The question of whether or not to accept Syrian refugees has been one of the most venomous sociopolitical conversations raging through the United States as of late. One one hand, there are many who believe in doing the humanitarian thing and opening ourselves to take in the suffering. However, on the other hand, fear-mongering has created a constituency that believes all Muslims are terrorists and that tragedies like Paris and San Bernardino are proof positive that our borders should be tightly closed.
However, the United States’ northern neighbor welcomed 163 Syrian refugees into their country yesterday, embracing their humanity with reason and virtuous action and embracing their tired with open arms, open minds, and open hearts.
Welcome to Canada. pic.twitter.com/xEOn44GjJF
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 11, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally went to meet with them, welcoming exhausted Syrian refugees with kindness and understanding. The newly-elected Prime Minister has made the Syrian refugees a top priority, especially after images of a 3-year-old boy who drowned in Turkey while fleeing with his family from Syria to Canada were widely seen worldwide. These images also assisted in turning the crisis into a major political issue during the Canadian election earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in the “Land of Freedom,” more than half of the nation’s governors have stated publicly that they do not want Syrian refugees in their respective states, severed pig heads are being thrown at mosques in Philadelphia, and a certain badly-bronzed, xenophobic, sentient hairpiece has gone so far as to call Syrian refugees a “Trojan horse,” just to name a few incidents that paint a picture of the United States being hopelessly on the wrong side of history and about a capable of humanity as an everyday blobfish.
— ishmael n. daro (@iD4RO) December 10, 2015
While the front page of the Toronto Star welcomed the Syrian refugees into their country, an editorial that ran in the paper began with the following:
“Welcome to Canada.
Ahlan wa sahlan.
You’re with family now.”
Meanwhile, in ‘Murica, politicians and pundits spout fearful anecdotes and blatant misinformation to saturate the issue of whether or not the United States should do the right thing and help men, women, and children who need us. After all, whose to say it isn’t reasonable to fear the possibility of a six-year-old Syrian refugee getting their hands on a suicide vest, right?
It’s not just the media and the politicians of Canada who have taken Syrian refugees into their culture and their identity. Many of the people of Canada have not only been supportive of the humanitarian stance their government has taken, but are also looking to do their part in welcoming the men, women, and children fleeing their war-torn homelands.
— Sarah-Joyce Battersby (@sjbattersby) December 11, 2015
Tim Horton’s gift cards? Seriously, is there anything more hospitable in Canada than being greeted with Tim Horton’s gift cards?
Essentially, Canada is doing it right. This isn’t to say that this openness to refugees is an across-the-board sentiment that all Canadians feel. There are likely Canadians who feel similarly to how many Americans feel on the issue. But the point is that a few fearful people is not a good enough reason to perpetuate the suffering of men, women, and children who only want a safe place to lay their heads at night.
Fear does not become us. Fear makes people believe and do crazy, irrational things. Fear does not make a nation great. Fear destroys humanity.
If the Donald wants to “make America great again,” this is how he needs to do it. Every person on both sides of the debate could benefit from looking over these images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau open his heart and country to people who desperately need him.