It's true. I can remember being a college student, all educated and righteous, and being full of opinion on how to make our country great. How to solve problems in the world. It seemed all pretty cut and dry and I didn't understand why things were so awful.
Then 9/11 happened and what I saw in the aftermath actually scared me. People clung to their religion and people wanted to go fight in a war and take down the people who were clinging to their own religion and doing what they thought their higher power lead them to do.
What I really took away from it was that religion really only works on a personal level and when you take it to a large scale, people die and people become hateful.
Then I had children. And it really scared me to see how hateful people were and how, just based on a religion a person practices, they were put into this terrorist category. It reminded me of Nazi Germany persecuting Jews and I wondered why nobody else was seeing this? We always say we would never allow that kind of thing to happen again because the things people of the Jewish faith suffered because of their beliefs was so horrific we couldn't imagine it.
But.. here we are. It's 2015. There is no doubt ISIS is a really terrible group. I think they are a product of lots of things, probably extreme religion and not really fitting into mainstream Muslim communities is one of them. They've certainly taken their cause global and appear to not give two damns about anyone.
Then Paris happened. What happened in Paris is absolutely tragic. It is, there is no doubt about that, anytime innocent civilians are murdered while trying to live life to the fullest for the sake of religion is absolutely heinous and should not be condoned. It's not acceptable behavior in any sense. But what is driving me insane is the amount of hate I see on Facebook, on news coverage comment threads, on individual websites and blogs.
If you at all consider yourself Christian, or follow the faith of any higher power, how dare you. You are an absolute embarrassment to your higher power. If you follow a faith that tells you the priority is to save your own ass, you have poor reading comprehension skills and you are a hateful person. If you can look at any of the faces of these refugees fleeing from war torn, violence ridden, unsafe and unstable countries and tell them to go back because your life and safety is more important than theirs?
I'd have to say that would be a guaranteed ticket to Hell, if you consider yourself a devout member of any religion.
Because no religion I have ever studied tells you that you are more important than your fellow man. That your safety is paramount to someone else's suffering.
But then I think, over half of the people I've seen on my Facebook feed comment that we need to close borders, and think of OUR jobs, and our safety are not parents. Perhaps my 20 year old self would have said the same things. But I am a parent now. I know how lucky I am to tuck my children into safe, warm beds each and every night. We have plentiful food, we have a mansion compared to most of the eastern world, we have clothes and luxury items. Our basic necessities are luxury items that some people can't even fathom having easy access to.
We have all of those things, and I can't pretend to know what their life is like.
I cannot imagine laying my children to bed under a make shift shelter and hoping we aren't murdered in our sleep. I can't imagine placing my baby in a boat and hoping for the best for her because there isn't room for me to go as well. I can't imagine what it's like to live with bombs and gun fire 24/7 around me. I can't imagine being separated from my husband and never knowing what happened to him. I can't imagine what it's like to live every single day in constant fear and just trying to get to the next one. I have no idea what it's like to die for my children.
So nobody, absolutely nobody, in this country has a thing to say about what these refugees should be doing. Where they should go. Maybe you should ask yourself what can you do for these people? What can you give up to help someone?
Yes, I understand the argument we should take care of ours here first. I get that, I agree. But instead of saying what the government should do- what are YOU doing? When was the last time you opened your home to someone in need? When was the last time you tried to actively help a homeless person? Do you regularly volunteer? Do you provide meals on the weekends to homeless people in your community? If you answer no to any of that, then maybe the problem isn't with the government, maybe it's you.
Let us just also look at statistics, because math is a pretty great thing that you can't really dispute. The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks and bad, tragic things that happen aren't committed by refugees. They are committed by people who live in that area. They are recruited by these extremist groups because they are handy. They are already living in a target area, they are in need of a sense of belonging somewhere and just like sex offenders, these extremist groups groom these people. So maybe take a look around you, the next nut job might be your neighbor. They are often living in these areas, can assimilate to the community, often are unassuming, quiet, reserved. To say that the middle eastern guy on your plane scares you is just as bad as saying the black guy that walked into the store looks like he might rob the place.
It's the same thing.
It scares me to think there are children learning to hate others based on what they believe in or what they look like, based on their parent's fear. It's OK to be scared. It's not OK to let that fear drive your hate. It's not OK to let that fear override your compassion for another human being. If you lose your compassion, you lose the essence of being a human and you become no better than the people who blow themselves up to hurt people in the name of their higher power.
I could go on for days about how my heart hurts for these people and how disappointed I am in my fellow Americans. I could, but I won't. All I know is that my job, as a parent, is to show my kids what it means to be American. We help out, even when it feels like we can't. We give what we got to someone who has none. That we love people for who they are, not because their faith is different than ours or because someone who looks like them did a bad thing. We can't let hate and fear win.
Love and light, friends.