We're 'freaking out' for Christmas 2015
by Barbara Anderson

The Eagle-Tribune News
Sunday, December 20, 2015


We have reached the time of the year when I used to say "Happy holidays" to people I didn't know, just in case they weren't Christian, but now I say "Merry Christmas" to everyone even if I know they are atheist, or Jewish, or, especially, if their religion would require them to be offended.

Hey, Mr. Scrooge and Tiny Tim: Tell those you meet on Christmas morn, "We must banish the Spirit of Political Correctness!"

So Merry Christmas, reader. I have a gift for you, the funniest thing I have ever seen , that I hope will make you laugh as it did me.

You know that the Obama administration wants to bring Syrian refugees into the country and has promised to thoroughly vet them. So, what questions do applicants have to answer?

According to various news outlets, the application paperwork includes questions about terrorist activity, such as, "Do you seek to engage in terrorist activity while in the United States, or have you ever engaged in terrorist activity?" and "Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?"

Seriously. We have descended from serious news, to satire on ourselves, to the level of comic books. And, not so funny, a senior State Department official told CNN on Wednesday that the woman who killed Americans in San Bernardino was not asked about jihadist leanings during her interview in Pakistan last year. However, she posted about them on Facebook, which Homeland Security didn't think it should check.

One other thing that inspired this column was a segment on WGBH's "Beat the Press" last Friday, when panelists were trying to understand why Americans are "freaking out" this year. Trying to be helpful as always, I sent an email, "People are 'freaked out' because they have finally realized that our president, the community organizer, is way in over his head relative to international issues and, therefore, American public safety; add to this top-down incompetence the latest assault on the police in general, and who would feel their family is safe?"

The whole happy holiday (Merry Christmas) truth is, though, that most of us are not "freaking out." Watching the Thanksgiving Day Macy's parade in New York, I saw the usual floats, giant balloons, crowds packed into streets as they were during the Boston Marathon bombing, and yet people cheering, laughing, holding their kids high to see the marching bands. We are shopping in stores, not just online: we are planning to fly or take a train. I think we are also aware that some public safety people in our government have been doing their job since 9/11, or there would have been many more attacks on American soil by now.

Most of us have always known that life is dangerous, that so much can go wrong, and yet we are resilient. Many of us enjoy our lives, which is one reason the terrorists hate us; they have nothing to enjoy but their plans to establish some caliphate thing, which I can't understand because this is, after all, the 21st century, not the 7th, and we live in a country with a Constitution that includes a First Amendment that lets us all to worship, or not, as we please. Merry Christmas!

On the presidential candidate front, I have a new issue inspired by Donald Trump attacking Ted Cruz in Iowa for not supporting ethanol subsidies, to use land to grow corn that runs cars instead of feeding people, many of them poor. Ethanol fuel: one of the dumbest ideas our policy-makers have had in a world of dumb ideas. So bravo to Cruz for not pandering to Iowa, and shame on Trump. I am going to "vet" some more candidates on this issue before I decide.


But this does not detract from my interest in the question of the day: Are Trump and his supporters "deranged, xenophobic, un-American racists" for wanting to keep all Muslims from coming into the U.S. until we have a better understanding of what is going on? Of course, as usual, Trump didn't think it through, relative to Muslim NATO allies like the Turks, and some heads of state and, I suppose, some innocent refugees who can honestly answer no to the above silly questions and are properly vetted, somehow.

But our president lectures us, "This is not who we are" and it made me think, who are we now, exactly? Making me ask, what if we broadened the issue to say, le's have a hold on all immigration to the United States until we have a serious discussion about the immigration policy that our own ancestors used to settle in a country that I for one barely recognize from that of my own youth (which is one reason some of us might be "freaking out" toward the end of the Obama Administration).

A few years ago, I started but never finished a 2008 book by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, "The New Case Against Immigration, both Legal and Illegal." It seemed over the top at the time, when I was still happy to see legal immigrants coming from Mexico, which I loved as an exchange student, or my beloved Greece, where I lived from 1969-71, and of course from my grandparents' countries of origin, Croatia, Ireland, Germany. Wasn't giving much thought to Middle East immigration then.

But now I am getting Krikorian's message, which has nothing to do with hopeful immigrants and everything to do with us, with we who are already here, voting, making big mistakes when we do. I'll just give you this from the book's flyleaf:

"Before the upheavals of the 1960s, the United States expected immigrants from around the world to earn a living, learn English, and become patriotic Americans. But since the rise of identity politics, political correctness, and Great Society programs, we no longer make these demands. Even the positive changes of the last few decades, such as the Internet and cheap international phone service, hinder the assimilation of immigrants by making it easier for them to lead 'transnational lives.' Although mass immigration once served our national interests, in today's America it threatens to destroy our common national identity, limit opportunities for upward mobility, strain resources for social programs, and disrupt middle-class norms of behavior."

Something to think about as we trim the tree and, hey, this book might make a useful gift under it this year! Merry Christmas.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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