I posted this on Facebook a bit ago, but it’s important enough, I think, that I want it to have a wider audience than just my family and friends (as wonderful as they are). Because like many people in my life and around the world, I choose love.
Thousands of refugees—fathers, mothers, children, grandparents—are right this moment living in fear. These are human beings. They are students, professionals, manual laborers, homemakers, artists. They are far more like us than they are different. That these people should be running from evil only to face indifference, fear, or even hatred is the worst kind of poverty: a poverty of spirit.
Is this what America has come to? Is THIS the land of the free and the home of the brave? What power we have given to this tiny, infinitesimally small portion of evil on the planet. I am afraid that from now on, all wars will be fought with terrorism, because in terms of cowing normal people, it seems to be more effective than even nuclear weapons. Yes, ISIS is evil. But there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and even the most aggressive estimate of the numbers of ISIS members is less than 0.02% of that number.
In the strongest possible terms, I and those like me urge kindness, compassion, and caring. These are the weapons that win over terrorism. It is impossible to defeat terror by being afraid; terrorism FEEDS on fear. More important than any philosophical argument, though, is the real life suffering faced by these thousands of human beings who only want to live in peace. Imagine what it would take to make you run from a home you loved, away from family and friends, into darkness and confusion. Imagine the fear, the sadness, the exhaustion as you kept going and going without finding any real relief. Imagine wondering where you could sleep safely with your babies. Imagine wondering if there would ever be safety again. This is the life of the refugees.
America has had dark shadows, blots on our history, since it was formed. The worst of those times have been when we forgot the basis on which this country was founded. Wholesale extermination of Native Americans, the cruel institution of slavery, the Japanese-American internment camps, Operation Wetback, the fight against civil rights for all—and all that within our own borders. Now is not the time to forget our mistakes and thus to repeat them. Now is the time to be the best version of ourselves, the bravest, the most just, the kindest.
“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“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!”
Image credit: Mayur Gala at Unsplash.com