America, it’s okay to be afraid …

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the terrorist attacks in France, and more pointedly, about what the U.S. response should be toward Syrian refugees. Indeed, it’s been difficult to avoid the subject, with my Facebook feed being bombarded with memes, both in favor of helping the refugees, and staunchly against.

It’s no secret that my own political leanings are well to the left of center, but as the debate rages, the thing that strikes me is how ridiculously one-sided the arguments are coming from both sides.

I’m not so blinded by liberal ideals that I miss the point many conservatives are trying to make about Syrian refugees. They are right when they say there might be a few wolves in sheep’s clothing among the refugees who ultimately make it to our shores. They’re right when they say that ISIS would love to perpetrate some of the same violence in the United States that has already ravaged parts of Europe and the Middle East.

Yes, they have a point, but here’s what makes me different from them: I’m not so blinded by conservative ideals that I’ve forgotten the things that made this country great. The Lady Liberty I know hitches up her big girl pants and welcomes people in need. She doesn’t stand there trembling in New York Harbor while innocent men, women and children suffer. The Lady Liberty I know opens her arms in a wide embrace.

I just don’t get it. How is it that so many of the people who are complaining about refugees and terrorism are the exact same 2nd Amendment Crusaders who are already armed to the teeth? Could it be that your guns really don’t make you feel secure? Could it be that you’re just scared of everything? How is it that I — the unarmed guy — am saying we should, you know, rigorously screen people, then help them by opening the gates while continuing to monitor them?

You know what, even with all the precautions, maybe I’ll still get blown up. But here’s another thing that makes me different from you: I’m willing to risk it because my own hide isn’t so precious to me that I’d ever refuse to help innocent men, women and children who are in desperate need.

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Say what?

And speaking of need, how is it that the people who are saying the United States shouldn’t help foreign children until there’s not a single homeless child left in America, are the very same people who continue to vote for the Republican Party, which consistently denies aid to the poor? It’s a mind-bender.

Here’s the bottom line: I have a wife, children and grandchildren, so where the threat of terrorism is concerned, fear is something I can understand. Maybe it’s just that I learned a long time ago that there’s a difference between being afraid and being a coward.

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10 Comments

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  1. Oh, well said, sir. Reading that makes me proud to call you a friend and erstwhile drinking buddy — even though you’ve decamped from God’s Country to the Far Frozen North.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jason Fredric Gilbert November 20, 2015 — 7:53 am

    well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. it’s so nice to have a writer as a friend, so he can say what is in our hearts but we can’t get it out . good job.

    Liked by 1 person

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