America may be a nation built by and for immigrants but you wouldn’t notice it by the way a large swath of the conservative movement have treated refugees currently fleeing violence and terror in the Middle East. Instead of reaching out to help those who need it most, Republican lawmakers are feverishly drafting up legislation to block any possibility of letting refugees into the country. It’s a shameful display of cowardice, and Fox News host Shep Smith became an unexpected voice of reason by calling it out.
In a move that could quite possibly put his job in jeopardy, Smith unloaded on this immoral reaction to a global crisis by calling out those (even within his own network) who advocate blocking Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq. He posed some questions to his audience:
“In the face of terror, will we panic, or be calm and deliberative in approach? Confronted with those who want to change our way of life, will we abandon our freedoms and the rights granted to us by the Creator? Or will we welcome huddles masses yearning to be free?”
Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch – and Smith’s boss – seems to have already made up his mind. On Twitter he advocated issuing a “religious test” to all refugees to ensure only “proven” Christians could get in.
Obama facing enormous opposition in accepting refugees. Maybe make special exception for proven Christians.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) November 16, 2015
Republican governors and lawmakers have spent the last few days drafting up legislation that will block refugees from coming into the country, many of which also cite the need to make exceptions for Christians.
Smith wasn’t having any of it.
“Our shining city on a hill is vulnerable. We’ve always known that. If we change it to accommodate the savages, have they won? And what then would be left to protect? We profess to stand as an example for all the world. Our unique experiment in freedom, tolerance, openness, and equality is our gift to societies and peoples everywhere. Come, join us. Enjoy a chance at the American dream.
Today, we mourn, but we cannot allow ourselves to become like those who want to destroy us. We cannot resort to the tactics of the barbarians. We must fight for what we believe in and who we are, guard our freedoms faithfully for the generations to follow. And we must not let the rhetoric of potential and political extremists among us lead us to self-destruction. When there’s panic, we show resolve. When there’s calm for extremism, we resist. We are America. We must lead.”
Watch Smith’s heartfelt comments below, via Fox News:
Making matters more tragic, the assumptions that terrorists hiding among Syrian refugees has based on unfounded speculation. The silver bullet conservative pundits point to – a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the Paris attackers – turned out to be a fraud. French investigators now believe it may have been intentionally placed there to “sow confusion” and lead to an anti-Muslim backlash in the West – a win in the propaganda war ISIS is waging. Republicans, in jumping to conclusions, have only made this strategy all the more effective.
It’s easy to be angry and scared during chaotic times, but as Shep Smith rightly pointed out, that’s no excuse to leave morality at the door. In fact, now is the time to re-double our efforts to treat others with compassion and respect. It’s how we can tell ourselves apart from the monsters that plot terror attacks against innocent people. It is likely that in the coming days, Smith will face an intense backlash from his viewers for begging them not to give into their worst natures. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong. In fact, it simply highlights the courage it took for him to speak up.
Feature image: Fox News screenshot