It’s the least you can do.
You’re running late to meet a friend at the mall. You’ve got the kids in tow. You had to park farther away than ideal, and it’s starting to drizzle.
You see a person slip and fall right in front of you. Do you check to see if they were okay? Help them back up? If they can’t get back up, do you call for help to get them to a hospital?
Okay, good…that person is okay now, thanks to you. And you just set a great example for your kids: helping your fellow human is more important than just about anything else.
Holy shit, another person slips and falls! This one is wearing a hijab. You know that of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, a few of them (estimates vary greatly) are members of ISIS. You ignore the “risk” and do what’s right, you help the person back up and make sure they’re okay.
Double good example for the kids! You helped someone, and you showed them that good people help others irrespective of their differences. A human needed help, and you helped them. Good job!
Wouldn’t you know it, 17 rows away, a person in a hijab falls. She’s screaming in pain, and others are ignoring her. One person says, “I’ve helped as many of you falling people as I can, I have to worry about myself now.”
Another says, “Hey, someone who is of the same religion as you once rear-ended a friend of mine in traffic, screw you.”
There’s no one else left to help but you. This’ll make you late for sure, but who else is going to help? You grab the kids and run to the woman, 17 rows away, help her up, and all’s well. The kids think you’re a saint.
You get into the mall, and there’s someone asking people for charity. You’re late, but the pictures and the story get to you. Crazy stuff is happening around the world, and the charity literally needs $1.00 to save a specific person’s life. One lousy dollar. And others are just walking by, ignoring the story…many of whom are sipping a $3.75 cappuccino, listening to their music on $200 headphones; all of whom are safe and dry, wandering a consumerism fueled wonderland filled with 100% “wants” and 0% “needs.” Hey, it’s a dollar, and you feel like this charity is doing good work. You hand over the dollar and wish the person at the kiosk the best. The kids look up to you…you’re a pretty awesome person.
You go on about your business, meet your friend, chat, eat some delicious food, the kids are watching some colorful nonsense they’ve seen twenty times on their iPad.
You’re full, recharged from a little non-child connection time with a fellow adult, and you’re feeling good about yourself.
It’s stopped raining outside.
As you make your way to the car, the two hijab-wearing women who fell approach you. They thank you again, and ask you if they can tell you a quick story. You don’t really want to hear it, but you’re kind of cornered, and the kids are watching, so you agree.
They tell you of their families 7,500 miles away. Stuck in a war-torn country, where both sides are relentlessly bombing and killing innocent civilians. It’s a region where 1% of the population — at most — is taking over cities and demanding a regression to hundreds of years back in time. People are fleeing by any means they can find, and many thousands are dying as they flee…drowning in the Mediterranean, dying from exposure in the open air with insufficient clothing, succumbing to infection from lack of sanitation. It’s a nightmare, a living hell.
You’re shocked — you’ve read about it, but to see the tears streaming down their faces as they vividly describe husbands being shot in front of them, watching children drowning and being unable to save them…you start to cry, too.
You ask what you can do to help.
They tell you — in this case, we don’t even need a dollar, we just need a place to start over. You can vet us — we know that less than 1% of people that look like us have done some terrible things. So take all the time you need, you’re doing us the favor, it should be on your terms. And we don’t need much…we’re industrious people who will carry our own weight and pay you back through our hard work ten times over. We don’t want to stay at your house, we don’t need your money, we don’t need your food…we just need to leave our homeland and start over.
So, you ask, what specifically can I do to make that happen?
The answer is simple, they tell you. The programs exist. Just don’t turn us away at the airport when we land.
Seriously? That’s it? You can help just by letting the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with mosques, churches, synagogues, and NGO’s do what they are already doing.
Done! You’re a hero and you didn’t have to do anything!
Except now you can’t, because we’ve banned all refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. indefinitely. And we’ve banned travel from six other predominately Muslim countries as well.
Your drive to “keep them safe” has caused you to actively condemn other people’s children to death.
Your desire to “protect our homeland” forgets the fact that a generation or two or three ago, this wasn’t even your family’s homeland.
Even with our imperfect system, all you had to do was stand back and do nothing, and you’re part of the solution.
Instead, you voted in a guy who promised to ban all Muslims, and he did it in the first 7 days of his reign. When you could have done nothing and been a hero, you chose to do something — motivated by racism and fear — and became complicit in genocide.
This isn’t who we are, America. Your kids are watching. Put down your cappuccino, take off your headphones, and declare for your representatives, your senators, and your president to hear:
It is inhuman to escape the burning building, only to turn around and lock the doors so others burn alive.
It is un-American to ignore the slaughter of millions of innocent people because we’re scared that some of them aren’t innocent.
This ban on refugees was done in our names, and if you’re not okay with that, let history know through your words and your actions.