Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fear is easy; action is difficult


    Man, finding a place for Syrian immigrants to live is hard.
    A lot of readers challenged me last week with versions of Ken Racine's, "Too bad the 'refugees' won't be put in Northbrook," or sneeringly asking how I would feel if they were, to which I replied with some version of,
 "Great, I would feel great, a whole lot better than if I found myself living next to you.
     Looking up from these conversations, I  would gaze through the window of my home office. At the lovely, vaguely Dutch brick house kitty corner across First Street. Which is for rent. 
     Yes, it backs up against the train tracks. And yes, the basement floods with sewage —I've seen various residents drying their belongings. But it's got to be better than a tent city in Croatia. And Gov. Rauner's wishes to the contrary, this is still the United States of America, right? Once somebody gets into the country, they can live wherever they please. 
    Why not, I thought, smiling, invite some refugees to live here?  Why not put them up in the big honking house across the street?
    First I had to get through to the realtor and find out the particulars, the rent and such. The cheery red, white and blue RE/MAX sign had a name and two phone numbers.     
     I phone the top number. "Hold please," says a women. After a few minutes, I figure, "Try the cell.'" That immediately dumps to a message: the mailbox is full. 
    It'll take persistence to solve the refugee crisis. A third call to RE/MAX. "Hold please." A few more minutes. I ask for the realtor on the sign. And get transferred to the cell phone number that isn't taking messages.
   I take a break from phoning and entertain myself by reading more emails.
     "Do you understand how horrific these people are ??" writes Paul Vitaioli , a retired cop, referring, I think, not to real estate professionals, but to refugees. "You feel safe where you live? Do you have a family and young children? Or grandchildren?"

     He guesses my beliefs that America is a bastion of freedom which has always attracted the downtrodden of the world will crumble at a touch, like his.
    "Sit behind your comfortable desk and write about it," he scoffs. "When terror strikes the Midwest, then tell me your thoughts.... "

    "When terror strikes..."? I'd say terror is already here, inspiring a big old American panic. Odd; usually our panics are sexual. At least we're shaking it up, with good old fashioned fear for our safety. I've never heard from so many terrified Americans as I have in the past week. Begging the feds to tap our phones, read our emails, toss any freedom out the window if it dials back their fear.  And for God's sake, close the borders, keep the menace out, at least until some imaginary vetting process where the soul of each would-be immigrant is x-rayed by the FBI and certified 100 percent pure, like beef. A version of the first-we-secure-the-border gambit already so popular when discussing immigration, the Republican half clever strategy of demanding something impossible as a precondition for doing what is absolutely necessary. 
     Okay, enough of that. Back into the fray. Fourth time, I think, is the charm. I phone RE/MAX, don't ask for the realtor, Instead say I'm interested in renting the property on First Street. The whiff of business will snap them to action. I'll mention the Syrian refugees later. She puts me on hold, tries the number, confirms it isn't working.
     "His phone is shut off," she says. "He doesn't have a voice mail."
     And I bet this guy wonders why business is slow.
    Eventually, I convince the receptionist at RE/MAX to take my name and number — she's obviously reluctant, as if she knows nothing will come of it, which, indeed, nothing does. 
     Okay, there are other rental properties in Northbrook. Now what? The next step — probably what I should have started with all along — would be to contact whatever placement agency handles these refugee placements and see what their needs are. I can't be the only person who wants to help desperate refugees instead of throwing stumbling blocks in front of them. Then I'll be closer to finding out whether I was right guessing that any random refugee family would make a better neighbor than someone culled from the terrified herd of false Americans who have been bleating with self-concern all week. 
     I plug "Agency dealing with Syrian refugees Chicago" into Google and up pops something called RefugeeOne. So I phone them. And email. On Thursday. And again on Friday.
     Nothing. Hmmm. They're probably very busy ... ah ... helping people. I'll return to the battle on Monday, and keep you posted as to what, if anything, results. Fear is too easy, and doing anything constructive is hard. Maybe too hard.




32 comments:

  1. Neil:
    A schande fur de goyim!
    You are having a serious attack of Jewish guilt!
    Because the Christians in the West refused to save the Jews of the Holocaust, you have the idea that it's the Jews of the West that must save the Syrian Muslims, starting with you.
    They're the same thing to you, but they're not really the same thing.
    There are a hell of a lot BBC reporters in the various refugee camps & in the ports of Europe. See if you can get a hold of some of those BBC employees to ask a very simple question: What do you [the Muslim refugees] think of Jews?
    Not Israelis or Israeli Jews, but Jews in general?
    You're going to get nothing but hate out of them, hate that's been taught to them since infancy & hate that's never, ever going away!
    We don't need that here, we have enough problems.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My wife brought up that same point, to which I answered: I try to treat other people according to my value system, not theirs. And believe me, they aren't the only people who grew up marinated in hate for Jews.

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    2. Mr. Snuffleupagus is interviewing Trump, who wants to monitor mosques, re-instate tortures like water boarding, and not let these refugees enter our country. So I come here for relief from insanity, and find Clark St. is skeptical of this worthy project. Even if the Syrian immigrant family moving in happens to be racist, I bet Neil and his family's good nature will convince them otherwise. In fact I'll bet Clark St. a dollar to a donut, there will be a positive outcome from this endeavor.

