Jingo Bells, Jingo Bells, Jingo All The Way

France has announced they will still take in refugees from Syria, even in the wake of the terror attacks. I wonder why Americans who are screaming about refugees and terrorists don’t have any answer for why France would do this – do they think French people are stupid, deranged, or that they secretly support terrorists?

Might they even consider that one thing – the attacks – has nothing to do with the other thing – refugees from Syria?

I honestly don’t think they process this issue that deeply.  Content to read/listen to Fox News and the like, it’s just easier to believe every hysterical idea they come into contact with, and then spread it all around as a “true American” should.  And anyone who disagrees is a traitor.

This is the kind of crap I am seeing now, online and IRL.

No one posts that kind of nonsense on my FB page, because I only allow friends, but I have seen the stuff posted on others’ pages, and in other places online.

Hysterical, hateful, scary stuff.

And I hear it when I am out and about too, on the bus mostly – but also where I volunteer, from other volunteers and paid staff alike.  I have to walk away and busy myself, or I become too upset – and we all know what happens then, don’t we?  It’s an exercise in extreme self-control.

It’s not the concept that people don’t want to take in refugees, so much, as there have always been people who are very isolationist and don’t want the US involved in any other country’s politics.

No, it’s not that, exactly – it’s the hatred, the ignorance, the complete lack of empathy for others. It’s the fear of terrorism, and the suspicions with which they regard people “not like them”.

It’s spilling over to suspicions about other Americans, too.  And that is truly frightening.

Case in point: I was at an inservice meeting for the people I volunteer for, and when there was open discussion, some guy (about 75 I think) with a Marine cap and various patches from different branches of the US military stood up and said…

“I think we should say the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting.  That way we know who’s loyal to the US.  Who disagrees??”  he glowered.

“i do.”  Guess who said that.  Hey, that’s all I said, though.

The volunteer coordinator said, somewhat nervously,  “I’ll have to ask my supervisors about it…”  And so the moment passed.

None of the people I sit with asked me why I said that, or criticized me, or anything.  I think I have a decent set of friends now amongst the volunteers, or at least polite ones who don’t like to argue.

But the point is, this guy wants us to say the Pledge in order to prove our loyalty.  And I highly resent any “loyalty test” – it smacks of totalitarianism, reminds me of internment camps for the Japanese during WWII, and generally pisses me off.  I don’t say the Pledge anyway, as I do not pledge allegiance to flags or any particular country.  I haven’t done it since junior high school.

It’s jingoistic nonsense.  It’s shallow, too, and incredibly naive.  Does anyone really think that a terrorist won’t say or do anything that throws suspicion off him, including saying the Pledge of Allegiance?

Does anyone seriously think that terrorists would be hiding amongst volunteers over 55 years old in Central PA?  Really??  What’s next?  Searching our walkers, our canes, our wheelchairs for bombs and weapons??

No, this old guy just had to express his extreme patriotism because he doesn’t know what else to do.  Scared to death in a world that is very much different from the one he grew up in (and whose isn’t?), he lashes out at people nearest to him, where he might possibly have some power (such as intimidating people into pledging to a damn flag).

Who does it serve when Americans turn on each other, accusing one another of treason?

It serves the terrorists, that’s who.  It deflects attention off them.

I may be very far to the left, but I would never intentionally hurt anyone, not Americans or anyone else.  I wouldn’t spy or undermine the American government, just because that’s dishonest and has the net effect of hurting the American people – who are, for better or worse or until I can emigrate to the UK/Ireland, the people I surround myself with.

I am not nationalistic, and I never have been.  I see all people as “my people”.  If I feel a special identification with any group, it would be the Irish, particularly the Northern Irish.  But, in general, I see myself as an international citizen.

It frightens me that people are talking about “loyalty tests”, or tests that base loyalty on religion (many right wingers are incensed that the vetting process for refugees doesn’t ask about religion).  What usually happens when there are laws like this, people who are honest and innocent are the ones who get hurt.

You think a terrorist isn’t going to lie and say he’s a Christian, if it suits his purpose?  How are you, Mr. Insane Conservative, going to know if he’s lying or not?  Follow him to church?

