Madison City Council Will Voice Common Decency Over Syrian Refugees

We have experienced an especially rude and callous political world over the past couple of weeks–and given what we have witnessed over the past months that is saying a great deal.  I strongly suspect the majority of my fellow citizens feel as I do each day when turning on the news or picking up the newspaper.  We cringe just a little given all that has happened to our political culture and never can be sure how bizarre or mean-spirited the next news cycle might be.

Each day there continues to be a most harsh and uneducated attack made on both the Islamic faith and Syrian refugees who flee from wretched conditions in their homeland.  We have watched the largest movement across Europe of struggling people from one place to another since WWII.  We have listened to those interviewed, saw the plea for help on their faces, and even witnessed the small child who had drowned as his family made their way to some place that did not include barrel bombs falling from the sky.  There is no one who in truth can not be impacted by these people and their needs.

While many hands around the world have reached out to help the refugees we also have come to see still others from the Republican Party who think there are votes to be garnered from being xenophobic and willfully spiteful.  Simply put, what has passed for political dialogue about refugees among conservatives has been embarrassing.    The words I have heard and read from them are not the way I live or think and know those in this city feel the same.

That is the reason the news about the Syrian refugee resolution the Madison City Council will vote on this week is so important not just to me, but to all of us collectively.  I know most people in this city and state are decent people; filled with the values our grandparents would be proud to know we still wish to live by.    What we have heard and read from the lowest common denominators in the land are reflective,  I readily admit, of a certain segment of the populace.    But as Abraham Lincoln said we must play to the better angels of our nature.  And that is what the city council will do on Tuesday when passing this resolution.

WHEREAS, the United States has a long history of offering refuge to those fleeing from persecution; and

WHEREAS, the City of Madison asserts that all refugees and immigrants should be treated with dignity, care and respect; and

WHEREAS, several million Syrians have been displaced by that country’s ongoing civil war, causing a humanitarian crisis; and

WHEREAS, in the midst of this human tragedy, we have the opportunity to choose compassion over fear, hate and divisiveness; and

WHEREAS, current and past generations of immigrants and refugees have helped build Madison and make it the great city that it is, bringing economic development, vibrancy and cultural diversity; and

WHEREAS, the City of Madison reaffirms its status as a “Welcoming City” for immigrants and newcomers from all over the world, as established by RES-14-00232, adopted in April 2014;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Madison supports accepting and welcoming Syrian refugees into our community.

We all understand this action alone will not change the national tone that has too often been repugnant when it comes to these refugees.  But I can say this resolution meets with my sentiments exactly.   I am most pleased that the city council is making a point to add their voice—our collective voice—to this most important matter of common decency and shared humanity.

My sincere thanks to the council.

Front Pages From Colorado Newspapers Following Gun Violence At PP Clinic

c1 c2 c3 c4

Gun Violence–Again

The words from President Obama on Friday were to the point.

The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence.  This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

The carnage left from a deranged angry white male with a gun at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs once again shows the necessity of getting a hold over the real evil of gun violence that has infected our society.  Too many guns and too many ways for people to get a hand on them.

As the events continued into the evening and the shooter had been arrested and cuffed a light snow started to fall on that city.  It was almost to say if there could be a way to wipe clean the horror of yet another gun shooting in this nation that the angels were trying.   This morning as the news teams report from the scene it is clear there is no way to have enough snow from last night to cover the yellow crime tape–and surely not enough snow to cover the mighty stain of our nation’s inability to deal with gun violence in this nation.

There is little doubt that the sanity of Robert Lewis Dear is nowhere to be found.  Anyone who would think attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic was in any way a positive action is not clicking on all cylinders.    But that our nation allows for anyone–including a delusional bastard like Dear–to obtain a weapon and amass ammunition reflects poorly on each and every one of us.

Nothing will change in regards to our nation’s gun laws as result of Friday’s mass shooting.   It will happen again and headlines in large font will dominate the front pages of newspapers to report the next horrible shooting .    People will talk about.  I will certainly blog about it.

But nothing will change because there are not enough Americans who care to make a difference, or if they are smart enough to understand are not able to find their way to advocate for change.

At the end of the day maybe this is just another indicator that America is indeed in decline.   Because if we can not control gun violence we are certainly not going to be able to deal with other larger and more complex matters that face our country.