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    3. I think Clark St is wrong. No doubt some of those refugees hate jews, but they probably don't know any. Minds can be changed. If you don't think so go read the New Yorker profile on Megan Phelps Roper

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    4. Sanford, you're a fool!
      No one in Syria or Iraq knows any Jews.
      There are maybe 20 Jews in Syria, all in Damascus & zero Jews in Iraq.
      But every single muslim in Syria & Iraq hates Jews & wants every Jew on Earth dead!

      As for the Phelps family, half of them have left that loony bin of hate. But they had a life living among people they hated & saw they weren't devils.
      Again, at your absolute best, you're a fool!

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    5. Clark, after making statements purporting to know what "every single muslim in Syria & Iraq" believes or doesn't believe, I'd be careful about calling anyone else a fool.

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  2. The owner of the home should know that a sump pump would eliminate most of those basement flooding problems. And that certainly is a very unprofessional realtor.

    Clark, interesting point. Presumably those are Yiddish words on the top. May I ask if you are Jewish?

    AG

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    Replies
    1. A shande is an embarrassment. Shande fur de goyim means, basically, "an embarrassment in front of the Gentiles."

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    2. Having lived in this neighborhood a long time I know about Northbrook's sewer backup problems all too well. I wish a sump pump (or 2 or 3) would fix it, but they're no match when up against an entire village's sewers flowing in the wrong direction. An expensive (low 5 figure) overhead sewer conversion has been working for me so far, but the more of us who do it make things worse for our neighbors who haven't. That water has to go somewhere!

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    3. Anon 9:47 AM,
      You are right, the device that needs to be installed is called a check-valve. Sump pumps are no use in this situation. Depending on your plumbing setup, it can cost as low as mid 4 figures.

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    4. You'd think such a fancy suburb with high property taxes would have a decent sewer system. The residents should be screaming and picketing at the village hall and to the local mayor or village president.

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  3. When would that style of house have been built, NS? 1910 or so?

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  4. It was not long ago that everyone was afraid of Ebola. Nothing changes, it's just something else to cause a panic.
    Barbara Palmer

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  5. Keep at it -- this is getting even more interesting.

    John

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  6. I don't know what's with ReMax, but I bet RefugeeOne is tied up fielding calls from people that want to hurt rather than help.

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  7. Lovin' this. Keep it up, Neil.

    Doug D.

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  8. One of my hobbies is genealogy, and a good place to find information about your ancestors is the LDS website, Family Search. Click on search-records and enter the information for an ancestor who immigrated to this country. You may find in the list of documents the naturalization papers. If so, note the two sponsors who vouched for their character, usually neighbors, co-workers, friends, or relatives. I think Neil has come up with a great way to pass it forward.

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    Replies
    1. Bernie, That is a great search site and one doesn't have to pay.

      Thanks

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  9. I asked this a few days ago... Stupid question here...who pays? I mean who pays for 10 thousand refugees to come into this country? Who will put them up? We are going to take in 10 thousand people next year when we have 30-50 thousand homeless veterans on our streets and plenty of people already in this country on welfare. Look at Illinois budget. We can't pay for the poor people we already have here and they are U.S. citizens. Where is the money going to come from to pay for these incoming people? Will they have jobs? Will they go right to welfare? Will they become section 8s? I haven't seen much written about this. So again folks. Who Pays??

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    1. The cost will be paid by a combination of private and public funding. The public portion will come from the less than 1% of the federal budget allocated to foreign aid. The answers to some of your other questions can be found here:
      http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/11/20/8-facts-about-the-us-program-to-resettle-syrian-refugees

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  10. You pay, and you'll do it willingly, "As you do to the least of these my brothers, you do it unto me." So keep hating, keep finding excuses to not do right mr or mrs Anonymous.

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    1. oh, I will pay of course but not willingly... and I'm not hating...we should do more for the homeless vets and the poor u.s. citizens we already have here before we take in more.

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    2. "Anonymous is hard at work trying to cripple Islamic State’s online operations — and now it wants your help. Per The International Business Times, Anonymous has posted three guides for amateur hackers on an IRC channel it uses that give instructions for how to identify ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts and websites, as well as how to hack ISIS websites."

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    3. More black on black crimes.

      http://news.yahoo.com/video/bronx-woman-charged-stabbing-childhood-130232677.html

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    4. if the shoe fits.......

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    5. Anonymous at 5:28, certainly more could be done for the homeless and veterans, but you're creating a false dichotomy. The funds to aid refugees would not be spent on the homeless or veterans if we turned refugees away. I suspect that there are other items in federal budget you would find more objectionable.

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  11. We have worked with Refugee One through our congregation over the past several years, sponsoring families coming to America - Syrian, Iraqui, Cambodian. We donate time, furnishings, money - RO finds them an apartment and basic work to get started. Many of the families come back to visit us in ensuing years and are so grateful for the efforts to help them.

    As I said the other day....I have a long list of 'neighbors' that I'd be willing to swap out for some of the refugee families.

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  12. What congregation is that, if I may ask?

    A.

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  13. It would be understandable if some out of work African Americans who can't find jobs would be upset that some refugees are found basic work.

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  14. Those that claim the mental illness excuse for committing crimes, are often in that shape due to their own fault_ taking drugs.

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