Impasse: The Limitations of Government

The new congressional session has begun with the Democrats back in charge of the House of Representatives. While a lot of attention has been given to the younger Democrats newly elected, we’re actually being treated to the a lot of the Same Old Thing.

I did see Mary Poppins Returns, by the way, and liked it very much. But the return of Nancy Pelosi to the reins of power is a sequel I could have skipped. She’s exhibiting a fascinating governing style:

This style shows up particularly in the current controversy over funding a wall for border security. The government is in a partial shutdown while the two sides attempt to reach some kind of compromise, but that’s difficult to achieve when she says she won’t give even one dollar toward a wall. Meanwhile, Americans, on the whole, have this attitude:

Now, I’m not a zealot for a physical wall along the entire southern border; I’m not sure that’s really feasible. But I am concerned about ensuring that we have a fully functioning security apparatus in place to minimize illegal immigration (yes, I used that politically incorrect phrase). Every nation that can call itself a nation needs to control its borders.

Neither do I believe that the majority of people who want to come into America are terrorists or gang members. But if we don’t have a good vetting process, we can’t screen those who are seeking to do harm. The concern is real, not imaginary.

What’s interesting is that most Democrat leaders have, in the past, made comments about how important it is to build a wall. What has led to their change of mind? Well, opposition to Trump is certainly a foundation of their new mindset, but there’s probably also this:

My question is this: why didn’t Trump make this push when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress? Why did he wait until now? Yes, I know it would have been hard to get the 60 Senate votes needed to move legislation forward, but how is that harder than having to deal with a Democrat House?

To his credit, Trump has attempted to offer some compromises, but has faced a “wall” on the other side. One wonders what else he might be able to offer.

No, I don’t think that will work.

The other “solution” he is floating—declaring a national emergency and having the military build it—is so blatantly unconstitutional that it would never happen: the courts would tie that up immediately. One can rarely accuse Trump of being devoted to the constitutional limitation of power.

Some would say, “Well, other presidents have stepped out of line, so why not support Trump’s call for a national emergency?” So Trump should follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama? If you support that, you lose all credibility going forward.

So we are at an impasse. What will resolve it? I’m not sure. The one thing that stands out to me today, though, is the hope that this will teach us that government is not the ultimate solution for our problems. Government deals with the externals; God deals with hearts. But we have to allow Him to do so.