The Republican Stance on Refugees Reeks of Privilege

the eiffel tower  paris
the eiffel tower paris

The Paris attacks have intensified the debate of whether Syrian refugees ought to be allowed in the United States. Let's hit the pause button on the relentless theater-of-the-absurd that is a 24-hour news cycle of infotainment to actually consider for a moment the implications of what is only its latest, most shameless bounty. Let's call this "discussion" what it really is: politicizing fear.
 
Paris, France; a beautiful world city. A place where I wandered around blissfully agog not long after landing in search of a phone charger that would fit in the wall. A city where perfect strangers kindly drew me a map so I could find a store that was open late at night. A culture that is so rich in history you actually feel like you've gone back in time walking down its streets; this town had not buried the last of the victims of the horrific events, before politicians jumped at the chance to turn another country's lemons into their political lemonade.  
 
The throngs of Governors, all but one being Republican, and politicians jockeying to be most visible in waiving the "you're not welcome" sign should be patently ashamed of themselves for the ways in which they are using such a tragic situation to perpetuate their jingoism--or, really, to condense the populist heartbeat of the right in such a way as to make Machiavelli himself blush.
 
It is that same extreme patriotism, and warlike foreign policy, that led America into further destabilizing the Middle East under George W. Bush. Who could forget the "you're either with us, or with the terrorists" speech the former president blubbered in a cartoonish drawl. The same kind of alarmist fear-mongering that is going on now. This is not a heightened debate--this is surreal and ridiculous; the kind of hysteria-laced gobbledygook that led us into occupying an entire far-flung and poorly-understood country, and inflaming a whole region. The kind of rash behavior that now looks likely to have nurtured the rise of ISIS in the first place.
 
Sadly, a good portion of those who support these politicians have likely never been outside of the comforts of their own home, their Churches--their bubble. Could they even find Syria on a map?
 
These Republican leaders of privilege, the kind of folks whose ancestors had no qualms building this country on the backs of slaves and immigrants; they talk first and evaluate only if their cynical stratagems fail to cultivate support. They speak of America as a place that has humanitarian compassion for others, but speak and act as if they themselves are exempt.
 
These are the same elected officials who deny their own constituents their rights. These leaders only know compassion for their peers: old, white, moneyed and privileged. And if, for some reason, they do not fall in those brackets, there is a special kind of self-hatred that comes from people who have experienced socio economic vagaries, and then go on to perpetrate it themselves.
 
And to all of that, I again say: shame on you. History will judge you, but you are too short-sighted or arrogant to see.