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The Politics of Fear

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 2:29 pm (UTC-4)
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Famed former President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”  That aphorism is timeless, particularly in these times.

The wave of deadly attacks across Paris by Islamic State militants has understandably frightened many. Are we next? That is the common questioned being asked by the United States and other, more vulnerable targets, like Germany. IS is exporting their war from its base in Syria. Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopeful — and frontrunner – Donald Trump is calling for government database to track Muslims in the United States. That is what fear can do to any of us.

Hey, Donald Trump – I’ll Wear My Yellow Crescent Proudly

Robert Azzi – Concord Monitor

If Donald Trump has his way, America’s Muslims may be required to register in a national database, carry special IDs and have their mosques subject to intrusive monitoring, maybe even closing, by the federal government.

The Yellow Star badge of Heinz-Joachim Aris (Dresden 1941) reading 'Jew' is displayed  in a showcase in the new special exhibition 'Shoes of the Dead - Dresden and the Shoah' at the Military History Museum in Dresden, Germany on Jan. 22, 2014. (Reuters)

The Yellow Star badge of Heinz-Joachim Aris (Dresden 1941) reading ‘Jew’ is displayed in a showcase in the new special exhibition ‘Shoes of the Dead – Dresden and the Shoah’ at the Military History Museum in Dresden, Germany on Jan. 22, 2014. (Reuters)

I’ll register. Must I wear a yellow crescent, too?

And in cooperation with fellow-traveler Ben Carson, maybe Trump, Cruz, Bush, et al, can pass an amendment overriding that pesky part of Article VI of the Constitution that says there should be no religious test for president…

In the privileged, racist world inhabited by many Republican contenders, only Christian refugees need apply….

In such a privileged world, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie feels free to deny refugee status to 5-year-old orphans. In such a privileged world, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson feels free to compare Syrian refugees to mad dogs….

In such a privileged world, few remember that in 1938 67 percent of Americans said our nation should not accept Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were denied entry to America, including the family of Anne Frank.

 

A French police officer stands guard by the Eiffel tower a week after a series of deadly attacks in Paris on Nov. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

A French police officer stands guard by the Eiffel tower a week after a series of deadly attacks in Paris on Nov. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

America’s Leaders Are Hurting the Nation’s Image

E.J. Dionne Jr. – The Washington Post

The recent terrorist attacks have called forth predictable demands from our nation’s politicians, particularly President Obama’s opponents, for U.S. leadership in the world….

Yes, Republicans could try to use the budget to continue their misguided efforts to block Syrian refugees. But there is a fair chance that a few weeks will cool passions and open the way for a more humane and sensible approach to keeping Americans safe…. But the realists among them should realize that the changes they seek will be achieved only by winning the presidential election — a cause they would set back by picking their fights now.

Everyone says we need to stand strong against terrorism. The first step is to avoid the self-inflicted wounds of self-defeating politics.

Refugees, Terrorists and the American Promise

The Editorial Board – The Washington Times

FBI Director James B. Comey, among others competent to judge, insists that the federal government does not have the ability to properly vet these applicants to weed out covert terrorists.

The president and his friends in the media call such skeptics “racists, and compare the skepticism to the refusal of Franklin D. Roosevelt to admit Jews fleeing the Nazis during the 1930s and ‘40s. The analogy, like many references to the Hitler time, is both reckless and off the point. There were no suspicions that Nazis were hiding among the Jews; FDR, and certain of his advisers, including Jews, shut the door because they were afraid admitting them would harm Democratic prospects in the 1940 presidential election.

The United States have committed $4.5 billion to aid Syrian refugees since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, more than any other country. There may be a persuasive argument for taking in more refugees later, but it only makes sense to pause to re-examine vetting processes now. America must continue to welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of teeming foreign shores, but Emma Lazarus, whose eloquent poetry adorns the base of the Statue of Liberty, specifically did not include the masters of terror intent on destroying the host.

 

Refugees scuffle with the Greek police in their effort to reach the borderline with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni on Nov. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

Refugees scuffle with the Greek police in their effort to reach the borderline with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni on Nov. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

 

US Leaders Cave to Popular Fear on Syrian refugees

Lauren Carasik – Al Jazeera America

A majority of Americans oppose taking in Syrian refugees….

…For those seeking to come to the U.S., the process for screening refugees is extensive, and includes a lengthy application, interviews and biometric screening. It can take up to two years to complete, and involves numerous domestic and international agencies. The UNHCR estimates that more than half of Syrian refugees are women and children under the age of four…

While all three Democratic presidential candidates are in favor of accepting more Syrian refugees, the Republican candidates are competing to adopt the most extreme anti-refugee position. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have suggested a religious litmus test for refugees seeking to enter the country, with a preference for Christians. Businessman Donald Trump, who had already outlined a radical deportation plan for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, said the Syrian refugees could be a Trojan Horse. Not to be outdone, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would not even take in a three-year-old orphan.

 

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