Refugees fleeing Syria by the thousands overwhelmed resources in Eastern Europe and set up an unprecedented crisis of human rights. Last week's terrorist attacks in Paris tarnished many of the sterling plans previously proposed for resettlement of the refugees.
Star Wars fans will recognize the title of this piece as a paraphrase of a line from Star Wars IV, where Obi-Wan Kenobi demonstrates a Jedi mind trick . With just a push of his mind, Kenobi convinces Empire Storm Troopers that the droids (robots) they are looking for are not the droids they are looking for.
Back here on Earth, we have much more powerful tools than Jedi mind tricks. We have the internet, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and a gaggle of GOP presidential hopefuls, all shouting at the rain in an attempt to focus our fear.
It's the oldest game out there. Tell them who's to blame for their problems and make them afraid of it.
Syria, like most Middle Eastern countries has been conquered, re-conquered, divided up and recreated by colonial forces since Mesopotamia was still the cradle of civilization. Click here if you need a little help locating Syria on a map.
Syria won her independence from France n 1936 and went through several iterations until it's current version evolved in 1963. Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for about 30 years until his death in 2000.
At that point, the minimum age requirement in Syria's constitution was lowered from 40 to 34 to allow al-Assad's son, Bashar to take over, his reign continuing to this day.
It's worth noting here that the exodus from Syria was precipitated by the slaughter of Syrian citizens by their president, Bashar al-Assad.
A long walk through Turkey or a Mediterranean cruise will take you from Syria to Greece. Form there, all of Europe awaits.
Many here in the U.S. were dubious about taking in Syrian refugees even before the attack in Paris. Now, Donald Trump is leading a wave of Islamophobia that could well put him into a 2-way race for the presidency.
Trump, if you remember kicked off his campaign by saying that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists and that was the high point of his rhetoric. During the Ebola breakout of 2014, Trump suggested than no Americans traveling in those affected regions be allowed to return home to America. Ever.
Now Trump wants to surveille mosques and possibly force Muslims to register on a national data base. This is where it gets scary. While I try to shun analogizing anything to the Holocaust, registering any religious group is getting awfully close.
These guys are fear mongers. Whether it was al-Qaeda, Ebola or ISIS, Lindsy Graham usually ends each of his dire warnings with some variation of "....or we'll all die."
Chris Christie's 21-day quarantine last year of nurse, Kaci Hickox, who had just returned from West Africa was deemed ridiculous by the Centers for Disease Control. Christie, with no medical background whatsoever determined that he was better equipped to make that call than the doctors and scientists who study infectious diseases.
While Christie's call was ridiculous at the time it was made, in retrospect it's downright idiotic. It was extreme when compared to anything other than sharia law.
As extreme as Christie's reaction was to the Ebola outbreak, Rand Paul did him one better. He proposed that we permanently end all travel to those areas where outbreaks could occur.
The Paris attack opened the door to new and innovative ways to over-react and feed the fear frenzy. JEB! thinks we should screen out Muslims and only allow Christians to enter the U.S. When asked exactly how we would go about that, he mumbled and muttered and concluded that we could, in fact do it.
I was thinking we should only take in Jews. It wouldn't make up for the ones we turned away in 1939, but at least it's an alternative immigration plan.
Ben Carson was on board with the Christian-screening thing. He closed his eyes and discovered, apparently on the back of his eyelids that we do it all the time.
If you've been to this space before, you know that I have a touch of Islamophobia, myself. I see about 130 million Muslims (about 10% of the Muslim population, worldwide) as a clear and present danger to humanity.
I would be willing to press a button to eliminate every member of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the spin-off and wannabe groups and everyone who visits their websites once a week.
I'm plagued with ambivalence about the Syrian refugees, but it seems that turning our backs on them would be most un-Christian. Un-Jewish, in my case. We should let them in or not let them in based on rational determinations, not on fear.
Especially not on fear used as a political weapon.
Donald Trump probably hasn't mentioned yet that achieving refugee status is no easy endeavor. A potential refugee must submit an application that will be screened by two international agencies. Clearing that process, the applicant will then go through five more levels of screening by U.S. agencies including the FBI and Homeland Security.
The process is arduous and will culminate with a medical screening. Of all the applicants, only about 3% will clear all the hurdles and most of them will be children and widows.
Yes, it's possible that an ISIS guy could slip through. It's possible that ISIS put a few of their guys on boats or sent them packing with other refugees. It's about 100 times more likely that they would among the thousands who enter the U.S. each day on student visas or bound for Disneyland.
ISIS is a sophisticated and well-funded organization. Trying to slip sleepers through the cracks of an interminable refugee process is the least likely thing they would do.
The truth is you, your children and your grandchildren are much more likely to get shot by a disaffected white boy with an AR-15 or a back pack full of legally obtained handguns.
You don't see anybody hopping up and down to ban disaffected white boys, do you? Or even trying to put an end to the loopholes that allow said disaffected white boys to get their hands on those guns?
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