by Katie Webb
- Refugees are tenacious as hell. Seriously, what kind of persistence does it take to walk hundreds of miles with kids in tow to get to a border crossing while dodging bombs along the way because your own government is trying to kill you? I hear people complaining about a trip to WalMart with a two year old and these people are traversing miles of blown out cities, stepping over dead bodies and finding meals for their kids all the way. We want our big macs hot, fast and in under 3 minutes. Refugees know how to wait. They encounter obstacles and overcome them. They are NOT quitters!!
- They are trying to improve their lives. They look around and see piles of rubble where homes, stores and workplaces were the day before. Their own government bombed them with barrel bombs and they had no warning. Instead of (or probably after) sitting down to cry, they get back up, grab what is left of their belongings and head to some place better. We do this when we realize that the factory closed and our job is gone forever. We mourn and then we get back up, we pack our UHaul and go to where a new job and new life awaits. They seek to make things better.
- They love their families. No one gets left behind. Pregnant women are supported by stronger people so they can keep walking. Toddlers are carried most of the way. Infants are treasured and handed over fences and loaded off the boats first. Even if the parents can’t make it they want their kids safe. We say “Women and children first.” and bigger people protect smaller people. We value family above all else. We give married people tax breaks and car insurance cuts. We have paid maternity leave and say “Blood is thicker than water.” Loyalty to family is unquestionable.
- They hate war. They’ve lived it. They know what it is to be scared of the next shelling that may take out a neighbor’s home or it might take out yours. When their children were at school they would wonder if the kiddoes were coming home that day. They would never flippantly suggest that anyone should start a war or kill another person. They’ve been the people that had nothing and needed help. We support the troops but not the government’s war. We help our neighbor when they are sick; we mow their lawn or bring them soup. Humans have to take care of each other when we are in need. A refugee can empathise about loss better than almost anyone. They know what compassion is.
- They fit in with us. They are not quitters, they want to make things better, they love their families, they are compassionate and they immigrated. They travelled for a chance at a better life, just like our ancestors. Sometimes they had to wait a long time to come over. Like our great, great grandparents. They travel in leaky boats through dangerous waters just like our first settlers. They arrive on shore cold, hungry and tired, just like the Europeans that first came over. Welcoming refugees is what America was built on. There is no reason to stop. Now, more than ever, is the perfect time.