An Incoherent Bully: thoughts on the GOP, ICE, and Sanctuary Cities

Several Boston media outlets are reporting this morning that Federal immigration officials arrested 50 people in Massachusetts as part of a nationwide sweep focusing on what they called “sanctuary” jurisdictions…

Said one ICE official: “This [is] a concerted effort to target those locations where we don’t get the cooperation from those agencies. We need to put additional resources into these locations to make these arrests.”

In other words, the Federal Government is stooping to bullying those who are acting to protect innocents from the current administration’s cruel and racist immigration policies: hoping to beat such dissenters into submission.

The GOP makes a big deal about “Local Autonomy” and “States Rights.” And yet, as we see here, when local municipalities and states seek to exercise such rights, particularly with regards to espousing liberal social justice policies; it is the GOP who moves quickly, if not viciously, to shut them down: acting more like an angry bully, rather than providing the consistent, thoughtful and well informed leadership we can’t do without.

A few examples: look at how the extreme right reacted to the case of Kim Davis (the District Court Clerk in Kentucky who refused to sign marriage certificates for gay couples), and how the Republican Governor of Kentucky so carefully moved to support Ms Davis.  Compare this to how GOP Governors and Legislatures have reacted to cities that raised their local minimum wage, or how the GOP has reacted to the passing of local laws supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and concerns in states like North Carolina and Texas.


There has been much criticism from liberal and moderate voices (both Democrats and within the GOP) about how the Republican Party leadership has refused to take a stand against their extreme Right Wing’s opportunistic and inconsistent if not outright incoherent approach to social policy.  And, yesterday’s actions by ICE are yet one more example of how the party that trumpets how it wants to end “Big Government’s interference in people’s lives” is all too willing to use that same Big Government to squash local dissent, but only if it challenges its own positions.

As one conservative GOP commentator said on NPR this morning: the GOP is not helping itself through tolerating the incoherent social agenda and policies being pushed by its far right; nor by having a party leadership that has no mechanism or coherent plan in place for implementing its legislative agenda.

Even though I am definitely a Progressive in my own views – at least with regards to social justice issues –  I know that at the very least, any political agenda (including my own) cannot be implemented without addressing the critiques others may raise, if such an agenda is to be as robust and well supported as it must be in order to succeed.  So, we need solid and thoughtful conservative and moderate voices in our government and political discourse to balance against the Progressive agenda of myself and others.  We need leadership in BOTH parties that tolerates and respects such dissent.  As it says in the Bible: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety [Proverbs 11:14].”  One might also remember that just because your neighbor disagrees with us does not mean they are the enemy (“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy [Proverbs 27:6].”)

And yet, with every passing day, it becomes more and more obvious and undeniable that the current GOP party is unable to provide the leadership, guidance, or balance that we all need.

– Pastor Allen

Copyright (c) 2017, Allen Vander Meulen III.

Author: Allen

A would-be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is the proud father of a daughter and son, and enjoys life with his wife near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at

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