But this... I can't get this out of my head. Ever since Republican front-runner Donald Trump declared that, in the event of his presidency, he'd see to it that any Syrian refugees who made their way to our country would be sent back to where they came from. He argues that some, if not many (or even most) of them are likely ISIS spies, an insidious undercover army set to overwhelm the nation, though the roots of his suspicions are phrased as little more than a general impression. He seems to be playing somewhat fast and loose with his figures. But he furthermore suggests that while it may be possible to create a "safe zone" for the refugees in Syria, "we don't have to help them by taking them into our country." His announcements were met with cheers from his followers.
And I keep remembering a few particular lines from an old poem...
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Maybe we can't afford to keep that lamp lit anymore. Maybe times have grown too dangerous, too crowded, too wicked. I hope not. But in any case, I would have expected it to be extinguished with the greatest regret and solemnity... never with cheers.