Appearing at an annual conference in Birmingham, Alabama, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spoke out strongly against the anti-refugee stance taken by many members of the GOP. One of them, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, was even in the audience when she did so.
As Bentley sat just a few feet away, Rice said:
“I fundamentally understand that you in a position of authority, like you governor and others, in addition to having compassion for others you have to be safety conscious for your people. Generally under those circumstances we have been able to manage the flow but that has been 75,000 people a year at its height. But now we are facing hundreds of thousands.”
Rice also seemed to be trying to remind Governor Bentley and his cohorts in the Republican Party of American values and what they represent:
“What the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us.”
And what of Republicans who have advocated putting Syrian refugees in camps, similar to what was done to Japanese-Americans during the Second World War? Rice addressed that, too:
“I think we are going to have to vet very carefully. We will have to relocate people instead of keeping them in camps which turns out to be a disaster.”
What exactly do most of these refugees want? To live in peace and security, the same as all of us. And we should not forget the lessons of history: During the height of World War II, American bigots vehemently opposed allowing Jewish refugees into the United States. Think of how many innocent men, women, and children could have been saved from the gas chambers had we allowed them into our country.
If we are truly the greatest, freest nation in the world, then we must stand for our principles at all times. Even when we are at war. Even when we may be afraid.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.