17 November 2015

A Few Notes for the Ignorant Twenty-Odd

So, in a display of partisan ignorance that should surprise exactly no one, twenty-odd Heffalump governors and candidates have (mis)used their powers and candidacies to try to keep dark-skinned semitic Syrian refugees out of their respective states... and sightlines. Anyone with even a moderate connection to reality, however, should be able to see right through the almost-overt racism with little difficulty — presuming, that is, that one is inclined to look.

Consider, for example, Mr Huckleberryabee's slave-state crocodile tears for the insuperable difficulties that Syrian refugees will have adapting to Minnesota winters. Actually comparing Minnesota's climate data (January average temperature: 12F, not "twenty below"; but we have to excuse his ignorance, he's only off thirty bloody Fahrenheit degrees and describing conditions fifteen degrees worse than the January average in Nome, Alaska) to the Syrian mountains pretty well refutes his ignorant statement... and leaves one wondering whether internal immigrants from near the Rio Grande River should get equal, or even greater, sympathy. At least those whose native language isn't Spanish.

More broadly, consider the converse: Moving from a cold, wet Northern European climate to the harshness of the Great Plains or the American South and Southwest. One can easily imagine this same "humanitarian concern for inability to adapt" argument being raised against requiring the Irish of the late 1840s to endure the horrifying summers of Atlanta... back when the Irish were not classed as "white"... I wonder what Mr O'Reilly might think of that?

Then, too, all of this assumes that local citizens — Somalis in Minneapolis, Palestinians in Detroit, and native 'murikans everywhere — would provide no help at all for refugees seeking to adapt to local conditions. There is a three-hundred-year history of exactly the opposite in the Americas. Those of us who remember the influx of refugees from Southeast Asia in the 1970s — when some nativists raised the very same objections — are also rather puzzled by this assumption.

The "security" issues don't seem to be much better thought out. The US is taking in approximately ten thousand Syrian refugees (out of over four million registered refugees). Curiously, there's no comparison to NRA membership offered — which, coincidentally, is about four million (according to the NRA, anyway). Sadly, there is at least as much reason to distrust the collective terrorist threat from four million NRA members as there is from ten thousand refugees who've been living in bloody refugee camps. After all, the NRA members already have their guns, and won't need to acquire them over here before we pry them from their cold, dead fingers... (Yes, this is intended to disparage the NRA, but primarily under the law of large numbers.)

The shorter, sharper version: Read the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"
cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

and if we can't live up to it, send it back to bloody France where it immigrated from. That'll show real solidarity against the menace of da'esh.

While we're at it, let's send back every politician whose ancestry is primarily of immigrant stock, or are themselves immigrants.