In the past week I have seen so much panic-driven hate that I can hardly express my frustration or shock. Of course, these are frightening times and it’s easy to understand our impulse to panic. Fear is very understandable when we see ordinary people, people we can easily relate to, being slaughtered by soulless animals that care only about intimidating, dominating and enslaving others. Monsters who have no ethics, no respect for life or decency are by definition horrifying. I get that. When I heard about the attacks on Paris, I looked at my wife and daughter and thought “they could have been us” and then I went to church and prayed.
But America isn’t the Home of the Fearfully Reluctant we are the Home of the Brave. Or at least we were. We were leaders, we showed the world not only how to be free but what we ought to to do with that freedom. So when I see governors and legislators fanning the flames of panic for popularity and power when they ought to be the leaders they were elected to be; when they ought to be inspiring us to do the right thing, bravely, I start to panic a little myself– where is the Home of the Brave?
Benjamin Franklin was a leader who told us what to do when we are afraid in his letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania concerning the French-Indian War, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” He bluntly told us, choose liberty first. What is a more essential liberty than to be who we are? The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave? The country that welcomes all races, all religions, all peoples to come here, thrive and contribute to our melting pot? The superpower that doesn’t hesitate to defend the defenseless and help the helpless? Is that what we’re willing to give up for the illusion of a little temporary safety?
There are Syrian refugees who need our aid– actual victims of the Islamic Nation. Yes, it’s true that immigrating refugees provide an opportunity for the Islamic Nation to sneak into our country but the reality is, our enemy doesn’t need them to achieve that goal (and likely already have agents among us). What we should be concerned with is that Germany has accepted that risk and developed a vetting process to mitigate it– they’ve accepted 60,000 refugees. What we should be concerned with is France has actually been bloodied by the Islamic Nation but they have accepted that declaration of war– they’ve committed to accepting 30,000 more of ISIL’s victims.
Why is the Home of the Brave losing its shit about accepting 10,000? Can we call ourselves the Land of the Free when the mere threat of a bully causes us to cower away from anyone that even RESEMBLES him? Can we call ourself “leaders of the free world” when we can’t even match countries that are even closer to the danger than we?
Where is the Home of the Brave today?