Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 11.19.15
Just Outside Washington


A country of migrants

We are a country of migrants; everyone or their family came from somewhere else. Even the American Indians migrated, just earlier than the rest of us.

Despite the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free..., we have not always been open-hearted. In the case of European Jews in the 1930s and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, we have sincerely regretted our hard-heartedness afterward.

We are facing another moment in history which will show whether we practice what we preach, that America is the land of opportunity, freedom, democracy, and equality with liberty and justice for all. The refugees from Syria present us with this moment and it is up to us to decide who we are.

We are what we do.

So, let us bring many Syrian refugees to the United States and help them make a new home. We can do it. In the 1970s and 1980s we Americans participated in an international effort to resettle almost 2 million Boat People and other refugees from Southeast Asia; almost 500,000 came to the United States.

Will there be problems? You Betcha. The Syrian refugees are from a culture that is different from ours and many do not speak English. But they can become productive Americans, if we help.

Most of the refugees identify as Muslins, which should not trouble us; currently we have almost 3 million Muslims living in the U.S. Some of the refugees could be terrorists, as could some of our current population; remember Timothy McVeigh?

Should we be afraid? The purpose of terrorism is to make us afraid and make us change our behavior. Part of what the terrorists oppose is our ideals and culture. The terrorist leadership believes they will drag the West into a fight that will destroy our values and culture.

But, only if we let them -- The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.