GOP Presidential Candidates Continue to Make Un-American Statements About Syrian Refugees

This is a piece of the cover image from Ted Cruz's Facebook page. Is it supposed to be ironic or something?

This is a piece of the cover image from Ted Cruz’s Facebook page. Is it supposed to be ironic or something?

It has been a depressing week to be an American. As Nick Cassella mentioned this morning, Governor Jay Inslee has been a rare voice of sanity with his vocal opposition to the rush to prosecute American Muslims and turn away refugees. But a cowardly Washington state legislator is loudly arguing against refugees, saying “We cannot differentiate between the innocent refugee who want to come to our shores and live in peace with the individual who is a terrorist who wants to exploit our freedoms and use those freedoms against us to do us harm.” (ISIS is terrified that it’s losing refugees, by the way, and they’re disseminating propaganda in an effort to convince them to come home. These politicians are in fact doing ISIS’s work by agitating to refuse refugees.) Yesterday, Donald Trump even suggested a national database for American Muslims, though he seems to be trying to backpedal right now:

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio tried to add some nuance to Trump’s call to close down mosques, but he kind of backfired when he announced that he wants to shut down any private business—”whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site”— where “radicals are being inspired.” He also said the problem is that we’re not spying on ourselves enough:

The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.

Here’s how we know we’ve entered topsy-turvy land: Jeb Bush is the only Republican candidate who’s exactly right about this. ““You talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people, that’s just wrong,” Bush said. He added, “it’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength. That’s weakness.” This is the truest thing any Republican running for president has said all week. It will probably cause Bush to plunge in the polls. Back in crazytown, Ted Cruz is tossing kiddie insults at President Obama.

Everyone except Jeb Bush has failed to recognize the fact that our country is great because we welcome more, not fewer, people from diverse backgrounds. The minute we start to play the exclusionary game, the jig is up. An America that does not celebrate a diverse population from around the world is an America in decline.

It’s been a garbage week. Let’s do better than this, America.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.