Friday, November 27, 2015

229.1 - Rejecting Syrian immigrants is xenophobia

Rejecting Syrian immigrants is xenophobia

I would say I'm outraged, but I'm not. I'm frustrated and depressed. I said last week that the attacks in Paris had resulted in old questions - what do we do - getting old answers - more bombs.

But those aren't the only old answers we're hearing become louder by the day. No, we hear cries from a very old playbook, one we seem to refer back to whenever we feel pressed, a playbook of knee-jerk fear, a playbook of bigotry, a playbook of xenophobia, so that even when, decades later, we have the decency to feel at least embarrassed by what we did, we still turn right back to it every time some event somewhere turns us again into a nation of bed-wetters, sniveling about how all of "them" - whoever the current "them" may be - are all out to get us.

So we have seen calls for internment camps, we have seen proposals for a national database of all Muslims, for closing mosques, we have seen refugees compared to rabid dogs.

We have seen governors not only declare they will keep Syrian refugees out of their state, but at least one, Mike Pence of Indiana, has told a specific family, in effect, to get out - even though they have neither legal nor constitutional authority to do any of that.

And we have seen, most recently, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly pass a bill that has the single and deliberate intention of keeping Syrian refugees from entering the US by hardening the requirements for admission under the refugee resettlement program. Pres. Obama has proposed admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees under the program this fiscal year, a fraction of the hundreds of thousands Europe is dealing with but still 10,000 too many for the bigots and mouth-breathers of the US House.

And - you need to know this - this bill was passed with the help of 47 Democrats, including several who would claim to be liberals, who voted for this piece of bigoted, xenophobic trash.

One way they'll justify this, you can be sure, is claiming that their constituents want it - although what their constituents want never seems to matter when the interests of a rich donor are involved. According to a recent Bloomberg poll, 53 percent of Americans - although it seems odd to call them Americans when they seem to have forgotten what America is supposed to be about - but 53% want the resettlement plans be stopped and another 11%, really letting their bigotry hang out, said the program should continue but only admit Christian Syrian refugees.

Oh, but it's all for "security," we'll be told. It's all for "protection" because some terrorist might slip in among the refugees. We don't want to keep them out, we just want to make sure that there are no terrorists among them!

Anyone who tells you that is either lying through their teeth or has no idea what they are talking about. There is no third option.

The refugee resettlement program involved here has been going on for about 40 years. Over 3 million refugees have been resettled in the US and not one of them has ever committed a terrorist act against the US.

Terrorists coming in? Seriously? Are you really going to argue that Daesh is going to try to bring in terrorists through a program with background checks so extensive that it takes 18 months to 2 years to get through them and which already turns away half of applicants? Seriously?

Gov. Dannel Malloy
Which is why that House bill has nothing to do with security and everything to do with blind panic - along with, I strongly suspect, some making use of that panic for their own political and ideological ends.

The only upside I can find here is that Sen. Harry Reid says that bill will not pass the Senate and whatever his faults and they are many, he knows how to count.

Oh, and that family that effectively got kicked out of Indiana? They resettled in Connecticut, where they were personally greeted by Gov. Dannel Malloy, calling accepting them "morally the right thing to do."

They say be thankful for small favors, and these really are small in the face of the sweeping waves of brain-dead paranoia rushing across our nation, but they are favors and so I will be thankful.

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