Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How can a nation so well armed be so afraid?

Every day another nut-job professes his desire to "kill" Syrian refugee "in Paris" as if that's where they were... The most amazing thing, of course, is that America has seen these kind of commentaries before, many many times in the past -- at the turn of the century it was the Irish and before them the Jews.  Although historically America has welcomed the poor --that have served it so well, today the behavior of most Americans remains appalling.  Obama is proposing bringing 10,000 refugees to America, that compares to nearly 25,000 before Christmas in Canada, and tens of thousands in Europe.  Recent polls show that 72% of Republicans believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values, for the Democrats the number is 48%.  There are many similarity between the Christian and Islamic faiths; neither are totally comfortable with secular governments, but Christians made (mostly) their peace with the separation of Church and State.  As for the place of women honestly both faiths position women in a subservient role; at odds with the feminist movement that achieve so much over the past 40 years.

The reality that is America -- gun crazed but also deadly afraid of anything and everything is an outcome that seems odd when it continually professes its machismo strength "We're #1".  Political polarization and the poor prospects of middle class are the root cause of these positions.  A blue collar worker looking at his wages for the past 20 years has seen no real incrase (median wages are still falling in America and have since the 1980s), and yet everything is more expensive, there is no feeling of security and the media's feeding frenzy on anything that could be remotely considered terrorism is simply fanning the flames of distrust.

If America was as generous as Canada it would have taken nearly 250,000 refugees -- instead it may well accept less than half of what Canada is taking in the last few days of 2015!  Moreover, the difficulties in arriving on American shores makes it the least interesting place to consider.  

Yet American remains deadly afraid -- mind you not of guns that kills!  They like those but those pesky terrorist well that's something else.  I don't really understand why a crazed gunman is better than some extremist.  The dead and maimed remain dead and maimed; is it any better to be told that your 13 year old son/daughter was killed by some crazy bottom dweller or some radical terrorist? In my book neither are attractive scenario.

But America is not alone in this; yesterday it was the "Premier tour" of the regional elections in France, and the far right National Front did very well across the country and in some place almost got 50% of the ballots -- are seeing a golden opportunity to finally take power an enact some rather aggressive anti-immigration legislation.  

So there we are; America and Europe are bombing the shit out of the Middle East, this causes refugees afraid of dying from "our bombs" and our reaction is -- stay home enjoy the free landscaping!




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