Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop Yelling, Let's Try to Hear Each Other

There is so much to learn, so much to solve about the Syrian refugee crisis and the Paris attacks but we won't do either if we can't stop insulting each other. 

No matter which side you're on when it comes to the refugees, there is genuine emotion and we risk our own claim to humanity if we do nothing but mock the perceived ignorance of the other side.

To be clear, I feel strongly we should admit them. Immigrants and refugees are a part of our history, even when we didn't act from the noblest of spirits. 

And to deny the role of our own country in creating this latest crisis is simply ignorant. 

But people are afraid; worse, they're angry. And angry people don't make the best decisions. The Paris attacks have angered and frightened a lot of people and the conversations, the suspicions this week very much reminds me of Sept. 11.

That is not a good thing because the fears, the anger and the desire for revenge, some of which lay dormant in recent years, have risen right back to the surface. The return of freakouts over people "acting suspiciously," on airplanes, including a woman hurrying to the bathroom with her toddler, is a demoralizing reminder of 2001.

I suspect in some cases, it's because all the death and destruction resulting from Iraq and Afghanistan has proven to be insufficient when it comes to protecting us. That's a scary thing for some people to contemplate. 

But the answer can't be only to insult those who are frightened, as appalling and as shortsighted their views are. Paris has told us that Sept. 11 wasn't a one-off; People willing to murder in a vile claim of faith are difficult to stop. 

I can only hope that some national public figure can step forward and try common sense and appeal to their better natures to persuade people to first calm down and then try to reach a consensus that we can be proud of in the coming years, that helps, rather than hurts us with the world community and above all, saves the lives of thousands fleeing the very people we hate and who hate us. I just don't know who has the moral standing to get us all to stop screaming and listen.

Here are a few wonderful articles to consider. None are simple. All are worth reading.

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