn't understand key sections of the Constitution. It needs the craziest and most melon-shaped screecher in the House Crazy Caucus -- it needs an asparagus defender and the inventor of the "one way wall."
This crisis needs Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
In a floor speech that was almost entirely overlooked somehow, Gohmert went full Buck Turgidson, suggesting that Texas use the authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to engage in a shooting war to fight off the undocumented immigrant children entering Texas.
Even with $3.7 billion that’s requested, there’s no way for what’s being called for is going to stop the invasion that’s occurring. That’s why I’m hoping that my governor will utilize Article 1, Section 10, that allows a state that is being invaded — in our case more than twice as many just in recent months, more than twice as many than invaded France on D-Day with a doubling of that coming en route, on their way here now under Article 1, Section 10, the state of Texas would appear to have the right, not only to use whatever means, whether it’s troops, even using ships of war, even exacting a tax on interstate commerce that wouldn’t normally be allowed to have or utilize, they’d be entitled in order to pay to stop the invasion.
Uh, yeah. It's important to repeat that we're talking about roughly 52,000 children, most of whom are girls under the age of 13 (pdf). These children are Gohmert's invaders of Texas.
Do I really need to point out how ridiculous it is that big bad Texas, which we're not supposed to "mess with," is so terrified of children that Gohmert thinks ships of war and, wow, a tax increase of all things is necessary to beat back the incoming toddler hordes? Does he think a Muppet Babies version of Santa Anna is leading an invasion force of hastily-diapered warriors, some regiments barely tall enough to ride the Conquistador at Six Flags -- battalions of offensively stereotypical sombrero-and-poncho clad urchins storming the ramparts of gated communities in Gohmert's district?
Constitutionally, the framers intended Article I, Section 10 to apply to an invading army, not to second-graders -- even if they're armed with spitballs and cooties.
No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
Pardon me for stating the obvious here, but no, this isn't an invasion, nor is there any "imminent danger." Indeed the only danger here is to the kids, incited by Hannity, Perry and Gohmert who are suffering from a bizarre form of beer goggles: whenever they see a Latino child, they see Pablo Escobar.
Kidding aside, the shameful reality is that many of the children illegally entering the U.S. are escaping violence in their home nations, only to be greeted by militaristic talk show hosts and threats of war from sitting members of Congress. They came here seeking the peace and safety which their homes were incapable of offering and which our shining city on a hill surely would, and so we've welcomed them with machine guns and declarations of war.
We shouldn't often take Gohmert, Hannity and Perry seriously, but in this case we're observing an inglorious, embarrassing episode in the history of the United States, highlighting our very worst instincts and calling into serious question our exceptionalism.