In the wake of the Paris massacre and the yet unproven link between one of the terrorists and Syrian migrants, the Congress, most of the nation’s governors and the American people soundly reject President Obama’s decision to take in 10,000 refugees next year. The opposition to Obama’s promise is based not just on national security concerns and a lack of faith in the vetting process of the Syrians, both legitimate reasons, but a more sinister rejection of Islam and those people who hold to that religion, no matter what hardships they have endured.
When Ben Carson uses the term “dogs” in reference to the Syrians. Donald Trump pledges to close mosques, Jeb Bush wants only to protect Christian Syrians, and Ted Cruz talks makes off handed remarks about internment camps, it becomes quickly obvious that stopping Obama’s plan is more than just about national security and bureaucratic incompetence.
To use a word often used by former president George H.W.Bush, it would be prudent to delay any Syrian refugee resettlement program until the United States and its allies get a better handle on terrorist sleeper cells and lone wolf fanatics, and construct a comprehensive international strategy to destroy ISIL and its caliphate that bridges Syria and Iraq. It is just common sense to sort out the threat, build better intelligence networks, beef up security and go after ISIL where they live.
But because we are in an election cycle of enormous importance to the nation, fear too easily overwhelms reason and common sense. Let’s not forget that the 1st Amendment protects the ” free exercise ” of religion, Lady Liberty welcomes the oppressed – ” give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” and we as a people have always taken pride in the long and proud tradition of tolerating differences, ( and oh yes, Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian immigrant).
It is important that we as a people not let fear take over our lives and religious bigotry rule the day. The prudent course of action is to fashion an entry system for Syrian refugees that is not haphazard and filled with bureaucratic exceptions. This will take some time. But let us not as a nation fall prey to those who are anxious to make this an anti-Muslim crusade and make the all the followers of Islam into terrorists.