Venting: About security, sympathy and the two sides of facing the refugee predicament

22 Nov

About security, sympathy and the two sides of facing the refugee predicament

By L. Stewart Marsden


If only everything were so black and white in life!


WE ARE A NATION COMPRISED OF REFUGEES, LET THEM IN, return those sitting at the other end of the see-saw.

But the absolutes are more like fifty shades of gray. Nuances. Fine lines. Blurred edges. Not so simple.

What’s a person to do?

Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof, found himself struggling with various questions. “On the one hand,” he reasons, and then “on the other hand” he argues with himself. Link to his now-classic song:

On the one hand, it is reasonable to want to protect one’s family and loved-ones from random senseless acts of terrorism. Last night in a conversation with my son, who is employed by an organization that has presence around the world, I asked him if the recent violence was cause for concern where he works. He hesitated in responding, and I could tell he was searching for an answer that would allay my projected worry over his flights and business abroad. Beirut is an upcoming site for a gathering.

On the other hand, it is impossible to look at the history of the US without recognizing how this land was much-sought by many who were oppressed for their faiths, or who wanted to escape a cattle-chute to a life of poverty and worse.

I imagine there are those with influence of some sort — politically or economically or other — who will have less of an arduous experience in coming into the US. But I also sense that those who are downtrodden, weak, and relatively defenseless, who love their lands of origins and don’t want to leave, want only to survive and to protect their families.

In their shoes, that would be my desire. And I would do everything in my power to make that happen. The problem for them is the vast majority is powerless.

Not an easy problem. And it shouldn’t be. Those who want to bar refugees from the Middle East should struggle with the essence of what it means to live in America. Those who want us to open the flood gates should struggle with the possibility evil people will somehow slip in with the crowd.

I’m for erring on the compassionate side. Those insanely bad guys will find a way. And by saying these two things I’m not burying my head.

You might hold the opposite opinion. This is not a PC issue. Unless by PC, you mean Purely Compassionate.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 11 November, 2015

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