Part of me questions the motivation of the question, “why are we helping refugees instead of our veterans?” Whenever I hear someone say anything about our poor veterans, I always say, “When did you serve?” And it’s clearly a minority of people that ever did. I am a veteran, I did serve. If I’m talking to a veteran then it’s a different conversation than when I’m talking to someone who really doesn’t understand military service, what it does, what struggles veterans go through.
There are some real issues there. There are issues with homelessness, drug addiction, PTSD, all kinds of things.
But to say “until we get every veteran problem fixed, we should not look to help refugees” - I don’t think that’s who we are as a country.
I sometimes think it’s an excuse for people to not have to give true voice to some fears and some other feelings they have about refugees.
It’s also so very counterproductive to argue with folks who compare the two. It is a far better course to hear them out and educate them.
Patrick Duffy is a Mentor through IRC.
Photo and interview by Elliott Natz