The history of mankind could easily be painted as a constant series of terrible acts, perpetrated by man unto another, writ small and large over the years.
It could just as easily be shown as the heart and compassion of mankind to join together and combat the terror of man’s own inhumanity.
Currently, we face that choice once more.
The immediate urge is to vilify persons and groups associated with terrible acts. If it’s a gun killing, all gun owners share the blame; if it’s a jihadist attack, all members of that people or religion suffer the anger. Neither case is accurate, of course.
So, then, we look at this current atrocity and, of course, the first reaction is to say all of “those people” are bad, for even if we are willing to accept it’s only a small quantity of people but aren’t willing to make the distinction between the two, it’s simply blanket hate.
If someone were to say to me, “I don’t want to accept refugees into America because we cannot house and clothe the people already here”, that is at least a defensible position.
Conversely, if someone says to me, “I don’t want to accept refugees into America because we cannot decide who is in need of saving and who is a terrorist”, that is a terrible argument, shortsighted and heartless.
Part of America’s moral imperative is its willingness to be open and accepting. It’s the same spirit that founded the country and further helped it grow. Were there Nazi provocateurs accepted during World War II? Were there communist subversives during the cold war? Did we close the country since 9/11?
America’s strength is that its communal belief in freedom has always far outstripped its fear. I can only hope, during these awful times, we once again show the moral strength and compassion that makes this country the greatest in the world.