Standing Up For Planned Parenthood Tonight

The bile about Planned Parenthood spun by conservative Republicans created the climate of hate that resulted in the shootings at a clinic in Colorado today. It is vital that all those who understand why women must have control of their own bodies and health care stand up and tell the three-thumbers to shut the hell up. Words have consequences and all the clap-trap from the GOP aimed at harming PP does connect with those who are not stable but have plenty of ways to get a gun. PP serves a real need in the nation and this is the time to stand up proudly for the services they provide and the people they help.

Is A White, Male, Christian Shooter Responsible For Planned Parenthood Attack In Colorado Springs?

Bet this shooter will not be a refugee from another country who pulled the trigger outside a Planned Parenthood location today.

Three police officers were injured after responding to reports of an active shooter near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs according to the Associated Press. The news service has reported that a suspect had been “contained.”

What Did They Serve At White House For Thanksgiving?

This is always a fun post to place on the blog during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yesterday the Obama family dined from a fabulous menu.  We know this news today via White House pool report by Peter Baker:  “First Family Thanksgiving menu, via White House pool report by Peter Baker: “Thyme Roasted Turkey … Garlic Jus and Cranberry-Orange Relish … Honey-Baked Ham with Apricot-Mustard Glaze … Prime Rib and Creamed Horseradish … Cornbread Stuffing with Chorizo and Roasted Peppers … Oyster Stuffing … Braised Winter Greens (Collards, Kale, and Turnip Greens) … Macaroni and Cheese … Sweet Potato Gratin … Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes … Green Bean Casserole … Fresh Greens … Kale Caesar Salad …“Banana Cream Pie … Coconut Cream Pie … Pumpkin Pie … Apple Pie … Pecan Pie … Cherry Pie.”

Wisconsin State Journal Weighs Over Four Pounds Thanksgiving Morning

Four pounds and 2 ounces to be precise.

The bulk of the paper are the ads, of course, that are intended to make us think we have something more important to do than celebrate Thanksgiving.  After bringing the paper in from the stoop and weighing it I know my words from a week ago very much apply to how I feel today.

…it is my desire that Americans spend their holiday with family and friends instead of shopping and amassing things. Let us stop trading in home time for mall time and again build up the tradition of why Thanksgiving was established in the first place.

Why Scott Walker Should Skip Observing Thanksgiving

Powerfully honest read.

There is a group that should wholly abstain from celebrating the holiday, however. It consists of a handful of US state governors, congressional Republicans, and 2016 presidential candidates. These men and women all have one thing in common: An absurd, xenophobic, racially-motivated opposition to the resettlement of Syrian refugees within US borders.

 Whereas the white settlers of Plymouth are valorized for fleeing England, modern Syrians are offered no such courtesy. Thanksgiving is a refugee’s narrative. The first Thanksgiving (or at least, the event we now remember as Thanksgiving) was celebrated in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation colony in modern-day Massachusetts. It was attended by both native inhabitants and newcomers—the latter having fled England, by way of the Low Countries, due to religious persecution.

Not only is discriminating against refugees based on religion or national origin a direct affront to the Civil Rights Act, it is culturally antithetical to the notion of Thanksgiving—this most American of holidays.

Whereas the white settlers of Plymouth (some of whom maintained their own share of zany religious ideals) are valorized for fleeing England and making the arduous journey across the Atlantic, scrabbling together a livelihood from the unforgiving landscape of colonial New England, modern Syrians are offered no such courtesy. According to conservative demagogues like Republican presidential candidate and real estate tycoon Donald Trump or conservative governor Greg Abbott of Texas, they are an insidious, monolithic group, bent on manipulating American goodwill to their advantage in the war between East and West, Islam and Christendom, white and brown.

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Resettled refugees are among the most heavily vetted entrants to the United States. Similarly, we should not need to emphasize, once more, that these men, women, children, and families are more interested in simply surviving than spreading Islamist politics. Any opposition to the intake of 10,000 Syrian refugees that Obama has promised (a drop in a bucket, and pitiful in comparison to the efforts of France and Germany) is therefore definitively anti-American, and indisputably anti-Thanksgiving.

Those Americans who maintain that “Syrian refugee” is synonymous with “ISIL” despite all logic and facts should be thankful for one thing above all else: birthright laws. Because the only difference between a Syrian refugee and yourself is a stack of paperwork and a geographically lucky birth.