If the United States is going to roll up the welcome map and douse the torch in the Statue of Liberty, someone will have to pick up the slack. That someone is Canada.
Cheering Canadians and newly elected Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were on hand earlier this month when the first planeload of Syrian refugees arrived in Toronto. The front page of the Toronto Star offered a welcome in English and Arabic and an editorial about how Canadians know what the refugees have gone through to get to their nation. Canada anticipates taking in 25,000 refugees by February.
At one time, that would have been us, as in US, but no more. Today, Republican politicians in Washington and statehouses are hamstringing President Obama's plan to take in Syrian refugees. Republican presidential candidates are smearing Muslims and arguing for a closing of our borders to them, actions that are nothing less than un-American.
The refugees coming in to Canada are first vetted by the United Nation's refugee agency, then by Canadian immigration and security officials. Women and children, the elderly and families are given priority, with unaccompanied young men well down the entry list. This is no different than the policy articulated by the White House.
Yet while Canada welcomes refugees, America hides under its bed, shotgun at the ready in case a Syrian mom, dad and kids move into the neighborhood. Don't blame Donald Trump, Ben Carson et al, as they are just the symptoms, not the problem. The problem is a United States that, counter to its proud, welcoming history, has become prejudiced, fearful and mean-spirited. It's embarrassing and shameful.