Our Priorities as a Nation May Predict Our Decline

I’m not a fan of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. It vested too much power in one organization. Created to address the inability to share information related to terrorist threats it merged programs that responded to disasters and terrorism. While a gross oversimplification, the point is that it was conceived to improve our national security and response capabilities. One can argue it has been effective, but also that the trade off of personal freedom has not been worth the supposed extra security. What we can’t argue is that DHS is now essential to our national security.

Any federal employee above mid-level management will likely concur that Congressional and Presidential budget wars are disruptive. Personnel are pulled from important work to address the silliness that ensues when Congress holds the budget hostage. Federal employees are human beings. When employees fear not being paid they are less focused and less effective. A less focused and effective DHS leaves us all at risk.

The priorities of a nation are reflected in both the budget and the legislation that is not only proposed, but successfully passed. As I looked at the US Senate Roll call Votes for the 114th Congress – 1st Session I had to ask myself if Congress, and we the people that voted for them, has forgotten what values we hold and lost all ability to set priorities.

While Congress could not agree on a DHS budget they were able to agree to reject an amendment to Keystone XL Pipeline Act to protect private property from being seized through condemnation or eminent domain for the benefit of a foreign owned business. We don’t need to protect the country, we are taking it away from the people and giving it to foreign companies through eminent domain.

I’m curious, what part of the values that make us the greatest country in the world are represented in either not funding DHS for the year or in taking property from citizens and giving it to foreign companies?

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