You really think it’s ok for a country that was founded on freedom to believe – or not believe – anything you want to, to enact laws that allow authorities to question people on their religious beliefs…and possibly incarcerate (or at the very least, put on a watch list) those who do not state they are Christian or Jewish or any number of “acceptable” religions?

If it were up to guys like him, the vetting process would be very short and completely ineffective.  I bet he doesn’t even know what the actual process is for vetting refugees.

Aside #2: Fox News is currently ignoring the entire process and stating that there must be a test based on religion.  So, if a refugee is Muslim, he/she can’t be resettled here.  Because, in their reasoning, the Muslim religion is based around killing people who don’t believe as they do.  Period.  

What Fox News doesn’t tell people are the actual facts about the vetting process, which includes a Homeland Security background check before they can even land in this country.  That process takes about 18 months.  Also, there are 9 non-profits involved in resettling refugees, many of them being Christian non-profits.

According to the Military Times, which by no stretch of the imagination could be called a left-wing publication, the vetting process involves:

  1. An interview with the UN high commission for refugees to determine if the applicant displays any “red flags”.
  2. A US security check before the applicant can even come here.
  3. A State Dept check involving running the applicant’s name through criminal and “watch list” databases.
  4. A security check by Homeland Security, and a fingerprint check by the FBI.
  5. Personal refugee status interviews conducted by US Immigration.
  6. A vetting by US Customs and Borders, with additional security checks.
  7. Determination of the appropriate resettlement site by the State Dept and Health and Human Services.  (“Administration Assures Governors Refugee Vetting is Vigorous”, Douglass K. Daniel, Associate Press, via the Military Times website, 11/22/2015)

This isn’t where the terrorism problem is, folks.  And it’s perilous to focus on what isn’t the problem, because then we miss what is.

I am no expert, but there are people out there who are.  And, just as I complain bitterly about the general public being punished in regards to pain relief because clinics and doctors cannot tell the difference between an addict and a pain patient, the same thing holds true for refugees and terrorists.

You simply cannot demonize and punish entire groups of people because you cannot tell the difference between a terrorist and a normal person.

There are people whose job it is to determine the difference though, so might we all just calm down and let them do their jobs?  Yes, mistakes can be made, but do you have a better solution than that?  One that doesn’t call for mass incarceration of innocents, closing our country to all refugees, or questioning every person’s loyalty with some sort of ridiculous test?

Do you want the American people to live in terror of everyone they see?  Because that’s the effect of these draconian measures that conservatives support.

And, by doing so, they actually aid and abet the terrorists.  How’s that for logic?

Ah, weirdness for the week…

This comes under the heading of “please stop doing stupid things, Mississippi”, and it concerns the race for a house seat in Mississippi’s District 79.  It was a tie.

So they…drew straws.  Had the other guy drawn the longer straw, Mississippi would have had a Republican majority in the House, so it was that crucial.

And, while I can’t complain about Republicans losing, this way just seems so…dumb.  And Mississippi doesn’t need any more stories making its citizens look dumb.

Today’s recommendation is for a 2011 film produced by Johnny Depp, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G), and Christopher Lee, amongst others.  It’s called “Hugo”.  It’s a steampunk-based story about a boy, a clock tower, and an automaton. Trust me, it’s well worth seeing – I loved it.

Be good.  Be kind.   Calm down, put your flag down, and turn off Fox News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Jingo Bells, Jingo Bells, Jingo All The Way

  1. charlies5169

    I can’t really add much to what you’ve said… other than I believe that as a country/society we have devolved to a point where truth, facts, and objectivity are irrelevant. What matters is being louder than the other guy, or otherwise intimidating him.

    Don’t like the facts? Deny it. Regardless of the fact that you may have little or no background in the topic, for example, climate change deniers, if it’s going to make you uncomfortable or cost you money, then deny it. It’s a plot by some nefarious someone to take something that is yours.

    It really pains me to see so much stupidity so widespread, and in many cases, a badge of honor.

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  2. Victoria Post author

    Thanks for your comment – you and I have discussed this tendency to yell, whether or not one has a valid point, especially on the internet. Often I feel as if I am waiting for the pendulum to swing back the other way, and sometimes I feel it’s never going to do that. Sigh.

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