- - Thursday, August 21, 2014

Most parents of an over-active toddler will relate to this. As much as you want to resist, a tiny 20-pound person has the power to turn an otherwise rational adult into a sucker. At the wise age of 2, my nephew had this all figured out. “When mommy says ‘no,’ I just scream really loud,” he shared with me one afternoon. “If she keeps saying no, I just scream harder,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.

This little cherub, with his curly blonde hair and huge blue eyes, can easily deliver a blood-curdling scream that lasts well over an hour. If more is required, he’ll throw his body into it. Who would blame my sleep-deprived sister for caving?

“So, let me get this straight,” I said, wanting to be sure of what I was hearing; his tantrums were calculated and deliberate, not immature bursts of emotion. “When your mom says no to something, you intentionally scream until she gives in?” Proudly, he smiled and said, “Works every time!”

His eyes suddenly grew wide as the light bulb went off. He just revealed his hand and I was certainly going to tell his mom. His tone went soft and sweet, “I mean, I always listen to her and do what she says.” Yeah right.

After several battles of the will between my sister and her son, the tantrums grew shorter as my nephew no longer got the outcome he wanted. It’s Psych 101: behavior modification through positive and negative reinforcement.

Perhaps President Obama skipped that class or he simply doesn’t understand the concept of reinforcement. He is ignoring valid situations that require federal attention yet diving into local problems because of the chaos created by loiters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Message received. If you want the promise of the full resources of the federal government, if you want a personal visit from one of the administration’s most powerful officials, then set buildings on fire and incite riots.

Note to my critics: Please do not twist my words just because you don’t like my politics. I am not calling for violence, nor coming down on either side or belittling the severity of the situation in Ferguson. I am not likening the people in Ferguson to bratty toddlers.

My point is that it is too soon to draw conclusions, and definitely way too soon for the federal government to get involved. Due process hasn’t even played out on the state level. The best way for justice to be served in Ferguson is for everyone to back off and let the facts unfold.

Yet, calm didn’t come until Attorney General Eric Holder personally visited the area. Was it really his place at this stage of the investigation? What about this situation merited the full weight of the federal government when there are so many neglected situations?

There’s a growing crisis on our country’s southern border where local governments are begging for help as illegal immigrants force their way into our country. (Sidenote: They’re illegal, not undocumented. That euphemism wrongly softens a harsh situation.) Local officials, reporters and even members of his own party have asked Mr. Obama to personally visit that area. Yet, he’s too busy playing golf and attending fundraisers.

In the Middle East, the Islamic state (IS) threatens terror attacks on the United States, proving their sincerity with escalated violence and savagely beheading American journalists. Mr. Obama delivers a few stern remarks — the foreign policy equivalent of a slap on the wrist — then resumes his golf game.

And don’t get me started on the abuse at the IRS. In my case, it’s been proven that my tax records were misused for political gain. It’s been proven that there are at least eight other similar cases. Even Mr. Holder admitted they found criminal wrongdoing. Yet, he refuses to prosecute?

And then there are the scandals with the VA, NSA, and Benghazi — but what difference does that make now? The list of should-be federal priorities is endless. Yet, an inconclusive state investigation into the behavior of one police officer in Ferguson gets the full weight of the federal government behind it. Looks like someone took a cue from my nephew’s playbook.