The hypocrisy behind ‘Not in my backyard’ policies
Who should we allow into our country?
Border control is a hot topic — not only in the United States but worldwide. Currently, thousands of refugees are fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, flooding European countries and raising concerns about immigration and refugee policies everywhere.
In August, Donald Trump released his immigration policy, planning, among other things, to build a wall across the southern border. In Hungary, Prime Minister Victor Orban built such a wall, a barbwire fence along the Hungarian/Serbian border to stop the refugees from entering Hungary. Outraged, people protested. Austria has now accepted 12,000 people, and Germany has plans to accept 800,000 applications for asylum. In an unprecedented statement, Pope Francis called on every parish and Catholic sanctuary in Europe to take in a refugee family. In comparison, the United States is allowing a mere 1,500 Syrians into our country.
Fueled by emotions, the debate about who to allow across our border has become incredibly controversial. Although I understand the issue is complicated, I believe that fear and ignorance have heightened the problem. People are terrified — scared of losing jobs to others, afraid of increased terrorism and, ultimately, anxious about new ideas infiltrating our society.
But isn’t the merging of cultures exactly what the United States represents? Coined the Great Melting Pot, we are a country built by immigrants, and, unless a person has Native American bloodlines, everyone has come from somewhere else. Enforcing a “not in my backyard” policy reeks of hypocrisy spawned from fear.
In a statement about Mexicans coming to the United States, Donald Trump said, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” Now, if that statement doesn’t fuel fear, I don’t know what does.
Fear is a powerful force. According to the polls, support for Donald Trump grew after the release of his planned immigration policies. But is it realistic to keep people out, to stop change? Not at all. The one sure constant in the world is change — a phrase coined over 2,000 years ago by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. Indeed, the universe is in a constant state of evolution. Trying to stop change is futile, a complete waste of energy.
So what is the answer? If I had one, I’d be running for president, but I can suggest this: A good start would be to understand the issue. A good start would be to realize the suffering and dire straights of the people looking for a place to call home. A good start would be to release compassion rather than hatred.
The world is changing; that much is fact. Isn’t it better to work with change instead of against it?
Carrie Brown-Wolf lives in Silverthorne.
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