On a day that will live in infamy, the House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority to end the admission to the United States of any Syrian refugees. The House on the pretext of the need for more security requirements, in a vote of 288 to 137, ended the hopes of any further refugees being allowed into the country. It is possible that something can be worked out but at a minimum it will delay any more refugees from Syria being allowed into the United States.
It is an ignoble time reminiscent of other tragic times in American history such as the Internment of Japanese Americans in camps during World War II and when America rejected the entry in America of those Jews on the MS St. Louis. A story was later written entitled the “Voyage of the Damned,” describing the voyage. Hitler allowed 936 German Jews to leave on an Ocean Liner with the cynical thought that no one would take them into their country. The United States to the embarrassment of our reputation took none in and even fired a warning shot at the St. Louis to send them on their way. In polling during that period of time in our history to the tune of 83% were against admitting any of the German Jews who were stuck on that ship of fools.
Now here we are 76 years later perhaps condemning more refugees to a horrible plight. Our attitude presently raises the question of who are we as a people. Are we the generous people we like to think we are or are we the soulless peoples who put our fellow citizens in internment camps during World War II? We never put German Americans in any camps even though the Nazi’s were by far our greatest threat and enemy in the history of this country.
In listening to Donald Trump, one gets the impression that if he, wins he would want IDS for Muslims in our country. Perhaps it won’t be long before some of our super Patriot Republicans will be asking to put Muslim Americans into an internment camp as well.
We like to think of ourselves as a country of immigrants. Let us remind ourselves of what the Emma Lazarus Poem describes regarding the Statue of Liberty. The Poem “The New Colossus.”
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From beacon hand
Glows a 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 up my lamp beside the golden door.”
Our Statue of Liberty was given to us by France, the recent victim of a murderous series of criminal acts that killed many innocents in the city of Lights, Paris, France. But no in spite of theirs being a secular nation the head of France announced soon after the attack that they were going to accept refugees from Syria.
As the refugees arrive on their storm tossed dinghy’s on the island of Lesbos, no one fits the description of what Emma Lazarus, said in her poem, better than these refugees. They are tired and poor leaving their homes with virtually nothing. They are poor and yearning to be free and safe from what they have left behind, in their home country. They represent a vague memory of the teeming thousands after the World War II who were left with nothing until we, America through the Marshall Plan revived and helped Europe return to a place of hope and safety.
In the past we have taken in boat people from Vietnam and many unsavory people we have given political asylum to. What is so different now with the women and children and their fathers and their mothers who are grasping at straws for a better life away from the absolute destruction of their homes in Syria? If we choose who we help based upon someone’s religion how long would it be before another religion is chosen as being against our idea of what a good religion is? We are asking to fall into the rabbit hole of religious intolerance if we continue on our current path. A new Crusades is not what the world is looking forward to!
If we, as Americans give into the fear that ISIS would like us to give into, they have won. We will have lost more than a battle or a war, we will have lost our soul. We pretend or at least we mouth the words that we are a Christian people. But when the rubber meets the road our actions and statements recently regarding the Syrian refugees proves that a lot of what so-called Christians are saying is an abomination, a rejection of who we are as a people. It is also a rejection of what Where is our Christian charity and love for our fellow man? Maybe all in all, our religion is all about the money and giving into fear.
If Jesus were alive and feeding people fish and loaves of bread, I really don’t believe he would have excluded anyone. I doubt the Jesus would be very happy with our attitude towards the hungry and the needy.
This is not our finest hour. Syrian refugees like the Jews of the Holocaust are becoming the wretched refuse of humanity who very few of our fellow men are willing to take in.
If we are to be victorious against the barbarism that is ISIS we can not betray who we are, or else we are lost and we will have lost our soul as a nation.