06 December, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson Uses San Bernardino Tragedy To Showcase His Ignorance

Photo of Ben Carson by Gage Skidmore
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, Ben Carson, M.D., who currently is most well-known for his bid to become the GOP's nomination in the 2016 presidential election, published a statement on Facebook espousing the very worst of this nation: calling for Syrian refugees to be rejected by these greatest and most United States of America.

In support of his call to abandon the plight of Syrian refugees, who are facing what perhaps are some of the worst atrocities we have seen in this 21st century, Dr. Carson summons fear to the forefront of his argument. In addition to using fear, he uses the tragedy of the December 2nd terror attack in San Bernardino to bolster support:
Today we learned that the female shooting suspect in California was apparently approved for a Visa from the Department of Homeland Security -- using a fake address on her application. If this does not cause an immediate stop to the President's Syrian Refugee Program, I am not sure what will. The fact is that ISIS has promised to try and infiltrate our country by attempting to disguise their members as refugees. This shooting not only confirms that ISIS's mission has been brought to our shore, but also confirms my greatest fear -- they have been able to get a radicalized Islamic terrorist through our vetting system. (emphasis supplied)
Dr. Carson offers no support for his claim about ISIS's promise to infiltrate our country by disguising members as refugees. Moreover, he doesn't mention the national origin of the shooter (who were from Pakistan and not Syria). Instead, he relies solely and exclusively on our deepest fears (that of losing our lives) to promote his argument. In doing so, he fails to realize that he hands victory over to the terrorists. Indeed, even he admits that his statement is based on his greatest fear:

Dr. Ben Carson Facebook post on 6 Dec 2015
No matter how much vetting is done, people will always get through or slip by. No matter how good a security system is, there will always be a workaround or a back door in. No matter how valiant our efforts to provide security to our nation, it is inevitable that failures will take place (although we can and should do as much as possible to place the greatest amount of time and distance between each failure as possible).

Is the solution then to close off our borders and live as Xenophobes--as Dr. Carson suggests? I think not! Rather, I believe that the solution to the refugee crisis -- and by extension the solution to terrorism -- is to do just the opposite: that is, we must carry the torch of freedom and make it clear that there is no act and there is no thing that will diminish us as a nation or as a people.

There is no act and there is no thing that will diminish our resolve for an egalitarian society. There is no act and there is no thing that will change who we are or cause us to surrender our democratic society. There is no act and there is no thing that will cause us to give up a single one of our myriad freedoms.

Poll published in The Washington Post
IMHO, the very best response we can offer to those who attempt to instill fear into us by committing atrocious acts of terror -- especially when such acts are attempts to terrorize a population for its values -- is to tirelessly and relentlessly espouse those values ever louder, ever clearer, and with ever-increasing resolve.

We will not succumb to the fears and ignorance of prejudice. We will not close off our borders. We will not abandon those who are most in need of assistance lying in the dirt. We will not allow the hollow words of hate to resonate in our halls.

Instead, we will come together as a nation and join with true leaders like Bernie Sanders and shut the door on racism, prejudice, fear, ignorance, and hatred once and for all!!!

We will show those who seek to terrorize us and end our free and democratic way of life that their feeble attempts will only serve to increase our resolve to maintain a free and democratic society that values each individual in it and holds dear the conviction that everyone has equality of rights and equality of opportunity to live their lives as they want. We will continue to live our lives as we have, and we will go on, terrorists be damned!