On Wednesday, speaking from the Philippines, President Obama shared his thoughts on bigoted Republicans who are pandering to their ignorant and short-sighted base by demanding that America make anti-Semitism (yes, Arabs are Semitic people, conservatives) a national policy by closing our borders to Syrian refugees seeking asylum from ISIS.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Manila, President Obama once again let Republicans know he is sick of their bullshit. Lately, Republicans have been seemingly practicing a demented game of one-upmanship, attempting to prove once and for all whose Islamophobic bigotry is the strongest. Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, for example, take a light stance on the issue of rescuing widows, orphans, and other enemies of ISIS, arguing that we should accept refugees — as long as they can “prove” they are Christians. Obama points out that requiring a religious test for admission isn’t exactly in line with the values our nation treasures:
“When people say we should have a religious test, and only Christians, proven Christians, should be admitted, that’s offensive, and contrary to American values.”
While conservatives are generally united in their belief that the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty are meaningless, others stand out from the pitchfork-and-torch-wielding mob. Chris Christie, for example, says that exceptions should not be made even for “orphans under the age of five:”
“I cannot allow New Jersey to participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being placed in our State,” Christie wrote in a letter to Obama, joining numerous other Republican governors in refusing humanitarian aid to Muslims who are attempting to escape the grasp of their extremist oppressors. He took the opportunity to mock Christie and other GOP tough-guys who somehow manage to defecate in their pants at the thought of rescuing ISIS’ victims:
“These are the same folks often times that say they’re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL or using some additional rhetoric will solve the problem — and they’re scared of widows and three-year-old orphans.”
The President pointed out that, despite Republican fear-mongering, refugees are screened for 18 to 24 months before they are cleared to enter the United States. “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” Obama said pointedly. “We don’t make good decisions if they’re based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”
“When you see individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative” that there is a war between Islam and the West,” Obama pointed out. In other words, ISIS wins if we descend into a hysteria-driven witch hunt like we did after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The President reminded the crowd that after the Boston Marathon, we “did not resort to fear and panic,” but instead continued to live life. “That’s how you defeat (ISIS) — not trying to divide the country or suggesting that our tradition of compassion should stop now,” Obama concluded.
Watch Obama rip Republicans a new one, below:
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.