Opinion Outpost Nov. 24

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Thanksgiving

I am thankful, in this year of all years, to live here in America. As it continues to be a beacon of hope around the world, the America I know marches forward and is fulfilling — sometimes in fits and starts — its great promise and the dreams of its inhabitants.

… I am thankful that when the forces of fear and oppression rear up and seek to deny the humanity of others, the rights of the powerless, or the participation of the marginalized, our basic freedoms permit us here to speak out, to educate, and to resist these forces.

—  George Takei
Fox News

 

Not only does gratitude appear to be incongruous with the turmoil of today, but it also seems to serve as a force of stasis and inaction when urgency and exertion are most in need. A system must stop being appreciated in order to create meaningful change and improvement. Progress is the mobilization of collective dissatisfaction. As our social and political institutions continue to grapple with the same habitual problems with few gains to be made, we must ask to whom we should be grateful, and for what and why?

Yet despite the pressing issues that never seem to vanish, we believe in the importance of recognizing and appreciating all that makes us strive to overcome them. Though it is easy to forget our luck in moments of pain and injustice, it remains important to retain the capacity for thankfulness while suffering.

— Editorial Board
The Brown Daily Herald

 

So this Thanksgiving go grab a bite to eat. Not only with your relatives who show up annually in sweaters for small talk and tryptophan-induced naps on your couch. Those meals may well require a sacrificial attitude on your part, but they are the obligatory, expected meals of Thanksgiving. The true spirit of Thanksgiving may be better captured the week after the holiday when you grab lunch with that Tea Party separatist neighbor or your Bernie Sanders following office‑mate on a pilgrimage to who knows where. We need a few more Squanto’s, learning other’s languages, planting seeds, being patient, feeding people. Even if you feel like the last survivor of your people, those type of meals may well save you. They may save others. They may save us all.

— Mark Moore
CNN


Syrian refugees

Remember what a Syrian immigrant looks like — the father of Steve Jobs.

Thank goodness that when my father came to America as a refugee from Eastern Europe in 1952, politicians weren’t fearmongering. My dad sailed to New York, bought a copy of the Sunday New York Times to teach himself English, and took the train across the country to a welcoming Oregon.

When Indiana today shuns desperate refugees, it is shunning people like my family.

—Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times

 

So far, half of the Syrian refugees accepted into the United States, officials say, have been children, and another quarter are over 60 years old. Roughly half are female, and many of those applying from abroad are multigenerational families, often with the primary breadwinner missing. About 2 percent are single males of combat age.

Given these facts, it is fair to say that the people who will be denied resettlement … would be the victims of war, people who have been tortured and threatened by the same jihadists the United States now battles. They are families, they are old people and they are children, who might be given a chance for an education and a future.

— Editorial Board
The New York Times
… Exporting Syria’s population to foreign lands and forcing them to assimilate into American society is not the best answer for either America or the future of Syria. One idea would be to establish safe zones in Syria where the Syrian people can stay in their own nation, safe from the violence of this conflict, and not make the harrowing trek to foreign lands. We can and must protect Syrians at home, where they will be able to re-establish that state once ISIS has been defeated.

— Matt Salmon
The Washington Post

 

If we face danger from a future terrorist attack on our country, it is likely to come not from the suburbs of Beirut but from the suburbs of Brussels. The determination of governors to shield their residents from the hypothetical threat from Syrian refugees would be better directed to impressing upon their congressional delegations the need to appropriate more money for the screening of visitors to America from countries that most closely resemble us in democratic values but who have proved to be an all too comfortable a haven for those whose malicious intentions threaten us all.

— Ross K. Baker
USA Today

Ultimately, giving Syrians more of a long-term future in Turkey would persuade many of them to remain there until it’s safe to go home. And lifting restrictions on where Syrians in Jordan and Lebanon may work and learn, coupled with the provision of cash transfers, would make a boat trip to Europe less necessary, as well.

— Neil Boothby
and Lindsay Stark
CNN

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