Lance Scranton: Pondering the refugee crisis
It’s difficult to look around the world and not think that it is changing radically. There are very real issues of human suffering and border security not just in the United States but also in Europe where countries are being literally overwhelmed by political and economic refugees. Most are escaping ISIS and the tsunami of radicalization that is taking place in the Middle East, Syria and Northern Africa.
But what does this have to do with the small-town living that we are used to here on the Western Slope? If you think a changing world isn’t going to affect us — even in Craig — then you should think again! Our national economy is already overwhelmed by an increasing and unsustainable debt. Our local economy is constantly attacked by organizations unfriendly to coal-powered energy. Our school district has been faced with a budget shortfall for a number of years, made sustainable only by tapping into reserve funds. We are a microcosm of what goes on nationally and the world refugee crisis is no different.
People yearn to be free and to have the opportunity to make their own way using their talents and abilities to make a decent living and take care of their families. I’m certain that spread among the refugee numbers are planted terrorist operatives and it scares me to death. But, since when is being scared an excuse to not take action and help those who are suffering persecution and struggling just to survive?
America is built on the strong, encouraging words of countless citizens who, regardless of fear, offer up the United States as a light of hope in a world whose light seems pretty dim these days. We have problems for certain, we must be careful to protect our citizens, we should be securing our border, we must reorient ourselves to the notion that laws and rules mean something, and we can’t maintain a habit of thinking we’re protected because of where we live.
Considering all of these important issues facing our country and world, I hope we are looked upon as a nation of people who helped as much as they could, responded where it made sense to do so, carried the light of hope to a world that is in need and saw fit to help stem the tide of terrorism and violence by our example and deed. It is our calling, our responsibility, our duty, as free people to pray, to support, to offer, to assist, to nurture and to live out the great responsibility we have as a nation because of the greater privileges we enjoy. I’m proud of what Craig stands for and I hope we can stand for others wherever the opportunity might arise.
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