I’m an optimistic, cheery, glass half full kind of gal.
I think the world is a better place to live than ever before. Poverty rates are decreasing, education is increasing, diseases are being eradicated, women and minorities are becoming more and more equal. We have access to tons of information at any time of the day or night. We can travel anywhere in the world in less than a day. Every day I read stories about good hearted folks, like the fraternity that reached out to the little girl with cancer.
But lately the world has been seriously bumming me out.
I think it all started with refugees. I’ve been closely involved with the refugee community for five years now, but the Syrian Civil War has increasingly created a refugee crisis that’s now at epic proportions. We haven’t seen such a desperate refugee situation since WWII- in other words, not in my lifetime or even my parent’s lifetime. Every refugee I’ve ever met has been a good, honest, hardworking, kind person. They did not want to leave their country and in fact miss their remaining family terribly. They work their tails off- certainly working harder than I’ve ever worked- but don’t really get to enjoy the fruits of their labors because they send so much money back to their family overseas. They are lonely but optimistic and grateful. They love America and are so thankful to be here, for they are all too aware of what their alternative is. They are proud and are definitely not freeloaders, for they take pride in providing for not only themselves but also for others despite their limited means. In fact, as I type this I’m texting with one of my friends regarding what he wants for Christmas. After repeatedly telling me nothing, he finally told me he wants a “t-shirt that has American flag pic on it all over.” I stay active in the refugee community because these people inspire me and have become my friends.
So it really bums me out that douche bag Syrian government and asshole ISIS are creating thousands and thousands more refugees. It makes me really sad that innocent people are being run out of their homes. It makes me sick to know the government- the GOVERNMENT!- has killed their own people using chemical attacks. It makes me cry to know that these people are beheaded for simple offenses like talking to the opposite sex. It makes me hug my own children tighter when I see dead refugee children drowned at sea, trying to escape the horror that has taken over their country.
It really bums me out that there is no clear answer as to how to help these poor people. Sure, we can take in some refugees or send money or whatever, and that helps, but that’s not solving the problem. Solving the problem requires addressing ISIS and the Syrian government and how in God’s good name do we do that?
These are world problems. There are always world problems. This time the problems just hit a little closer to home.
But sure, world problems bum me out but you know what makes this worse? What seriously makes me doubt humanity is scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing the filthy hate spewing from people’s fingers. People who have never met a refugee. People who have no understanding of the crisis. People who cite “facts” that can be disproved by a 15 second search on Snopes.
WHY ARE WE SO HATEFUL?
I mean, I get it. I’m typically a rational thinker, not an emotional one. And I can understand rational arguments against accepting refugees into our country. I happen to think we should accept many many refugees with open arms, and I believe there are smart ways to do so. But I do understand the economic concerns and the safety concerns that would need to be addressed. The other side does have some valid points that I only have weak counterpoints to. A difference in opinion is okay. More than okay, it’s healthy. I never understood people who deleted Facebook friends just because they have differing opinions. I never want my Facebook feed to be filled with like minded people. So feel free to disagree, but
Can we just stop being so gosh darn hateful?
Can we please stop referring to all Muslims as terrorists?
Can we please stop citing cherry picked Quarn passages?
Can we please understand that the enemy is not the refugee?
Can we please understand that refugees are running from the very same people we’re fighting?
Can we please fact check our “facts”, most especially if they paint someone or a group of people in a bad light?
Can we please recognize that all human life is valuable, even if that human looks different than us?
Can we please remember the lessons that history has taught us?
Can we please never mention the really rich guy’s name again and stop giving him the attention he craves?
Can we please have respectful debates on social media and stop name calling and generalizing as if we’re in middle school again?
Can we please understand that when we act in fear, ISIS is winning?
Can we please act from a place of love and not of hate?
And if we call ourselves Christians, can we please think about how Christ would respond to this crisis?
Look, if you don’t want to welcome refugees to this country that’s fine. I disagree, but you can think that. You probably even have valid reasons for thinking that. But let’s stick to the valid reasons and lose the hate filled, generalized, fear inducing, racist speech. Deal?
One of my favorite quotes is by someone who was at the receiving end of racism, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. He said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Let us be the light.