Thursday, November 19, 2015
Carrying a Cross and Wrapped in the Flag
I don't like the flavor of the current political atmosphere much these days, as I keep returning to how the attacks in Paris turned into a hotbed of concern about accepting Syrian refugees in the US. Tengrain, at the risk of Godwinning, took a look at the kind of things that were being batted around, and heard that as the "dog whistle heard round the world." I think that's exactly right. Politicians right here tend to not realize there is a whole entire world outside of the US with the ability to see what we're doing. And what we're doing is very Christian-signifying.
Take the idea that being Christian should specifically be privileged in accepting refugee applications. I really hate this idea. The Assad government isn't specifically bad to Christians at all, but they definitely have a problem with Daesh and other militant Islamist groups--I just don't see how this makes life worse for them than Muslims who apply, or why we should view them as better because "there's no meaningful risk" of Christians committing acts of terror. And sure, in context, Syrian Christians won't, and for the same reason Muslims wouldn't--pretty fucking grateful to be here and not where the bombs and bullets are! But if the slinger of that bullshit, son of a Cuban refugee and a supporter of refugees until like, a minute ago, Ted Cruz, wants to talk about whether Christians ever do terror--yeah. Right here in the US, they sometimes do.
(Also--I don't know how much of a "history buff" my regular readers might be--but did anyone ever hear of "benefit of clergy"? This was an English thing where if you could prove you were trained as a pastor, you got off of being tried for anything in a civil court and got to go to a more lenient one. This led to certain of the criminal class being very boned-up on a certain Latin passage, which became a "Get out of a stiff sentence with this one weird sentence" card. How is that not totally subjective and circumventable?)
But here's the deal, privileging religion is pretty bizarre--we have some non-Christians to definitely talk about. Albert Einstein was a refugee whose application we accepted. Anne Frank was one whose application was not. Both endured a period of actual "statelessness", when they could properly say they had no home country at all.
So, when we have been led by The Donald (Il Douchey) to accept that 11 million people can be rounded up and deported and it wouldn't cost a thing and we'd have this brilliant wall--why wouldn't some cracker come up with rounding up our present group of accepted refugees and just, I dunno, herding them into a camp? (And would we appoint Joe Arpaio to run the camp, or is that too rather?)
When people of ethnic or religious minorities, like Hispanics and Muslims, are singled out, the rest of us have to sort out where we stand. Because US candidates for president literally attended a rally about killing the gays. Does that at all sound familiar in history?
The funny killing joke in all this is, that some of the people nodding their heads right now to the nativist beat, were quite all right with depicting Obama as Hitler. They shouted about who the real fascist was and all that. But here we are. Cross, check. Flag, check. Historical perspective? Totally AWOL.
These things people like Trump says--are communicating to the world what our values are, and who we are. I want to think we are not this stuff. We can do better than this. This is a horror.