The Syrian Crisis


You are living in a tent. You have just enough food and water to keep you and your family members alive. Around you, people are dying every day because they don’t have access to medicine or physicians. Your living conditions are cramped, even shoulder to shoulder at times. Privacy is something accessible only in your most peaceful dreams, but lately your troubled mind has dreamt solely of the hardships of your family and friends. Will they be safe? Will they survive the coming winter? You stay because the alternative is unthinkable- death, or worse. For years now, you have lived like this. You are a Syrian refugee and this is desperation.

Since the start of Syria’s violent civil war in 2011, the United States has accepted barely more than two thousand of the nearly four million Syrians living in refugee camps (even more haven’t made it to the camps or are struggling in homes and barns with no electricity or running water) in the Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon areas. More than half of those refugees are under the age of eighteen, in other words, children. Malnourishment, and serious medical conditions are predominant among those too young to properly take care of themselves and the displaced Syrian youth are at constant risk of becoming gravely ill because they do not have access to appropriate medical care or a steady diet. Winter is quickly approaching, adding yet another threat to the lives of refugees and their families but still we approach this issue with incredible trepidation and apathy.

My opposition believes that if we simply ignore these broken people or turn them away and send them home, somebody else will solve the problem. The United States that I know has never been a meek and fearful country, unwilling to provide assistance for those who need it. We have been proud leaders and fought bravely and vocally for causes we believed to be just and true, yet for years we have let Syrian mothers and their children languish in unfathomable conditions.

Misinformation largely accounts for the hesitation we feel in helping Syrian refugees. Mr. Trump, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Fiorina have all individually claimed that we, as a nation, will be accepting one hundred thousand or more of these desperate individuals, when in fact this is not true. American law dictates that our administration can only accept ten thousand Syrians in the 2016 fiscal year and no more. Even if we accepted the given maximum amount allowed, it would even then be little more than a symbolic gesture compared to the likes of Germany, who has accepted hundreds of thousands over the last few months or even Canada, who plans to accept twenty five thousand over the next year.

Mr. Trump and others have also claimed that many of the displaced Syrians are males of fighting age although this too is untrue. As of yet, a mere two percent of the Syrian refugees allowed into the United States have been single males of fighting age (the rest are families, mostly comprised of women and children) and this trend is very likely to continue, especially after weighing potential risk factors.

Republican fear tactics and a Democratic unwillingness to confront them has kept much of our population in the dark about many important factors of our foreign policy concerning the current Syrian crisis. The fact is, our great nations vetting process is among the most thorough in the world. We have very little reason to fear the women and children that will be placed throughout the nation and I, for one, will be ashamed if they continue to be left behind. I am American and I believe in assisting those in need while continuing to stand strong against any potential threats. I believe that both of our current parties have drifted from that belief and that is why I run as an independent. Voting for Art Drew is voting for strength and compassion. Not one or the other.