So, there’s a lot of hate mongering going on all over social media right now. Mostly Facebook. Valley News Live has become nothing more than a tabloid, stirring the pot with half facts and disgraceful reporting. That’s my own personal jab at them because I just think they’re jerks.
But all of this, as a whole, is completely ridiculous. I’ve never felt so much disappointment with my country as I have over the past several days.
When did the idea of humanity take a backseat to bigotry and fear?
Now, let me get one thing straight right now. I am scared. When things happen like what happened in Paris or like what happened on 9/11, it’s terrifying. Normal life is abruptly, irrevocably shifted and the security you walked out of your house feeling is essentially ripped from you. It’s impossible not to feel fear. But am I going to allow fear to strip me of my humanity and control my life? No.
Because then those terrorists win.
And for everyone spewing out your hatred for Syrian refugees…or any refugee for that matter, the terrorists have defeated you. You really think that denying the refugees a chance at the kind of freedom we take for granted every day is going to stop all horrific things from happening? Really? Bad things are going to happen. Every day. There’s no stopping that. The world is just full of bad people doing bad things.
Banning refugees because of an act of terrorism is like banning all 12-18 year olds from school because of school shootings. You’re looking at one specific group of people and holding them responsible for everything which is just plain ignorant on so many levels.
And the one post that gets under my skin the most is the one stating the government needs to be more focused on the homeless instead of refugees.
Really? You want to sit there and tell the government what they need to do to make America better? You want the homeless helped so bad, then you get out there and help them. Don’t sit in front of your computer making demands on social media that you aren’t willing to carry out yourself.
I didn’t have a job for the longest time and it was tough. It was extremely tough. Did I expect the government to drop what they were doing and help my family? No. I made the difference myself. I found other jobs, I found ways to keep money trickling in so that I could feed my family. You want the change to happen so bad, then DO something about it.
There are plenty that already are. The VA, HUD, homeless shelters, the YWCA, churches….they’re all opening their doors to homeless every day to get them off the streets and get them fed. The percent of homeless individuals has decreased dramatically in the past ten years. But why check your facts when you can find a meme and splatter it on Facebook to illustrate your distaste with government decisions.
Many of these refugees coming to America have been homeless for years, living in camps, torn from their lives by war, persecution and horrors you and I will hopefully never see. They wait in these camps for their names to be called, to be told they’re going to America. They don’t get to pick when, they don’t get to pick where, and they sure as hell don’t get to have a life of luxury established for them prior to coming here. Many of them just want to be back with their families who are already here, missing them terribly.
I understand the process now more than I ever did before that a refugee has to go through in order to come here. It’s rigorous at best. Exhausting.
Now, this is a horrible comparison but it’s the only one I have. I remember what it was like trying to get pregnant with Sammy. Every month I would face the disappointment and heartache that it wouldn’t be happening and granted, it did eventually happen, but for six months my hopes were destroyed and it was really difficult to deal with that. I can’t imagine how other women do it, how they turn to in vitro, put their bodies through that kind of stress and live in the constant hope that they will hold their own baby and have to face that crushing feeling that happens every month when it becomes apparent that they won’t. But they do it. Month after month, year after year, they do it. They fight because they want that chance. They want their baby.
Refugees fight, day after day, month after month, year after year, because they want it. They don’t want to be hunted, to live in fear or face down death on a daily basis. They want a better life.
So, what if that’s the only difference between a homeless person and a refugee…that they want it more?
There are services out there specifically designed to help people. But you have to take the steps to get those services started. No one is going to hold your hand and tell you how to take care of yourself.
When refugees come here, they have to apply for the same services anyone else would have to apply for when it comes to SNAP, WIC, Housing Assistance…any kind of government assistance. They aren’t offered any other handout besides a bus pass in some cases. They have to apply for those services, work with caseworkers and build their own lives. No one helps them any more than they would help a white single mother standing in line to fill out an application for assistance. And if you want to argue that they sure as hell do because you’ve stood in line and the refugee standing in front of you was treated better than you were, maybe your resting bitch face was off putting.
I’ve been in those offices, I’ve stood in those lines and worked with those caseworkers and I happen to know, for a fact, that if you walk in with a positive attitude and you’re polite and grateful for how they’re helping you, they’re going to treat you nicely. If you walk in looking angry, being pushy and rude…they’re not going to. But then again, no one would. People don’t like being treated like they’re an inconvenience to someone else, especially when they’re working in an office specifically geared towards helping people.
And I know there are homeless people out there that truly and honestly seek out the help. They know there are resources and they accept those resources. There are also those who don’t bother. Those who are too proud or can’t see past the depression that shrouds their lives. People who think their lives mean nothing and who have given up. And they don’t try to do what they need to do to get off the streets. I don’t see many refugees holding signs on street corners that say, “why lie, I need booze.” But I’ve seen plenty, especially in Vegas. Holy crap, lots of honesty there. Sometimes people just want a drink.
Does their status make them any less human? Does a refugee’s status make them any less human?
No, it doesn’t.
What makes people less human is their inability to work past their fear, to see a person in need as a person and understand how to help. That person can be anyone – the single mother grocery shopping, the dad struggling to figure out how a car seat works, a homeless vet, a homeless anyone, a refugee.
And are all humans going to be good? No! There’s plenty of really crappy Americans. A white male serial killer doesn’t make every white male a serial killer. A frat house full of irresponsible, drunk, idiot boys body shaming women doesn’t make every frat house full of those same people. A group of NFL players partying on a yacht and making pretty horrible choices doesn’t make every group of NFL players behave the same way. And a group of people terrorizing people doesn’t make that race full of terrorist. To believe that and allow it to destroy your humanity is allowing fear and ignorance to firmly take place in your life and outline how you live it.
So quit being afraid, quit judging people by other people’s bad choices.
Be better. Make a difference and be human.