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Succumbing to Fear

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, the world showed an incredible display of solidarity. And it reaffirmed my belief that the entire purpose of terror attacks would continue to backfire. The fear these people want to instill and the costs they want to incur will always fail to separate the societies they target. Because instead of creating a divide, it instead creates an overwhelming sensation of togetherness, as displayed by the support that flows to the affected city and its people.

This was shown after 9/11 throughout the world. France rolled out a US flag, people around the world took a moment of silence, and the British played our national anthem. The same happened with Paris; the world was lit up with the French colors, and nations stood with France in a tremendous fashion.

However, I’m also inclined to another belief. While these events do bring out the best in people, they also bring out the worst. Politicians, in particular, use this fear to create policy that gives them immense power. The Patriot Act is a very clear example of this. Racism and phobias are justified because someone that looks similar and prays to the same God did such terrible things. And this is shown in the current stance my home state of New Hampshire (and several others) are currently assuming.

States around the US are refusing to accept Syrian refugees on the basis of the Paris attacks and the potential “security risk” these victims present. Not only is this prejudice an unconstitutional use of state power (only the federal government has the power over immigration and naturalization), but it’s also a terrible display of weakness. It’s succumbing to fear and reacting to that fear in an irrational way.

These are people who have escaped a life of violence, terror, and tragedy. To reject these people who have been promised a place to be safe just because they look like those that carried out horrific acts in Paris is just racism disguised as a safety measure. We have taken in many refugees before,and they’ve proven to be anything but a risk to society.

But this past cannot be the only case made in this situation because these are people who’ve been displaced from their homes because of the actions the United States government took post-9/11. We let fear convince us that allowing our government to invade a country and topple a regime was a good idea, and the ensuing power vacuum was filled by the radical groups that caused these people to flee from their homes in the first place. When will we learn to be better than this?

Even further, rejecting refugees isn’t going to stop any potential threats from coming into our country. There are countless ways in which that can be achieved. Are we going to stop all planes from landing on our soil? Are we going to stop ships from coming into our harbors? No? Well I don’t see why thousands of people in need should be turned away for carrying a similar potential and unfounded risk. Someone seeking to do harm to our country will find a way to do so, but we have a choice of whether to accept these refugees with open arms and prevent further harm to them.

The phobias are evident, and it’s sickening. It’s a childish way to react to tragedy and fear. When a white, Christian man kills because he believes God told him to do so, do we all automatically assume all white Christians are psychopathic murderers? Not at all. We should be extending the same courtesy to the millions of Muslims who love our country and make it a better place each day, and the refugees who try to and want to. Know who your enemy is; don’t assume someone that believes in the same God is grounds for rejection. It’s wrong and hateful.
Meanwhile, Republicans (Jeb Bush, in particular) continue to push for religious screenings, wanting only to provide assistance to Christian refugees. In a country founded on the ideal of religious freedom, I see this as a gross abandonment of principles, and a clear reflection of poor leadership. It’s exactly the kind of divide and separation the Islamic State wishes to create.

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