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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. 21st, 2015 02:16 am (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
George, I think you missed the key word "all". No one seeks to solve *all* the world's problems by building walls. Both my comment and the comment I replied to said 'all', so I hope this was just an oversight on your part and you weren't being intellectually dishonest.

The reason that word is key is because we have to discuss these enormous, complicated problems rationally. The comment I replied to was knocking down a straw man argument.

I repeat my disappointment. You knock Tolkein for creating caricatured villains in his stories... yet you're doing this *in the real world*. *Most* people who want restrictions on refugees aren't bigots who hates icky Muslims. They're concerned citizens who don't want to put American lives at risk without careful deliberation.

The refugees who would come aren't in immediate mortal danger. They're not taking a flight from Aleppo to Newark. They're safe, if in horrible conditions, in refugee camps. So lives are not at *stake* (got it right this time) through deliberation.

And deliberation and care is what is needed. One of the Paris attackers snuck in among the wave of refugees. The "background checks" we conduct for potential refugees are relying on data from a war-torn country that's half a failed state. And despite what I'm sure are the best of intentions, the myriad institutional, bureaucratic failures at OPM, the VA, the Secret Service, etc., don't exactly give the people confidence that our administrative bureaucracies are up to this enormous challenge.

So I repeat the criticism at the beginning of my post. This is a complicated issue with lives at stake in either direction, and good people with the same moral code can disagree with each other on the best way forward. And your moral preening and escape into a fantasy world of good guys (you) and bad guys (those evil, evil Republicans) is beneath a man as intelligent as you.

I am an enormous fan and I hope you take this as an honest effort at conveying a respectful* dissent of your opinion.

*Yes maybe 'moral preening' is a bit over the line, but given the vitriol I've received here so far, it feels pretty tame.
Nov. 21st, 2015 05:04 am (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
>> *Most* people who want restrictions on refugees aren't bigots who hates icky Muslims. They're concerned citizens who don't want to put American lives at risk without careful deliberation.

i.e. they're polite bigots?

(The implied statement here is that American lives are way more valuable than some dirty refugees - we can carefully deliberate about their ultimate fate even as they die, because those deaths are a reasonable price to pay to prevent a perceived threat to us, no matter how remote.)

John Anthony Spinella
Nov. 23rd, 2015 01:17 am (UTC)
Re: Surprised...
None of the Paris attackers snuck in as refugees. None of the attackers were refugees. None of them were REFUGEES! That was a statement made in the first hours of the attacks, and after spending time doing investigations, it was found ALL the ATTACKERS were French and Belgian citizens whose families immigrated to Europe a couple generations ago. They were Europeans that practiced the Islamic faith and decided to take part in the attacks.
So we don't have to worry about refugees coming to kill us, we have fellow Americans that are willing to do that, like Christian fundamentalists and racists.


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

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