Columns 2015

When did Republicans become the party of cowards?

Remember 9/11? Of course you do. It’s not a day any of us are likely to forget. Soon after it, American flags showed up on everyone’s porch and people were spotted wearing t-shirts that said, “These colors don’t run” superimposed over the red, white and blue.  Sure is embarrassing to remember that now as our esteemed Republican presidential candidates and multiple governors tuck their tails between their legs and run in fear of refugees. I guess in their world, the colors do run.

A certain segment of America insists on their right to pack heat in visible sight everywhere they go, from Starbucks to Wal-Mart. They act macho and tough. But you have to wonder if that gun on their hip is just a substitute for something else they have that isn’t as big. Just saying, for a group of people who insist on their right to defend themselves in Starbucks, they sure start looking pretty cowardly when confronted with a 5-year-old refugee whose home has been blown up.

I don’t know about you, but I want my country back. I want it back from chickenhearted leaders who talk big and act small. I want my country back from people who claim to be Americans but are willing to trample everything we stand for because they are so frightened of something a little out of their comfort zone. If we are going to start banning people who we suspect might carry out a terrorist attack on American soil, we should probably arrest all Caucasian males between 13 and 40 since they have killed more people in shootings on American soil than any terrorist has since 9/11.

Let’s consider the situation at Guantanamo Bay.  We are scared to death, more than 13 years after 9/11, to place the remaining prisoners there into American prisons on American soil. How cowardly can you get? We don’t mind keeping them on Cuban soil but they aren’t allowed in an American prison because… well, quite frankly, I’m not sure why except that Republicans seem to be on the leading edge of little old lady screams of panic and fear at the sight of someone who even whispers of a mid-East background.  I assume the US House of Representatives realizes that these people will not be placed in condos in the suburbs but will be in maximum security prisons. You know them. They are the same prisons we trust to keep those young men confined who have actually killed in our malls, churches, movie theaters and colleges.

ISIS wants to cast the current struggle as one of a clash of civilizations, East versus West, the Crusades redux. We feed into that scenario every time we do something so cowardly as to close our doors to people whose homes we may have very well blown up. Unless we allow the East and West to mingle in a place where assimilation and sharing of foods, traditions, clothing and cultures can happen safely, this will truly become a clash of civilizations. For every refugee we turn away, who must then return to a country torn by war and bombed by Western forces, we potentially create another radical terrorist. For every refugee we admit to our country, we lessen that chance.

These terrorists can call themselves whatever they want, but they do not represent Islam anymore than the Westboro Baptist Church represents Christianity or the young men who continue to open fire in crowded American venues represent young men in this county. Similarly, the cowardly Republican presidential candidates and governors who are running around like Chicken Little declaring the sky will fall if we admit Syrian refugees do not represent the view of most Americans.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe Americans want to run from refugees who lives have been torn apart by years of war. I believe being an American means we offer them the security and safety we have enjoyed all these years since we started bombing their country.

I think John Wayne would hang his head in shame at the cowardice being shown by people vying to be our leaders, whether as governors or presidential candidates. And if you are one of those people packing a visible symbol of your manhood on your hip while running like a frightened rabbit from the threat of a refugee, shame on you.