This is not a political statement. Please don't try to read anything political into this. If you're looking for political commentary on the current immigration situation on the southern border, this blog will disappoint you.
I'd like for us to look at the current immigration situation as an allegory for the state of preparedness in the United States.
In short, it looks something like this:
I would argue you could use these same seven events for essentially any disaster that affects America. Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, flooding - the pattern is quite predictable.
What is missing from both the immigration emergency and every other disaster we face is a noticeable lack of interest in fixing the root of the problem.
How can you say that, Paul? Congress could fix this if the <insert political party here you don't like> would come to the table and pass a bill to fix it!
No. That's not the fix.
In preparedness, in immigration, in gun violence, in poverty, in virtually every problem that befalls us, we conflate the band aid with the cure.
This is best demonstrated by surveying your own social media feed. Count the number of stories that depict what's going on at the border, that talk about our immigration laws, that complain about the government's policy, that complain about the current or previous president. That's your denominator.
Now count the number of stories that provide any meaningful explanation of how to fix the problems causing these people to leave their home countries. That's your numerator.
Numerator divided by denominator = The Fix Ratio
I did this myself. One day earlier this week, I counted 50 stories in my Facebook feed complaining about our immigration laws, President Trump, and President Obama. How people who support President Trump are horrible people, and how people who support President Obama are horrible people.
In that same space of Facebook feed, the number of stories that addressed how to fix the problems in the home countries motivating people to try to immigrate to the United States? Zero.
That gives us a Fix Ratio of 0/50 = 0.00 percent.
Disasters are no different.
After Hurricane Harvey, how many posts did you see on social media about the storm itself? How many did you see of the damage and suffering? About how much government aid will be necessary to rebuild?
And then compare that with the number of posts you saw on discussing how much of that damage and suffering could have been avoided if people had taken preparedness seriously?
The Fix Ratio for Harvey? Still pretty low.
In America, we aren't interested in the fix.
Because the fix is hard.
The fix requires us to do something beyond changing our Facebook status to make sure we register the correct outrage congruent with our political team.
The fix requires money.
The fix requires a changed mindset.
The fix requires different priorities.
The fix requires effort, training, and sacrifice.
The fix requires that we stop dividing ourselves into tribes along economic, religious, political, racial and gender lines.
The fix requires us to look at things in a non-emotional manner, where political scores aren't kept.
In preparedness, the conversations we really need to be having are:
UPDATED 3:25 PM CDT 6/24/2018
At the risk of being accused of making this political, I urge you to watch this short interview of former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson from today. I just saw this right after I posted this. Listen to the last sentence he makes in this clip: "You can deal with this on the border, you can try different things....but unless we deal with the underlying causes that are motivating people to come here in the first place, we are going to continue to bang our heads against the wall on this issue."
He's absolutely right. And this is the kind of thinking we need to be applying to our preparedness challenges as well.
See for yourself:
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.