If All Lives Matter, We Need to Start Taking in Refugees

“All Lives Matter.” Surely you’re familiar with that retort designed to shut down Black Lives Matter activists. Alas, the argument that all people are worthy of protection would seem a lot more believable right now if many of the same people who use that expression weren’t asking their government officials to keep Syrian refugees from entering the United States.

Do Syrian lives not matter? That’s the takeaway from governors and their constituents trying to block refugee immigration. When other countries close their borders to refugees attempting to flee from enemy combatants, they could very well be condemning them to death.

To put things in perspective, for the past four years, more people were killed in Syria every day than died in the terrorist attack on Paris this past Friday. What happened in Paris is devastating, and if a massacre of that size were to occur on a daily basis in the city, I doubt Americans would blame the French for leaving their country to escape this danger. Unfortunately, the same understanding is not being offered to Syrians in a similar predicament.

Right now, Westerners are attempting to keep out hundreds of thousands of peaceful refugees out of the fear that a few nefarious infiltrators will sneak in and commit violence in their new countries. That mentality doesn’t say, “All lives matter.” It says, “A minuscule threat to my life matters more than a concrete threat to your life.”

“All Lives Matter” is not the only irritating catchphrase to be called into question in light of the situation in Syria. The “Not All Men” mantra that emerged in 2014 in response to #YesAllWomen, an online campaign that points out how all women face sexual harassment, now seems extra ridiculous.

Men, particularly those with a distaste for feminist thinking, were quick to say that not all men behave poorly with women and it is horribly unfair to paint a group of people with such a broad stroke. A comparable “Not All Cops” slogan was coined this year to oppose police brutality protests since not all members of law enforcement are violent and racist.

Good luck finding too many #NotAllMen and #NotAllCops chanters willing to use the phrase “Not All Muslims.” Currently, a large segment of the Western world seems content to label all Muslims as terrorists, despite Islam being a religion that professes peace. After all, it’s easier to ban them all then to try to sort out the good from the bad, right?

Right-wing America’s hypocritical prejudices toward refugees are numerous. There are those who are willfully heartless toward refugees in order to prevent potential terror attacks, all the while ignoring that America averages a mass shooting every day. This conservative sect is the same one that will make no concessions when it comes to gun rights; apparently, violence is only worth fearing if it comes at the hands of a non-citizen.

Then there are the conservatives on social media saying we should use no resources to take in refugees when we have so many homeless families in need of help already in America. What looks like at least a somewhat compassionate stance doesn’t pass muster when you remember that Republican politicians continue to vote to defund social services and deride the poor as moochers looking for handouts. Show me a deal where not taking in Syrian refugees in any way helps the poor in America and maybe I’ll understand this argument.

Refugees’ lives matter. Just don’t expect the “All Lives Matter” crowd to agree.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

267 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

Since at least 1 of the Paris attackers had come into France as a refugee, our government needs to do everything it can to make sure that doesn't happen to us. The government's first responsibility is to keep us safe.

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Sen Heijkamp
Sayenne H3 years ago

I never understood the phrase right. I was thinking All live matter meant that the people agreeing on it think all live matters. My bad. But its quite deceptive I'd say.

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Nancy Black
Nancy Black3 years ago

Even with liberals, fear interferes with reason.

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Heidi W.
Heidi W3 years ago

Mike: you give a good description of how to get in to the USA as a refugee. Let me give the description to get into Europe. They enter, and then we can start your steps 1 to 20. See the difference?

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Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly3 years ago

Terrorists enter the U.S. on tourist visas, not as refugees as the whiny-ass right wing would have you believe.

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