Recent headlines and commentaries concern Syrian refugees coming to this country. After Paris and other locations our leaders under the claim of protecting us from Muslim terrorists advise us that we need to keep these people out of our country. There are some voices of reason out there. Approximately 97 percent of any terrorist brutality is inflicted on Muslims. The screening process for these refugees takes nearly two years. The potential maximum number of such refugees coming to this country is 20,000. A person in this country is more likely to be hit by lightening then to die as the result of a terrorist attack. These people are fleeing their country out of desperation and fear for their safety not for the opportunity to commit a terrorist act in this country or any other. If this all is correct then why aren’t our leaders except the President advising us or the media emphasizing this in their reporting? The comments and commentaries are focusing almost totally on terror attacks. Do these other issues not matter or are they not considered meritorious? Journalists shouldn’t pick and choose the “news that’s fit to print.” Deliver the news to us, that’s their job. We get to pick and choose, we the public.
Are we afraid, stupid or just uninformed? This condition may be partially our fault. Generally we don’t read newspapers, not that many actually provide necessary information to form an intelligent opinion. There are means of becoming informed but do require some effort which seems to be too large an obstacle for many of us to overcome. The electronic media is obsessed with appearance and style. The right look can have a person filling a chair before the cameras on a daily basis. Occupying the seat doesn’t mean one is qualified to be there. Regardless we, the public, turn on the flat screen or monitor and listen and accept what is being said as gospel. Neither we, the listening or viewing public, question what is being said. The journalists or commentators ask their question and accept the answer from our leaders or experts without questioning the veracity or logic of the answers. Perhaps these people think that acceptance without questions is job security or more on air time. Part of the problem is that many either are not journalists or are so uninformed themselves that they don’t know how to question an answer or statement. How can the public ever become informed with these types of news and information sources.
We interject into these circumstances the fear and opportunism by some for political and even economic gain. Our leaders don’t lead and the informers don’t inform. Maybe under these circumstances we get some leeway and can forget who we are and how we should behave. We don’t know any better at this moment in time but seeking a place to put the blame does not exonerate us.
This began as more of a political opinion but I want to shift away from that direction. Next week is Thanksgiving, a family time, and in about a month Christmas arrives, a time of peace, love and joy. In light of the current climate in our country do either of these holidays or this season have any genuine meaning. Thanksgiving goes beyond any religious meaning while Christmas clearly has great religious significance. Our family can’t be defined as only our immediate family, not at this time of year. The Christmas season can not just revolve around a tree and gifts and a child in a stable for those who claim to be Christians.
Meanwhile a family may be sitting in a small coffee shop in most any city or town around this world with a television or computer screen lighted in front of them. The faces on the screen are calling for ending Syrian refugees coming to America unless maybe they are Christians. The government leaders are assuring people that we will catch these terrorists and have effective measures to detect future such incidents. Our leaders are not calming our fears but feeding them. Islam with its radical terrorist element is the problem but our rhetoric and actions say that Islam is the perceived problem. Did I neglect to mention that the family sipping that coffee is in Cairo or perhaps a Starbucks in New York and are Muslims? What are we saying to them other than Muslims “need not apply.” The group that is most targeted by terrorists are now the most feared and hated by us. The definition of family now has limited boundaries for acceptance and for the rest of the season Merry Christmas is reserved for Christians and the enlightened few.
We need a Hallmark moment with a happy ending to get our family back together and to bring out the true meaning of the season. If not Hallmark then perhaps considering what we believe as Christians and Jews. Christ had to flee to Egypt and the Jewish people had to flee from Egypt. Refugees are part of our religious history and a part of our personal history. This is America and we will defend any friend and fight any foe as President Kennedy shouted to the world. It is now time for each of us to stand up and shout even louder. We are not afraid of any terrorist and we will not allow you to alter who we are.