GOP Politicians Rejecting Refugees Sound Like Racist Internet Trolls
White supremacists didn’t like my suggestion that we open our borders to Syrian refugees. After that piece ran on RollingStone.com Saturday, I was flooded with messages on Twitter calling me a “retard,” “moron” and “faggot.” When they found out I was Jewish, I was a “lying kike motherfucker.”
Those were the open extremists, of course, the ones who put hashtags like #WhiteGenocide in their Twitter bios; I saw at least one Hitler photo as an avatar. But whether they were open with their Nazi sympathies or more subtle, one thing was clear: The white-rights crowd does not want Syrian refugees – refugees who are fleeing the very kind of terrorism we saw in Paris last week – to be allowed into the United States. They expressed, in no uncertain terms, that they oppose allowing foreign – and brown! – refugees to come to Europe and America, and they’re using the fear of terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks to spread their racist message.
Nothing they said was surprising. This was the worst the Internet has to offer, after all.
What may be more surprising is how many U.S. politicians are now saying things that sound frighteningly close to that ugly rhetoric.
It is now the mainstream position of the Republican Party that we should immediately stop accepting refugees because of the dangers of terrorism. Former Arkansas governor and B-team presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has even suggested we “close the borders,” as though ISIS is sneaking over the Detroit River from Canada.
Republican governors all over the country are announcing they won’t allow refugees to be resettled in their states – a power they don’t actually have. Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, which has the largest Muslim population in the country, said “our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley tweeted, “We refuse Syrian refugees” because he “will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.” (Because I’m sure ISIS had imminent plans to attack Birmingham.)
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