I want to say something to all of you.
I am making this public, because I don't care who sees it. I don't care if it loses me work, friends, or even family. And I will not mince words. To quote one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, "I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or to write, with moderation. [...] I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD."
If you believe that the attack on Paris - or any other terrorist act - justifies closing our borders to refugees, deporting Muslim or Arab Americans, or (and I can't believe I have to say this) using anything even remotely resembling the strategy of Internment we used against Japanese Americans during WWII....you're a coward.
Let me repeat that, so there can be no misunderstanding. YOU ARE A COWARD.
To imply or champion any of those ideas is to say that you are so scared of the potential harm that could befall you or yours, that you would rather allow children and innocents to suffer the worst indignities a human being can suffer. You are saying that you are so piss scared that you would see these people raped, maimed, tortured, and butchered by the thousands every single day, rather than take even an iota of risk.
Because that is exactly what they are fleeing. That is the fate they are trying to escape. They are normal human beings trying to escape the types of men who committed the attack in Paris, and in Beirut. These attacks were just a small taste of the hell they have had to live every day for YEARS.
That small taste has you shaking so hard in your boots that you are willing to cast off your common humanity. Willing to deny the beliefs that created and maintained our nation.
That is exactly what they want.
You see, there is a reason Terrorism is named such. Its purpose is to inspire fear. In this case, to fan the flames of Islamophobia. Because, make no mistake, ISIS relies on that mindset. They need to hold up the West as a boogeyman. They need to further the idea that there is a war between "The Western World" and Islam. It is how they recruit. It is how they grow. It is how they were created. Without that narrative they are nothing. They need your fear, your rage, your threats, so that they can hold them up to the young men of the Middle East and say "do you see how they view us? Do you see how they hate us? There can never be peace. Our only hope is to defeat them."
To live in such fear, to deny your common humanity with the people fleeing their evil, is exactly what they want. In short, by expressing these opinions, you are a pawn of the terrorists. You are doing exactly as they bid you to.
France gifted to us a statue which symbolized our national identity, and the ideals which both nations hold sacred. As a New Yorker, I can view her any day. That statue is, obviously, The Statue of Liberty. She who lifts her great lamp beside the golden door. She who stands as a beacon welcoming the homeless and the tempest tossed who built this land, and will continue to build it. Men and women of every nation, faith, and creed. Many of whom were refugees when they found their way to our shore.
I will not let you profane my Lady of Liberty. I will not let you add an addendum to her inscription that reads "offer may vary". I will not let you further curtail our Liberties. I will not let you continue the mistakes we made in response to the attacks on our soil. I will not let you throw away everything it means to be American while you claim to defend America.
Because it is not America you defend. It is your own safety. Or rather, your illusion of safety. Because it is an illusion, as safety always is.
Terrorists did not need to hide amongst refugees to attack the World Trade Center. They did not need to pose as refugees to attack the London Underground. You can not completrly secure a border. Especially borders as large as those we have here in the US. There will always be danger. Always. So long as any man wishes to kill any other man. To pretend otherwise is a quaint fantasy, and nothing more. You can accept the danger, face it, and continue to live your life unchanged. Or, you can cower in fear.
I will not give them what they want. I will not cower. I will accept my brother. I will not just fight against the demons of religious extremism. I will comfort it's victims, no matter their nation of origin. I will, as many of the residents of Paris did last night, stand tall and pronounce:
I AM NOT AFRAID
#VivelaLibertie #ViveHumanisme #VivelaFrance