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Politics Today – “2016 Election—Refugees, Rhetoric and Reality”

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“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

Statue-of-Liberty“Ask people to come up with an image that symbolizes America’s immigrant heritage, and many of them will choose the Statue of Liberty. A gift from the people of France, she has watched over New York Harbor since 1886, and on her base is a tablet inscribed with words penned by Emma Lazarus in 1883:   To some Americans, the words of Emma Lazarus are our national credo. Others say they’re our national curse.” (

migrationIn today’s highly volatile and extremely charged political climate, both here in the United States and elsewhere around the globe, you will not find a more controversial subject than immigration and/or refugees.  Considering the recent tragedies in France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Mali, Egypt and of course Syria, nations far and wide are being forced to seriously debate age old questions of security versus freedom and how foreign immigrants or refugees directly affect national identity.  I say “national identity” because there are few if any countries that can honestly identify their indigenous populations that have not been directly influenced by decades if not centuries of widespread immigration.  Unfortunately as our world has grown more interdependent and “smaller” with the expansion of technology through the internet and a 24 hour news cycle, terrorist elements have found a niche that easily heightens fear.

know-the-enemyPoliticians and political candidates seeking to garner support for their particular agendas have likewise tapped into the fears of everyday people by promoting fear mongering campaigns that scapegoat others for their problems.  This is nothing new in politics.  In economically desperate times political demagogues will make outlandish controversial claims to divert voter’s attention away from facts and reality.  Here in the United States, this demagoguery has taken the face of popular political figures like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and others.  In Europe the cascading fallout of swarming refugees from war torn countries like Libya and Syria seeking a better life have prompted conservative leaders and their political parties to prey on rightful fears and exacerbate them to fever pitched frenzy.

Do not interpret my constructive criticism as an outright besmirching of these political figures’ characters.  On the contrary, though I may have policy and/or philosophical disagreements with them their patriotism is beyond question.  However, far too often the temptation to snag headlines in an all too crowded political field where 30 second sound bites is the standard to garner attention overshadows concrete policy solutions.  That is an unfortunate result of our contemporary 24 hour news cycle.  The sad reality is that he/she who shouts the loudest most outlandish insults generally gains the most traction.

As the investigations into the recent Paris attacks and the Russian Metrojet bombing in the Sinai have developed, citizens and governments alike have come to the realization that ISIS and Al Qaeda threats to transport their jihadist war to our very front doorsteps were not idle promises.  Revelations that some of the Paris terrorists, the likelihood that Egyptian security measures failed to prevent a “turned” insider from smuggling a luggage bomb and nearly a dozen refugees detained in Latin America with false Syrian passports intending to enter the United States have catapulted the refugee dilemma to the forefront of public debate.  These are all legitimate concerns and aptly demonstrate where intricate security measures have glaring holes.

Furthermore, Western political dialogue that fails to unify its identifying depiction of who our enemies are with constant squabbling about Islamists, Jihadists, Muslim extremists etc. ad nausea, ideally plays right into the carefully designed playbook of divide and conquer.


terrorismEvidence demonstrates that even though these thugs claim to be “defenders of the faith” in a religious war “against Western Crusaders,” a significant majority have gang affiliated criminal backgrounds and only recently adopted the cloak of Islam.  In reality they’re not “true believers.” For the most part these brigands have been able to circumvent law enforcement and/or national security surveillance systems because they have conducted illegal drug/trafficking/arms smuggling activities specifically designed to slither “off the grid” and avoid detection.  Terrorist groups are recruiting these criminal elements and propagandizing their cause as a religious crusade “in the name of God.”

Equally frustrating is that these terrorists are highly skilled at social media marketing that falsely advertises their cause and way of life in an appealing light to the disgruntled or disenfranchised youth of Western civilization.  In the war wearied and economically challenged segments of Europe or the United States, a techno savvy new generation of young people seek to ease their guilt ridden soul searching Western consciences by flocking to the seemingly most prolific “moral compass” online.  This, in and of itself, is a delusional false premise that only becomes self-evident when it is too late.

The REALITY of all the endless fear mongering and hateful political rhetoric being spewed about is WHAT DO WE REALLY STAND FOR?  Shall frantic fearful peoples swallow this bitter pill or take a deep breath, pause and sort through all the noise to find their true character?  Only time will tell.  Americans and Europeans alike must find their voice and balance freedom with security.  Otherwise, if we succumb to seemingly self-serving political rhetoric from characters who in a saner world wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining political ascendancy, we become the very hateful religiously intolerant war mongering materialists that our murdering terrorist enemies portray us to be.

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