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Empathy not executive orders

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I hate the term alien.

Like children with tear-streaked dirty faces are from another planet.

I do not understand how Americans can have such a disdain for immigrants, and then turn around and say how sad it is that people in other countries are living through atrocities.

You would think the average American could see the link between the oppressed and the millions of families simply hoping to defy the odds and have a chance to build a life in the land of the free.

Freedom to the free is taken for granted like a child whose parents have always been financially capable of supporting them.

The child does not realize how lucky they are; they have never known any differently.

We have never known any differently than freedom, forgetting other countries see our land of the free as a lifeboat from the oppression and corruption they face every day.

The freedom of America is rumored about in other countries with the hesitation of those who have a hard time believing freedom like that could actually exist.

We stick our lifeboat in the middle of shark infested waters, watching the people struggling to avoid inevitable death. Instead of adjusting to make room, we write I am sorry for your hardship on dollar store cards and let them sink to the bottom of the ocean.  

America, don’t act like you care if you close your front door with a padlock every night.

Don’t act like it bothers you if you see the women and children on television as an emotional appeal for political leverage.

Don’t act like you would do something to change their situation if you see the Hispanic population as stealing American jobs.

Immigrants are not a concept. Oppression is not an idea. Refugees are not political jargon.

Somehow we are comforted by donating five dollars to a charity for people in another country, but we don’t want to see them cross into our land to actually try to make something of themselves.

We want the starving children and crying mothers to be a faraway issue we mention briefly at Thanksgiving.

We comfort ourselves with the reassuring words of “it’s not our problem.”

For so long, we never had to see the problem. We could pretend it didn’t exist.

I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say we can no longer pretend it’s not our problem.  

Refugees fleeing their countries from political turmoil and oppression is not an invention of the 21st century, yet we act as though we have been introduced to a new concept, taking our time deciding if we buy it or not.

There is no denying Donald Trump’s 90 to 120 day ban on middle eastern refugees has not created uproar in the United states.

Here’s the thing, we don’t have to deal with this problem alone—we are not the only lifeboat floating above shark infested waters.

If we help, another lifeboat will help. Maybe another lifeboat will come with shark poison and then all those simply trying to stay alive can finally happily swim home.

All it comes down to is a question of whether we are willing to do the right thing at the right time.

America, only you can answer that question. 

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The student news site of the University of Southern Indiana
Empathy not executive orders