The Syrian refugee controversy dominating headlines in the American political arena, and the behaviors and attitudes of some of my peers that I have seen on various social media outlets and heard through everyday conversation and discussion have been appalling, deeply disturbing, and resoundingly unfit for 21st century, supposedly progressive-minded young adults.
One would think that with the tremendous strides our nation has taken in defeating undue prejudice and intolerance, this level of unashamed Islamophobia and utter lack of common decency would not be so abundant or casual. All this talk of intense screening processes, “religion tests,” an online database, and other measures for vetting these incoming refugees is nothing but offensive and deplorable, and decidedly counter-intuitive to legitimately discussing and resolving the problem. When top presidential candidates such as Donald Trump have the stones to suggest that a “database is fine, a watch-list is fine,” it does not succeed in moving forward the discussion responsibly and reasonably, but instead reshapes it in an inappropriate, inhuman, and impractical way.
Similarly, when governors of various states politically grandstand and proclaim that they will shut their borders to any and all incoming refugees, which they cannot even do as that power is vested solely in the federal government, it further exacerbates the unreasonable politicizing of the issue.
These political leaders need to understand that their voices hold weight and discernible influence, and must be used to move this important discussion forward and not backward.
Simply put, do not forget to read beyond the headlines and understand that the stupidly overwhelming majority, if not all of these people, are simply well-intentioned, peace-loving people scared for their well-being and safety in their home country and not radical terrorists in disguise as others would have you believe. If the self-proclaimed moral fiber of the free world refuses to open its doors to these people in desperate need of aid, then that speaks volumes on both us as a nation and the current state of basic human empathy and goodwill.
Through all of this, I suppose my main personal takeaway would be the surprisingly cold and dogmatic attitudes folks, those my age particularly and all others in a broad sense, have towardthese people specifically and the upheaval in the Middle East in general.
I would not have suspected so many of my friends and colleagues to hold such emphatically hard-headed and occasionally downright offensive positions regarding this issue, but I cannot say I am surprised either given the various extremes at play in contemporary politics.
To not do something to help relieve this international humanitarian crisis would spit in the face of everything the United States supposedly stands for, and is an approach we absolutely cannot take in good conscience.