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My Position On the Syrian Refugees

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Those words, of course, are by Emma Lazarus. Her poem, "The New Colossus," appears in bronze on the base of the Statue of Liberty. A statue given to the United States by France, our nation's oldest friend and ally... a bit of history that seems especially important just now, in light of the recent horrors in Paris.

For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about. One has to wonder if all the governors (including our own governor here in New Mexico, I am ashamed to say) and congressmen voting to keep out the Syrian refugees have ever visited the Statue, or read the words on her base. If so, they surely failed to understand them.

Of course, most everyone knows the part about 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,' but let me draw your attention to some other lines of the poem:
-- a mighty woman with a torch... her name Mother of Exiles,
-- from her beacon hand, Glows world-wide welcome,
-- send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me.

Emma Lazarus had it right. Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France.

Let them in. Santa Fe, at least, will welcome them.



Nov. 20th, 2015 11:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
I'm disappointed in anyone who doesn't acknowledge that it's a complicated issue and that lives are put at stake either way.

There are sixty million displaced people in the world according to the UNHCR. Unless you think America should be willing to accept all of them, then we all agree that there should be limits.

And if we all agree there should be limits, then we can discuss those limits rationally, instead of resorting to name-calling and emotional posturing.
Nov. 21st, 2015 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
I don't agree that there should be "limits."

I rather say that there should be a solution.

This is a problem that is going to get a lot worse in the near future. Global warming and the melting of the ice caps is going to raise the sea level, and drown many of the coastal areas of the world, some of which are heavily populated. Entire Pacific Island chains could vanish. We are going to have millions of people on the move, maybe entire cities.

What are we to do with them? Talk about limits and build walls?

We are our brothers' keepers. (In this case especially, since it may well be our carbon emissions flooding their countries). I don't know what the solution is. But I know we need to find one.
Nov. 21st, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
Indeed. As I tweeted some time back, if we can't handle refugees from a civil war in a small country, what will we do when climate change really kicks in?
Nov. 21st, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Surprised...
BYou are disappointed that an author who delves so thoroughly into the horrific underbelly of war would show compassion to the thousands affected? A man who was excused from fighting in Vietnam as a conscientious objector because he is anti-war? He is offering shelter to people who have fled their homes to save their lives, people who have crossed oceans on rubber dinghys or packed in boxes like cargo, not knowing if they're facing their last days on earth, while you sit safe and sound behind your computer, calling the matter 'complicated' and bemoaning what you perceive to be a lack of, what, intellect? YOU'RE disappointed? What do you want him to say? "It's a complicated matter and lives are at stake so let's keep our doors closed and let them die."? Would you consider that a more intelligent statement? Personally, I wouldn't. I can't fathom how anyone could be disappointed in a person for displaying some common decency. Good on George for using his position to make himself heard on the matter.

Edited at 2015-11-21 11:25 pm (UTC)


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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