Rep. Steve King Compares Syrian Refugees to Poisonous Grapes

Rep. Steve King is known for neither his compassion nor his intelligence; rather, he is known for saying crazy things, and for being openly racist and anti-immigrant.

Sadly, that does not set him apart from your average Republican politician in 2016. And of course, there is no better place to utter insanities than over at Breitbart. So that’s where King went to join the conservative chorus that allowing in Syrian refugees is a form of national suicide.

King told Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon that hostility towards refugees is in keeping with American values. Sadly, he is not wrong, at least in terms of how our values have often been expressed. America has been hostile to a great many groups of immigrants and refugees, including the Irish and Italians, to name but a few.

Somehow, we survived the onslaught of people not from England and became a nation of immigrants, many of them refugees.

Yet according to King, President Obama’s oft-repeated “that’s not who we are,” is unsupported by “logic or rationale.” As I point out above, he has a point. We is who we have been in the past and many Americans are still that way now.

But why should we settle for less? King’s views are certainly not in keeping with the lofty ideals expressed by the Founding Fathers, but then, even many of them owned slaves and thought blacks less intelligent than whites.

The point is, we have tried to move beyond such reprehensible thinking, to become better people and a better nation. King doesn’t think that is necessary or even desirable: “Who we are? We should not be a suicidal nation.”

Listen courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

“My wife said this morning, ‘If you had 100 grapes and you knew that two of them were fatally poisonous, would you sit there and eat the grapes until one of them killed you? Or would you decide, I’m not going to take that bunch of grapes at all?’ That’s what we’re dealing with here with the Syrian refugees.”

If we’re forced to use that analogy, and if there are bad grapes, we have ways of finding them. Per the testimony of USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez for a House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security:


All available biographic and biometric information is vetted against a broad array of law enforcement, intelligence community, and other relevant databases to help confirm a refugee applicant’s identity, check for any criminal or other derogatory information, and identify information that could inform lines of questioning during the interview. Biographic checks against the State Department’s Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) – which includes watchlist information – are initiated at the time of prescreening by the State Department’s Resettlement Support Center (RSC) staff. In addition, the RSC request Security Advisory Opinions (SAOs) from the law enforcement and intelligence communities for those cases meeting certain criteria.

This is information King obviously knows, but just chooses to ignore so he can sow fear of poisoned grapes instead. Ignorance is so much fun, isn’t it, Rep. King?

And King insists that after destroying Iraq, creating a vacuum of power in the Middle East and essentially creating the Islamic State that is now tormenting the region, that we’ve done enough “good” deeds for anyone:

“America has done more than any other country in the world has done for refugees and the soil right next door to Syria that are part of Iraq, is sanctified by the blood of our warriors, our patriots. They paid a greater price than any other country in the world and we have a right to protect our borders, and by the way, we have a right to protect our culture and our civilization. I am watching as Europe has committed, it’s almost conclusive now, that they are committing cultural suicide by pouring in millions of migrants who don’t share they’re values.”

I honestly don’t think Steve King shares our values.

Franklin Roosevelt said something relevant to this conversation. He told the Democratic National Convention in 1936,

Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales. Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

King doesn’t believe in charity. He does believe in indifference, obviously, because he is indifferent to the fate of refugees. Having created them (“done more than any other country in the world”), he says they’re on their own. But hey, should we expect Republicans to treat refugees any better than our veterans?

So what’s to blame for the downfall of European civilization? Not imperialism, no: Abortion and contraception. Even immigrants and refugees are more a symptom than a cause.

“The mass migration is the end of their culture and civilization and they must know that but they deny it because they’ve denied the reality that if they don’t have their babies, if they abort their babies and decide by contraceptives and abortion not to have enough babies to reproduce themselves, they’re a dying civilization.”

I’ve got news for King and his fellow Republicans: Climate change is going to kill more people than abortion ever did. According to Scientific American,

Yet it’s not industrialists or greedy capitalists or Republican climate change deniers who are to blame, nor are they the ones without values. No, that would be those contraceptive-using abortionists in Europe who “are replacing themselves with people who do not share their values.”

And you don’t have to know Steve King to know he’s talking about people a shade or two darker than himself. This is the guy John Boehner said was “an a**hole,” and the Speaker certainly got that one right, and I’ve got proof:

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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