About 75 Syrian refugees have settled in the state of New Jersey since last January. Now, Governor Chris Christie won't admit any more--"no, not even orphans under the age of five!"
Because you know these people. They might grow up to be terrorists, and some of them won't grow up to be Christians.
I have nothing but shame for my citizenship, and incidents like this make me think hard about whether I'll keep it.
75 refugees pose a danger? Because we're all scared of what happened in Paris? Governor Christie, the German city of Passau is taking in 75 refugees every fifteen minutes. We've got around 500 in the neighborhood I live in--30 or 40 new ones come daily--and several hundred more near the university where I work. They are cold, scared, hungry people, many of them young men who did not wish to be pawns in this Pyrrhic war that will end in annihilation.
Why does America rush to repeat its awful isolationist past? From before the hint of a republic, with the Salem witch trials, we had periods of mass hysteria during which the blame game destroyed lives. The Japanese internment camps. The Joe McCarthy Years. The 9/11 panic that destroyed, and continues to destroy, Arab-Americans. Donald Trump. The excuse has always been national security, and the reality has always been that panicky measures produced far worse situations than the inciting incident ever did. In all of these situations, hatred united people. Nothing is easier than to unite a group in hatred of an enemy, and politicians who succeed in doing this, the demagogues of the world, rise and fall like shooting stars. The rare politician manages to unite a group in shared love, a far more difficult task, love usually uncovering vulnerability as well as strength.
When will we get another politician who inspires people to understand that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? When will the Statue of Liberty lift her lamp beside the golden door again? Why is Mad Magazine still one of the most realistic commentators on the American attitude toward the refugee crisis:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,
And we'll send 'em right back
We'll send 'em right back
We'll send 'em right back to you.
When panic and racism overcome optimism and pragmatism--when America loses her foundational goal of being the city on the hill, that the eyes of the world may be upon us, then there is no more American dream. President Obama protests "this is not who we are," but until he can stop the fearmongers, Americans are indeed the bad guys. When a country that fits into the State of Texas and feed, clothe, and offer education to thousands pouring in while the world superpower sucks its thumb and pleads security issues, my world ends, and any faith I still had in the United States.