Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Golden Door

Here is what I would like to say to the Governors who issued statements refusing Syrian refugees, including (unfortunately) my own Governor (unfortunately), Mike Pence.

First of all, super geniuses, you can’t do that. You can protest it until you’re blue in the face—perish the thought of turning blue!—but you can’t just refuse to accept them. Our refugee program is a federal one, so that means that they trump your puny little protestations. You might remember a little thing call the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution, which states that U.S. laws are the supreme law of the land. We even fought a war where that kind of came up...remember that?

I suppose you could do whatever IS in your power to choke off any aid to these refugees, but is that really the path you want to take? Could you really turn a blind eye to starving and suffering children? Would you order the National Guard to stand at the state line and turn away any of these people trying to enter your state? How exactly would that work? Planning on building a wall, are you? Checkpoint Charlies at all points of entry? People are allowed to freely pass between states, if you recall. I don’t need a passport to go to Chicago. I can just drive there! If the federal government screens these refugees (a lengthy and arduous process) and allows them entry to our country, they are free to travel about as they wish. FREE. Quite a concept, isn’t it?

I don’t think any of you really thought this through, did you?

Secondly, I’m sorry that your compassion—and many of you claim to be Christians, so I find this surpassingly curious—perished in the flames of your xenophobic ideology. Your kneejerk bigotry has caused you to completely ignore the facts about these people and about WHY they are fleeing their homeland. You see them all as enemy combatants who want to destroy our country. Apparently, even 5-year-old orphans. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a horrid display of hatred and a complete lack of compassion and humanity in my lifetime. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Finally, I was reminded of something I read a while back about other refugees trying to find asylum in the United States. We turned them away, as did Cuba and Canada. Why? Because we were worried about some of them being Nazi sympathizers and spies. We turned away the MS St. Louis in 1939 and the 908 German Jews on board were sent back to Europe, where various countries took them in. It is estimated that a quarter of them were killed in Nazi death camps.

So you go right ahead with your chest-thumping and political posturing. I’m sure there are a lot of people at the moment who are impressed by your strength and resolve. I’m not one of them. And I don’t think history will judge you kindly, either.