In the week following the Paris terror attacks and ensuing conversations about Syrian refugees, the least active among most friends list became the most vocal on Facebook. Loudest were the xenophobic, the racist, the Islamophobic and the anti-Obama crowd. The worst part is that these descriptors would be news to most of them. In their minds, memes like the one below are posted in the interest of patriotism and questioning authority. That’s horse shit. Here’s why:
Firstly, the majority of this anti-Syria, anti-refugee, anti-Obama stuff is xenophobic, racist and Islamophobic. At best it’s fear-based and aggressive. Being possessive about “our country”, keeping it free of foreigners and framing refugees as evil terrorists is not based on either humanity or logic.
Secondly, Obama doesn’t pass the national budget and set the nation’s priorities all by himself. He’s not singlehandedly responsible for any failure– or success– including the increasingly better service I’ve been receiving at the Bay Pines VA during his entire presidency. And I’m saying this as someone who’s been on the outs with Obama for years. Years.
Third: Demonizing refugees and supporting them being blocked from entering is old news and dangerous. It’s exactly what this nation did to Jewish nationals fleeing Germany and other Nazi-occupied states in the 40’s and look how that turned out. The same thing has been repeated by the United States and other countries who’ve been in the position to accept refugees from the Congo, Sudan and Burma. How many more mass atrocities have to happen before we quit trying to hoard resources that we’re not even using?
Fourth: The people of the US “deserve” exactly what they vote for by not voting. The people of the US “deserve” exactly what they tacitly support by not donating their time and resources to fix society’s ills. “The people” — everyone in a position to post these memes on Facebook from the comfort of their home — are not even the ones affected by homelessness, so I question how genuine their indignance is.
There is literally more than enough to go around. It’s corporations and the corrupt politicians shilling for them that only half the country country votes for — while also not voting in their local elections* or doing anything to create positive change— that create the conditions of scarcity that allow homelessness to still be a thing. It has everything to do with us as individuals and the collective decisions this country makes.
Congress could cure homelessness [and any number of public health or educational ills] if it really wanted to. And so could we individually if we all stopped fighting for scraps and worked together. There’s no lack of ability here, only a lack of will — and that has nothing to with either Obama or refugees.