The Thing With the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Whatever side of this you're on, the rhetoric we use to talk about these people who risk their lives... so their kids have a chance at not being dead makes it sound like we're talking about scraping gum off our shoes.

I’m starting off with this: I have absolutely no idea what I think should be done about the Syrian refugee crisis. I tend to have a politicly big mouth, but with this one… I can’t seem to make words. On the one hand, national security is of utmost importance and I’m perfectly aware that one of the Paris bombers got into the EU via a Syrian refugee program; but on the other, this massive humanitarian crisis is pulling at my merciful little heart.

(That said, you, dear reader, most likely don’t know what to do about the Syrian refugee crisis, either, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. In fact, most folks really don’t.)

The only thing I’m really confident in here is that we have got to change the rhetoric with which we’re speaking about these people — yes! people! — and remember that we all ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of humans trying to live freely and in peace. Whether their policy proposals are correct or  not, I’m disappointed at the way a lot of the country’s leaders are talking about the refugees.

This isn’t because I think we should admit them (but I’m not sure we should, either!). It’s because none of them are acknowledging that it is a tragedy that these people are displaced. It is a tragedy that our nation is having this debate at all. Deciding not to accept Syrian refugees might end up being the best possible decision (or it might not), but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t still be a tragedy. Where is the agony and heartbreak over deciding to turn them away? Where is the humanity?

Nothing explains this situation better than my spirit TV show character, Maggie Jordan of The Newsroom. In this scene she’s actually talking about undocumented immigrants and the passage of Arizona’s immigration bill SB 1070, but I think the sentiment is exactly the same. There’s a clip right here, and you can fast-forward to 3:17 if you want to skip Maggie and Jim’s adorable argumentative banter (but like, seriously why would you want to?):