Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Open Letter to the U.S. State Department

This web site doesn't flip easily. What are web sites for? We clarify. We explain. And today it seems appropriate to explain why, after nagging readers about Syrian refugees for days, we're unenthusiastic about a federal plan to bring in, oh, say, about the combined populations of Kingsport and both halves of Bristol, just randomly collected Syrians who want to come to the U.S., and plunk'em down, oh wherever.

First point: Some of these Syrians are in mortal danger specifically because they are Christian, or Jewish, or Muslims of a more peaceable (and Koranically correct) persuasion than ISIS. The Christian ones are my brothers and sisters in the faith; the Jewish or rightminded Muslim ones might be yours. We have to do something. I've offered to lodge a few Syrian Christians, if necessary, because (unlike many people in cyberspace) I have more house-room than money. I expect most readers, being in the United States, can do more for their Syrian fellow believers by donating money. In any case, leaving these people to the tender mercies of ISIS is remarkably like leaving German Jews to the tender mercies of the Third Reich.

Second point: Some correspondents are panicking at the thought of having These People possibly dumped on us, or our neighborhood. While I'm not in favor of dumping masses of people anywhere, I must say: chill, youall. "Invasion"? Bristol and Martinsville (each) get this kind of population influx every year during Race Week. Bothersome, especially if the refugees were here during Race Week, but hardly comparable to Real War as the Middle East knows it.

Third point: The position of this web site is that the State Department is offering to do the right thing, but not in the best way. Instead of promising to treat a huge mass of "unvetted" refugees "equally," which is guaranteed to mean treating a lot of them ineptly and making them angrier than they already have abundant reasons to be, State should simply clear the way for religious and humanitarian organizations to "vet" these refugees and lodge them among friends. There should be no way anybody could even imagine the refugees as an army...neither panicky small-town types, nor disgruntled refugees. State should allow Christians to direct Christians to Christian communities, Jews to direct Jews to Jewish communities, and so on. These United States no longer have room for everybody to move in and live with us, but we do still have the wherewithal to allow victims of religious persecution to find sanctuary space to practice their religion. And work out whatever exchange of skills and resources work for them and for the individuals who support them--absolutely no welfare.

Fourth point: Even if we solidify the idea of "birthright citizenship" for those who've grown up with it as part of our common law, we should end it now. Children born to Syrian refugees should grow up knowing that unless they make the commitment to become naturalized citizens of the United States, they are Syrians.

Fifth point: Terrorists are neither brute nor human, they are ghouls, and they have deliberately planned to use our sympathy for the victims of terrorism by planting bogus victims among mass refugee resettlement efforts. They will do their worst to bring any legitimate refugees a large, "non-discriminatory" effort may have rescued into their party. Like Al Qaeda's strategy of flying passenger planes head-on into buildings, this strategy won't get ISIS very far because very few people who are competent enough to do it are demented enough to want to do it. Gangs like ISIS and like Al Qaeda do better with torture and murder. But they will be trying to ensure that no good deed will go unpunished, we can be sure.

Dang, State Department. Here we "conservative wacko birds" have been, encouraging people to think in terms of our church or community group paying somebody rent on an unsold house for one or two nice families of our kind of people. Like, people whose minds might be open to pro-U.S. ideas. Like, maybe the young adults in these families could learn English and make themselves useful to our Army in exchange for the hospitality we're willing to offer their parents and children. Like the people from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, only with lighter complexions and heavier accents. And here youall go, filling people's minds with these images of invading armies...and mixing up a lot of Middle Easterners who may define their religious beliefs mainly as differences from one another, but they take those beliefs very seriously, does sound a bit like a recipe for bringing out their aggressive tendencies and making them feel like an army.

Oh, there goes a hater, already spinning like a top. "See, Syrian Christians, American Christians don't care whether you live or die. See, they expect you to turn on them and join ISIS." And it's the hateful feeling of having a huge, unwieldy thing forced upon them that these correspondents are reacting to, State! It's like the mothers in New Orleans howling hate at those adorable little girls, Ruby Bridges and Yvonne-who-didn't-write-a-book, back in the 1960s; those poor women weren't one little bit upset by the fact that some of the United States' best private colleges were integrated, and would probably have been delighted if their kids had been admitted to, e.g., Berea; it was the feeling of force that drove them berserk. These correspondents are the kind of people who, when we heard last winter about the rising water levels and possible flooding, started clearing spaces for the "refugees" from two other towns to stay with us if they had to. If they were thinking in terms of a few families of fellow believers, they'd be circulating messages about the ancient Syrian Christian church and the fascinating history and prehistory of Syria and the cuteness of Syrian children and so on. Shove in one hint of top-down force, and you automatically activate the part of each correspondent's brain where the inner child is still longing to beat up the playground bully.

Washington will always be my city. I love Washington, D.C., the way I love my own body--I don't want my body to become bloated and ineffectual, either. That's why I say: too many people in Washington think they need to "manage" the rest of the country, from some sort of ivory tower inside the Beltway etc. etc., instead of working toward their goals as individuals...and about that, whatever their goals may be, they're wrong.

This petition came in the e-mail from Patricia Evans, and it made me queasy. So I did some nice boring research for an hour or so. Then I consulted Grandma Bonnie Peters. Then I called Adayahi. This web site has a position. Yes to Syrian refugees--in small manageable numbers, individually "vetted." No to whole cities-full of random Syrians just plopped down in places where they'll burden an already overburdened welfare system and aggravate ill feeling on both sides.

No Refugee Resettlement without Local OK Petition | GoPetition