Saturday, January 28, 2017
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor.
I didn't want to write this post. I wanted to write a fun one about all the auditions I've been going to and the experiences I've been having there. I wanted to write about nice things, and not ugly ones. But this is the post that I have to write. It's not going to be good writing, it's full of links, I believe it's important.
Yesterday, Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspends the U.S. refugee assistance program for 120 days and bans visa entries from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya unless a case-by-case waiver is granted for 90 days.
(Side note: waiting for my conservative friends who insisted that President Obama governed by executive orders to speak out against the flood of orders from Donald, but that's none of my business.)
My heart is heavy heavier than I thought it could be. Turning away refugees from escaping a war zone is truly despicable. These refugees are already heavily vetted, and it can take up to two years to secure entry to the United States. These people are dying and desperate. The likelihood of a US citizen dying because we let in a terrorist posing as a refugee is far, far, FAR less than US citizens being shot by some white guy in a mass shooting. In fact, none of the 9/11 hijackers were from the seven countries banned; these countries have not been at the root of any fatal terror plots.
Also, the Middle Eastern countries that Donald does business with miraculously escaped the cut. I wonder why that is? http://fortune.com/2017/01/27/donald-trump-muslim-immigration-ban-conflict/
In a twin set of ironies, this order was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day and while the March for Life was going on in Washington. Does pro-life include foreign refugee lives??? Remains to be seen, I guess. Perhaps we are only pro-life if the lives in question are white. Would Jesus, Mother Teresa, or any person of compassion walk past a drowning refugee and say, "I suppose some other country will have to take them in"?
As to Holocaust Remembrance day: I immediately thought of the grim story of the MS St Louis. This was a ship that sailed to America in 1939, full of Jewish immigrants fleeing Germany and its terrifying discrimination against those it deemed as "other." Unfortunately, US officials denied these refugees entry, and claimed they could be a threat to US security. Most were compelled to return to Europe. Fifty percent of them died in the Nazi death camps. Can you imagine being so close to a safer life and then being turned back? Well, it's happening once again.
Read more about this tragedy at https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005267
Fears about immigration were widespread in 1939, albeit without the aid of social media. Most US citizens did not support Hitler's actions across the sea, but they also did not support taking in large numbers of Jewish immigrants. And we've seen the result.
It is not enough to like a post on facebook. We have to take action. We have to donate, volunteer, and speak out. Please, please reach out to your senators and elected representatives in whatever way you can. We cannot sit quietly while people die.
Of course you can say whatever you want; here's one script I found. “I’m your constituent from [City, State], and I support refugee resettlement in the U.S. I am strongly opposed to the announcement from President Trump that would slash refugee admissions, grind all resettlement to a halt, stop resettling refugees from certain countries, and preference religious minorities. This discriminatory announcement flies in the face of core American values and this country’s founding principles. It does not reflect the welcome for refugees I see in my community every day. Please urge President Trump to abandon this plan and do everything in your power to stop this."
This is not the America I love. We welcome refugees of every creed, color, and country. We are not a Christians Only or a Whites Only place. I refuse to believe that. Being pro-life does not end when a child is born. CHILDREN ARE DYING. The least we can do is donate.
America cannot be the priest who crosses to the other side of the road when we see a beaten, dying man. We cannot count on other countries to be the Good Samaritan. Our country was built by immigrants, and our diversity is what makes us great. We must be the shining city on a hill that we have long claimed to be.