So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Refugees and human beings
My heart and my head appear to be in conflict when it comes to refugees. Logically, I know that Western nations cannot accept everyone who wants to come in. Logistically, it doesn't work. There are too many people.
Even so, my heart recognizes them all as fellow human beings in distress. I'm an empathetic fellow who believes in the brotherhood of all men. If not for an accident of birth, I could be the one on the wrong side of the border. In fact, some of my ancestors were born on the wrong side of borders. If they hadn't found a way out, I would not be here today.
What responsibilities do Western nations have towards refugees? One one level they have the basic responsibility any one of us has towards our fellow man. That's pretty high minded and all, but we Western nations have stirred up a lot of trouble around the world causing at least some of the problem. It's popular to support rebellion and to bomb other nations -until hordes of people attempt to flee those broken nations.
One common argument is that we can't take care of our own homeless and downtrodden. That is true. Maybe we should question a system that creates enormous wealth but does a poor job of taking care of its less fortunate?
Maybe it's because of an invisible internal border, the border between the very rich and the very poor. Very few can cross from the poor section to the rich section. Upward mobility in the United States is rare these days. We'd like to pretend otherwise but the numbers don't lie. Education was once one way to cross the poverty border but high student debt makes that difficult.
No wonder the system doesn't do that good a job with refugees -they could do better with their own citizens. Of course, the very rich tend to be the people who benefit from a world in conflict so they have little incentive to do something about the problem. To add insult to injury, it's the poor who fight those wars. As the saying goes, “It's a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.”
Right now it's very popular to demonize certain groups of people and to blame them for all the nation's problems. As a political strategy it can be very successful. Just ask the Nazis.
We are better than the Nazis, aren't we?
Of course, the logistical problems are still there. Where are we going to house all these people? Oh wait, let's start with those rich folks. They've got really big houses with lots of room. In fact, they usually have multiple houses. How about everyone who advocated and benefited from these wars take personal responsibility for the refugees those wars create?
When you see a refugee you might see someone who speaks a different language and may have a different religion. Guess what? You have more in common with him than you do with the rich elite who run your country. Don't be fooled into hating your fellow man by those who are trying to stay in power.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.