Boko Haram: Politicizing Tragedy

Hundreds of school-age girls kidnapped and Republicans want to incriminate Hillary? I’d expect nothing less.

With its emphasis on personal responsibility and freedom, the GOP is often considered cold, harsh, and mean; evidently, asking individuals to stand on their own two feet and make a living is immoral. Normally, I would reject this characterization: though the media works to hide it, compassionate conservatism is alive and well. Nevertheless, every stereotype contains a kernel of truth; the GOP’s response to Boko Haram’s disgusting act of terror proved just that.

On April 16, Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, kidnapped more than 250 young girls from a school in Chibok (northeastern Nigeria). In youthful naivety, I hoped conservatives would try solving the problem before assigning blame. I was wrong.

The likes of Rush LimbaughElisabeth Hasselbeck, and Megyn Kelly quickly jumped on the anti-Hillary bandwagon, lambasting the former First Lady for failing to label Boko Haram a “foreign terrorist organization” during her tenure as Secretary of State. Leaders like Newt Gingrich and Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, joined the fray, suggesting she was responsible for the tragedy and ridiculing her use of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Not to be outdone, media outlets like the National ReviewThe Daily Beast, and The Daily Caller ran stories excoriating Clinton for her lack of action.

A juicy chance to tarnish Hillary’s record? In conservative circles, that opportunity trumps all. Hundreds of kidnapped girls can’t hold a candle to tearing down Bill Clinton’s maligned wife.

Did Hillary make a mistake by refusing to label Boko Haram a “foreign terrorist organization”? Possibly, though that claim is up for debate. Regardless, her culpability means little to me. I honestly don’t care who allowed this tragedy to happen or what failings gave Boko Haram the opportunity to act; right now, all I care about is returning these girls to their families.

It’s unfortunate Republicans chose to make this a political issue. Does Boko Haram commit acts of terror? Certainly. Does it deserve to be labeled a “foreign terrorist organization”? I don’t know.

I think it best for conservatives to focus their energy on saving victims rather than crucifying ‘criminals.’ This is not the time to criticize Hillary or mete out blame, but rather the time to help those who need it most.

Politics ought not take precedence over people. If Republicans wish to be loved, they must strive for serving before defeating, helping before injuring, and curing before hurting. Only then will compassionate conservatism make its well-deserved comeback.