In what is reported to be the largest demonstration in Polish history, 170,000 Poles rallied against the “Islamization of Europe.” (source) (the source is somewhat suspect though). I don’t need to provide sources to show that there are similar sentiments in the United States.
I am both in support of this xenophobia and against it.
When it comes to the United States and Canada, I believe there is no room for such xenophobia. We are immigrant nations, and if we are “overwhelmed” with a flood of these strange people, with strange customs, and strange languages, and strange beliefs, so what? It was not so long ago that the Anglo-Saxon “Americans” felt this way about Italians. (source) The President of the United States felt this way about Italian Americans:
“The Italians. We musn’t forget the Italians. Must do something for them. They’re not like us. Difference is, they smell different, look different, act different. After all, you can’t blame them…trouble is, you can’t find one that’s honest.”
That was Richard Nixon, speaking in 1974. Today, The Daygo is trustworthy enough that he holds a grip on two of the nine supreme court seats. In 40 years, maybe we’ll have a Syrian on the Supreme Court.
This is what America is — it is a place that should welcome immigrants. To the extent that those immigrants change the character of the nation, so be it. We are an evolutionary society, and if one day there are muezzins calling the faithful to prayer, in Spanish, to a black-skinned majority, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might not be the America I would choose for our future, but this is America. You sit on the roller coaster, and it brings you were it will.
On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with European nations being xenophobic. In fact, I think Europe should slam down the fences and tell the refugees to go the other way. For those who would call for “diversity,” as some kind of sacred mission, this should resonate. Do we really want a Europe that no longer has a distinctive “France,” “Netherlands,” “Italy,” or “Sweden?” I don’t. When you consider that there have been efforts to deny both Italy and Poland their nationhood and self-determination, I can see a dose of right-wing xenophobia as a healthy thing.
Finally, it isn’t as if there is nowhere else for them to go. As mentioned above, America should open her arms to immigrants. But, what about other middle eastern countries, like the super-rich Gulf States? They. Give. No. Shits. In fact, a Kuwaiti official reportedly said that they didn’t fit in there.
Now I realize that there is a difference between a Syrian and a Kuwaiti. But, at the same time, none of the Gulf states consists of borders drawn around “a people.” They are all artificial borders drawn to keep the oil from being in the hands of one ruler. There is no individual heritage, no individual language, no individual culture at risk if all of a sudden, Qatar becomes “overwhelmed” with refugees from a crisis that is partially its damn fault. (Kettle, meet Black, since I’m American, writing this).
It seems to me that the only people who have a right to close the door are the Europeans. Meanwhile, they’re the only ones doing anything. Europe ought to close the gate, and the US and the Gulf should open theirs.