The political posturing by right wing politicians following the terrorist attack in Paris last week was disgusting. The senseless murder of over 120 innocent citizens was truly horrific, but to blame President Obama’s foreign relations policy, or to take it out on desperate refugees trying to escape the brutality of the Syrian civil war, smacks of crass political opportunism.
Presidential candidates who claim they would put a stop to ISIS by “bombing the hell out of them” don’t have the faintest knowledge of history or geography, not to mention common sense. Just ask the Russian leaders who were going to clean up Afghanistan in the 1980s, or President Bush I and II who got the USA stuck in this quagmire. Or go back further in history and ask the dozens of invaders and counter invaders of the Middle East who left bodies littering the sand.
To these desperate-for-attention politicians I would ask, where is the outrage over the 90 to 100 American citizens killed every day by gun violence in America? Why is there no anger directed towards the powerful gun lobby who support this brand of home-grown terrorism?
And state governors saying they will not take in Syrian refugees is nothing more than braggadocio. Simply put, there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “The supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.
But what makes the issue even more distasteful is that so many of these right wing governors campaign on their high moral Christian principles.
One has to wonder if they read the Holy Bible. In Matthew 25: 34-40 Jesus explains that people are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the needy, visit those in prison, and take in strangers, in order to get into Heaven.
Numerous other New Testament verses say that following these commands will not be easy, and in fact those who do will often be hated by others.
Cheap political posturing is easy. Doing the right thing is hard and often dangerous, but that doesn’t mean we should not do it.