It really is difficult to understand these conservatives sometimes. How can so-called-“Christians” say such disparaging things about their suffering kin? How can they so callously dismiss the lives and dignity of thousands of people with one cheap soundbyte? Honestly, what kind of a worthless and pathetic shell of a human being could look at people fleeing starvation, poverty, rape, and murder at the hands of the world’s most brutal terrorists and then declare they must be crossing three continents and waiting through a three year vetting process just to come to America FOR A VACATION?
But that’s exactly what Mo Brooks, Representative of Alabama’s Fifth District, had to say about President Obama’s efforts to resettle a paltry 10,000 refugees within our nation. “We’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation. That answers very quickly why so many of them want to come to the United States of America. We’re paying them to come here. It’s a paid vacation!”
Just like that, he’s already demonized thousands of people a wave of incoming welfare queens coming to steal tax dollars and bags of healthcare from the state of Alabama, whose budget is 35% federal funding and is the ninth biggest federal welfare queen in the country. But then, why would any of that matter to a heartless bastard who wants to deport eight million undocumented workers and accuses the President of waging a “war on whites?”
The Syrian Civil War has been raging for four years now. There are over twenty different armed groups in four competing alliances all struggling for supremacy in a vicious conflict that has killed over 250,000 innocent men, women and children. Eleven million more have been driven from their homes, from the devastated cities which are but shells of their former glory. The refugees’ own government regularly uses chemical weapons and horrendous “barrel bombs” (oil drums filled with shrapnel that maim and cripple with brutal efficiency) to specifically target civilians seeking shelter in rebel territory. As the New York Times notes, “in most wars, civilians can find a modicum of safety by moving away from the front lines. But Mr. Assad’s indiscriminate use of barrel bombs deep in opposition-held territory means that for many there is no safe place to hide,” thus forcing civilians out of Syria entirely.
It is absolutely astonishing to see elected members of Congress display this kind of vapid ignorance and barely disguised racism. The disastrous wars of the George Bush Administration and the United States’ long history of supporting ruthless dictators like Bashar al-Assad created this conflict in the first place; it is thus our moral responsibility to help alleviate the suffering of refugees in any way we can.
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.