One of the best things about my new life is that I get to spend a lot more time with kids now than I used to. My nephew Clarke's Mom lives just down the road from Catholic High as do I. So, one of the things I do about once a week when he's with Amy is take him home after he has ROTC.
Like most 14 year olds, some days he is chattier than others. Some days he is downright grumpy. He had a lot on his mind when I went to get him last Tuesday.
"What do you think about the Syrian refugees?" he asked.
"It depends,"I replied. "What's your question?"
"Well, some people say they need to be monitored."
"And to them I would say that it seems like they will be monitored as well as any other legal aliens can be once they get through a pretty in depth screening process that will take about 2 years to complete."
"Some people even say that all Muslims in the country need to be monitored."
"Even American citizens?"
"Well," I said again." That's unconstitutional."
"Sure. You have a constitutional right to be a Muslim. Or a Baptist, Catholic or nothing at all. According to the First Amendment to the Constitution the government can't pass a law that would interfere with the free exercise of religion. Whatever religion that might be.
Second of all, how on Earth would the government do it? Have them all register as they leave services at the mosque? Investigate the background of all people with Arabic surnames? Then how would they "monitor" them? Law enforcement is doing good just to keep up with guys that are on parole.
And who would do it? The FBI? Not likely. The INS? Please. The military and CIA can't be used against US citizens. So you see people that are in favor of crazy stuff like this haven't really thought it through."
He grew pensive for a moment.
"But WHY would people even WANT to do this? What would monitoring Muslims accomplish?"
"Good question," I said. "I guess some people think expending zillions of dollars and violating folks' constitutional rights in order to flush out a handful of potential terrorists is a wise expenditure. Personally, I think we would be money ahead to keep guns out of the hands of crazy white folks."
"It doesn't make much sense to me," he said.
"People are scared. The problem is that the world is a complicated place. There are no simple solutions. Only difficult responses."
By then we were at his house. I watched him walk to the back in his fatigues and cap. This is the world his generation will inherit. A world where fools dream about creating apps to track Muslims.
Good luck, Son. Maybe you young folks can straighten it out someday. Come tell me about it in the nursing home if you do.