As terrorism explodes worldwide, we’re rightly nervous about protecting our own. And at this writing, two dozen state governors have demanded a moratorium on admitting additional Syrians, on the heels of daily cascading threats and pronouncements in the media. At the same time, the very principles this country has fostered are being weighed against an unexpected wave of paranoia.
On one side are those who advocate closing our borders; the other, a cry for fairness and compassion. Are we headed towards a closed society while the rest of the first world builds camps for millions of displaced people, regardless of their belief? How do we keep our families safe and retain our world leadership simultaneously?
The candidates are polarized. With calls for European and NATO unity, there appears to be an emerging multinational unity, capable of defeating and containing a rogue state that has seemingly declared jihad across the planet.
How will our ideals fare when charity is pushed to the breaking point? Does our history of war-time internment and prejudice in the name of safety portend a shift towards a new level of intolerance in the name of national security? For the candidates, it’s likely these issues will overwhelm the fiscal debates, at least in the short run. And that sharp pronouncements on foreign and immigration policy may play a major role in their political survival.