Week 47: Hero – Barack Obama

by Jackie_South on November 22, 2015

US_HeroThis week, the US president wins our award for acting as the greatest hero of the last seven days

Not for the first time (the thirteenth in fact, although he has also picked up a couple of our weekly prat awards as well along the way), President Barack Obama has won our weekly award for being our hero.

This time, he wins through standing up to the array of state governors who are refusing to take Syrian refugees. He has rightly condemned their reaction as hysterical and that it would play into the hands of the likes of ISIS. Whilst touring the Philippines this week, he was unequivocal: “It has to stop”.

But he went on to mock the twenty-six governors that have declared that they won’t accept refugees from Syria (another five are saying that they won’t take any without further enhancements to screening procedures): “Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America.”

As you might expect, every one of the twenty-six states has a Republican governor. Of the five setting preconditions, four are Republican led (New Hampshire is the sole Democrat-run state doing this). In contrast, 18 states have declared that they will welcome refugees (sixteen have Democrat governors, well done to Utah and Alaska who don’t but are still putting out the welcome mat).

The 31 states putting up some sort of resistance ignore that half of the Syrian refugees taken by the USA to date are children and a quarter are over 65. There is also already effectively a four-year screening process: the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office has a two-year assessment process which is followed by another two-years of American procedures.

So well done Mr President for saying it as it is: “The US does not make good decisions “based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks”. Spot on.

***

Postscript: the term of office of one of those 26 Republican governors, Bobby Jindal, comes to an end in January. Despite all this anti-refugee hysteria, Louisiana decided yesterday to replace him with a Democrat, John Bel Edwards. Louisiana is a state where every statewide election since 2008 has gone to the Republicans until now, so let’s tip our hats to the rediscovered good sense of the citizens of the Pelican State.

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