Knock, Knock Jokes: America's Virtue Signaling and The Syrian Refugee Debate
"I lie in bed to the sound, of the wolves at my door. They are speaking in tongues Oh, they join on my floor”-Senses Fail
It seems common sense is beginning to once again fade into a blur, not only in our government, but in our sensibilities and situational awareness as a society. For those that don’t know, here's the skinny: the United States is set to allow into the country 10,000 refugees of the Syrian Civil War which has been tearing that country apart for the better part of 5 years. This figure is according to the Secretary of State, John Kerry. He also mentioned taking in 85,000 next year and 100,000 the following year.
This has caused all manner of noise from both sides of the aisle, as per usual. You have the blanket xenophobes. You have the basement commandos in their tinfoil caps. You have your 22- year-old barista who wants to display warmth and love, as long as it's only on Instagram. Self-proclaimed, counter terror experts have come out in droves on social media platforms and debate is running rampant in this country on what the United States should do, if anything.
There is so much conflicting information out there, at least once you pull yourself away from your internet fights and actually do independent research. I had originally gone into this trying to bring you as many cold, hard facts as possible, but for every one out there, there’s a polar opposite. It’s all spin for whatever flavor Kool-Aid you happen to be drinking this week. So instead, I still want to approach this as objectively as I can and still bring this to you as someone who was 18 years old on 9/11, remembers it clearly, and spent the next 12 years putting in big boy work. But, I’m also approaching this as someone who loves his nation dearly. America to me, is the drunk girlfriend I brought to the family reunion. I’m embarrassed by her a lot and don’t understand what the fuck she’s doing sometimes. But, at the end of the day I still put her in my truck, take her home, and tuck her drunk ass in.
There are essentially two schools of thought on the issue once you strip away the political bullshit and virtue signaling: the humanitarian side and the security side.
The humanitarian side is noble and gracious, sure. Their hearts are in the right places for the most part. But, it’s an emotional response to something I fear not a lot of them fully understand. They see desperate people on TV and online and their hearts naturally ache. It’s the same reaction when they’re reminded that millions of human beings are actually starving in African countries in the myriad civil wars which plague that entire continent. However, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and not use the word majority but, a rather large component of those on the humanitarian side of the issue aren’t arguing for the reception of the refugees because they genuinely care. They just want to post about it on social media and show how much they LOOK like they care. It’s called “virtue signaling” and it’s the same thing everyone does on social media after a tragedy. They want to show support, with the least amount of effort or sacrifice possible. They want to APPEAR to show support, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them in any tangible way other than having a colored flag over their profile selfie. Anthony Jeselnik said it best in regards to the practice, “You are not giving any of your time, money, or even your compassion. All you are doing is saying, ‘don’t forget about me today. A lot of crazy distractions in the news right now, but don’t forget about how sads I am.’” A lot of the teary-eyed hipsters are just trying to seem “right on” to their friends. I’m willing to bet none of them realize what caused the refugee crisis in the first place, nor could they find Syria on a map. I guarantee they don’t want any refugees in THEIR neighborhoods or frequenting THEIR coffee shops or going to THEIR kids’ schools. It’s all a show folks. The real humanitarians are the people writing checks, filling care packages, and working in those refugee camps.
The flip side to the humanitarians are the security conscious crowd. Now, I admittedly fall into this category. However, just as the humanitarian group is tainted with hash-tagging, oxygen thieves, and wealthy, suburban housewives that have never experienced a bad day, those that choose to lean on their suspicions have an equal amount of tumors in their ranks. You have the wanna be’s in their “infidel” shirts and their shemaghs gassing up their Bushmasters in mom’s basement because “ISIS is coming.” You also have the blanket xenophobes who don’t want anyone that isn’t an American citizen to be in America. These are the same people that run around shouting “Why the hell do I need to press 2 for Spanish? This is America!”
What my ilk and I are trying to get across is that there is a genuine security concern in these refugees. But, if you bring this to light you’re called a racist, Islamophobe, or any other buzzword the user learned on Facebook this morning. There are arguments flung our way that “only 1%” could be terrorists” and that we’re heartless bigots. Of course, we live in a day and age where disagreeing with someone or something is automatically equated to HATING it. The argument that we are a nation of refugees is a fallacy used by the uneducated. Technically EVERY nation is a nation of refugees at some point in their history. That doesn’t mean in 2015, the United States should give carte blanche to everyone that wants to come live here. There was once a time where living here was a privilege to be appreciated, not an entitlement.
No other Middle Eastern nation is taking in any refugees. They’re right next door. Does anyone want to hazard a guess why? Is it because they’re cruel, indifferent pricks? No. They don’t want the security risk. Period. The lives of their citizens will never knowingly be put in potential jeopardy by them. To them, it's not worth it. They understand that there is an element that has infiltrated the refugee population and wants to do bad shit.
My concern is this, “even if it IS only 1%, is it worth the risk of another potential terror attack?” People use the argument that a potential 9/11 is always a possibility. I agree, totally. But should we knowingly risk it? To me, it’s just as irresponsible as getting rid of security in airports. 99% of travelers are do-gooders, but should we risk it for the 1%? Why KNOWINGLY INVITE the possibility for another massive loss of American lives? What’s it worth? It’s easy to say the righteous thing now, but God forbid something happen here at a mall, at a school, on public transportation. How righteous is your humanitarianism when it could COST the lives of your country men and even more horrifically, children? Could you stand there and still say it was the right thing?
The rub is that you can have compassion and security, ask any Iraq vet that worked for Civil Affairs units. However, sacrificing security in order to be the best humanitarian on the planet, is the method by which martyrs are made.
Syria is a war torn country whose ability to keep records has been abysmal at best. Biometrics in the refugee camps are rudimentary and can be faulty. The DHS is going to do what it can, but with what material? You let them in and what do you have to go on for a background check? Their word? These are questions the compassionate crusaders aren’t asking. These are the same people that curse surveillance and wire tapping, but expect the government to protect them with security screenings and paperwork.
But hey, they don’t know what they don’t know. They have the privilege of being able to shove earbuds into their ears, and glue their eyes to a phone screen and shut out the world around them. It’s devolved back into an almost pre-9/11 mindset. Do we need to be paranoid? No. Do we need to be vigilant? Yes. ISIS is here. They’ve already said they have people among the refugees. So far, these guys haven't bullshit. The tacticool guerrillas are on the lookout for jihadists dressed in ninja costumes, but they don’t realize it’s not going to be a gunfight. The last thing you’ll think is “Man, that guys' jacket is big” before the lights go out.
There is idiocy on both sides of the fence. But one opens the door a little wider for another horrific tragedy. Compassion is a wonderful, incredible thing. It separates good from evil. But, is it really compassion when you're selfishly putting others in danger?
I’ve heard all kinds of analogies being used lately involving candy and other things. But the question is simple, when you live next to a prison and a stranger knocks on your door, do you get to know them, or let them in to live with you for 6 months? How many American lives is it worth to LOOK LIKE the most noble country in the world?
November 30, 2015