1.) Cowardice is allowing fear to make you drop your highest principles. Bravery is seeing the fear and moving forward anyway because it’s the right thing to do. We are not a nation of cowards.
2.) Shutting out Syrian refugees is EXACTLY what Daesh wants us to do. I’m not just theorizing that — that comes from a Frenchman who was a hostage of Daesh for nearly a year .
A terrorist organization works like a pyramid scheme — you have to keep drawing in recruits to keep it going, especially if they’re suicide bombers. Daesh cannot draw in and keep new recruits unless they can paint us as inhuman monsters. The United States shutting out innocent Syrian refugees would be a win/win for them. They can paint us as bigots who hate and fear any Muslim, and thus an enemy that must be destroyed. They can also point to the heartlessness of sending people who have already been tortured away to starve and die. Not to mention the fact that the refugees are running from Daesh because they’re already being persecuted. Daesh would love to see them suffer more.
When we give in to terror, we by definition are playing right into the terrorists’ hands. We do live in dangerous times. But I’d rather be brave at a risk — less risk than we have faced from home-grown white supremacists over the last 15 years — than pretend we’re perfectly safe because we pulled a bigoted, chickenshit move and shut out all the brown Muslims. The French, who have had two major, horrific attacks in a year, are still strong enough to let in refugees. Are they really that much braver than we are?
If we really want Daesh to stop pulling in new recruits, we have to be at our most courageous, most compassionate best. That means enjoying life in ways they hate and showing the world that we know the fight is against scumballs, not Muslims.
There’s nothing wrong with being angry and afraid, but let’s not be so angry and fearful that we do exactly what the terrorists want.