Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jay Inslee and Fear Itself: Bucking the Immigrant Bashing Tide

I admire Maggie Hassan and will vote for her to be rid of Kelly Ayotte, but I am disappointed in her announcement pandering to the fears of Granite Staters saying she thinks we ought to halt immigration from Syria "for now."

This morning I heard the governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee talking about why he announced he hoped his state would continue to welcome immigrants/refugees from Syria.

As he pointed out, it's not up to the states to manage immigration: Once the immigrant passes into the USA, he can go anywhere. So, when the governor of Alabama says he would tolerate a zero percent chance the immigrant might harm an Alabaman, this is ridiculous, because he has no say in the matter and no way to prevent the Syrian from cross his state line--his proclamation is clearly only to say to his state citizens, "I care so much for your safety, I'll not take any chances with it." So much posturing, no effect.

One might think all the posturing harmless, but Governor Inslee pointed out there is a moral hazard. He mentioned the Japanese who were thrown into concentration camps on the very island on which he lives off Seattle, during the Second World War, whose sons were fighting for the USA in Italy while their parents were incarcerated in America. He said Franklin Roosevelt, who said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, unreasoning fear was guilty of acceding to the hysteria following Pearl Harbor and we should regret that decision every day, even today. 

He also pointed out that the Syrian refugee who has been fingerprinted, DNA analyzed, checked out every way we know how is a lot less of a risk than the guy who hops on a plane from Paris on a tourist visa, a man who has gone through very little evaluation at all.  If we are really worried about preventing the next terrorist from setting foot in the country, we'd be looking at tourists--but that would cost a lot of American hotels and tourist related companies money, so we won't do it. We'll simply make life more miserable for Syrians in miserable refugee camps.

The fact is, we are as vulnerable to the next terrorist attack as we are to the next bank heist, to the next lunatic with a gun who decides to shoot up a kindergarten.  Crazies will find a way. We can work hard to catch some in our net before they do their damage and we can succeed, but we cannot succeed 100% of the time.

Governor Inslee sounded this morning like that rarest of politicians, a thoughtful, honorable man. 


  1. Mad Dog,
    Luckily there are politicians out there like Governor Inslee who remain calm, reasonable, ethical and mindful of history. Then we have the State Senator from Rhode Island, Elaine Morgan, who feels Syrian refugees can be segregated in camps should they enter Rhode Island..uh, apparently Ms. Morgan hasn't a good command of 20th century history- or she's aware of the Japanese internment and thinks it was a good idea. She says the Muslim faith and philosophy is one that advocates rape, murder and the decapitation of non-Muslims..the bible encourages some pretty barbarous actions against the "infidels" as well, but Ms Morgan doesn't categorize Christianity as dangerous and unworthy-- and she really should if she wishes to be consistent...

    Maggie Hassan falls somewhere in between Inslee and Morgan with her suggestion that refugee immigration be suspended right now in order to protect the public. Good old "public safety" the excuse used by all pandering pols when doing something questionable-it's for the public good..I'd never vote for that GOP songbird, Kelly Ayotte, but I am very disappointed in the position taken by Maggie Hassan on this issue. It does seem like one based on her fear of being painted as soft on terrorists during next year's election--better to be hard on refugees..

  2. Ms. Maud,

    Not the first time Maggie Hassan has taken the pulse of the electorate and decided to dance to that rhythm.
    Having lived 6 years in Rhode Island, as a student and afterward, I can say it is a strange and wondrous place, with all sorts of sentiments from the near fascist to the far left to the simply bizarre.
    We should arrange a field trip for the Hampton Dems.

    Mad Dog