Benjamin to take a position on issue of refugee children

I received a text this morning at 9:52 from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, responding to my earlier post about the children from Central America:

Brad, Thank you for speaking up for the unaccompanied minors/children. I plan to take a formal position and to ask council to join me too. Steve

I responded that that sounded to me like a fine idea.

I was reminded of what happened 10 years ago, when a tide of resistance in Cayce rose up against the Somali Bantu moving here, and then-Columbia Mayor Bob Coble made it clear that they would be welcome in Columbia.

I have this vivid image in my mind — which unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find on the web — of Mayor Bob embracing the father of a Bantu family arriving at the airport, with the rest of the family standing by.

What a great message that was, and it washed away the earlier, uglier impression that our community had given.

It would be great to see the city of Columbia similarly distance itself from our governor’s ungracious reaction.

I hope the council can see its way clear to do just that.

22 thoughts on “Benjamin to take a position on issue of refugee children

    1. Barry

      I think the Mayor is more likely to tell you what you should do – and not do it himself.

      He’s got a big house out there in Woodcreek- some 20 miles from dowtown.

      Funny how that works.

  1. bud

    Reports are coming in that the exodus of hapless children from central America is slowing significantly. As usual all the predictions about a huge flood of emigrants overwhelming our culture are greatly exaggerated. Even if Mayor Benjamin doesn’t have room for one of these kids there are many, many others who will be and able to take them in. The taxpayers will likely only have to pay for a short period of time while these kids are placed. Once established in a loving home both adoptive parents and kids alike will benefit. Ultimately these grateful children will become some of the hardest working, taxpayers in the country who will contribute 10 times back to the treasury. This is a win-win-win for all. So let’s not listen to the naysayers and the Ayn Rand radicals in this critical moment in our history. Do we choose compassion and hope? Or do we instead choose bigotry, fear and shortsightedness.?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      So what you’re saying is that we should just import loads of orphans from all over the world, then. You’d be in favor of sending the Navy down to Guatemala and just picking up a whole boatload (or shipload) of poor, desperate children and bringing them here.

      After that, we can send the Navy over to Africa and start bringing all the orphans over here, too.

      That’s all good…sInce it’s win-win-win, and all.

      Point of Order: When using “Navy” in a sentence referring specifically to the US Navy, you capitalize it, right? I’m not sure on this point. I’ll defer to the chair’s ruling.

      1. Doug Ross

        Yes, Bryan. It’s not like we have any American orphans or children in broken homes who could use a loving, caring family right now. Liberalism has already solved THAT problem. Now we can move onto to saving the world by creating an environment like Lake Wobegon – where all the children are above average.

  2. bud

    Liberalism ended slavery and Jim Crow. Liberalism gave women the vote. Liberalism brought an end to the gilded age. Liberalism brought about pollution standards that cleaned up our air and water. Liberalism gave us a progressive attitude toward marijuana, blue and other oppressive laws against the dignity of American citizens. Liberalism gave millions of Americans an opportunity for a decent living through the minimum wage law. Liberalism ended child labor exploitation. Liberalism helped end the Vietnam and other illegal wars. Liberalism gave us safer motor vehicles, appliances and other conveyances we take for granted in the 21st century. Liberalism has advanced the American way of life for millions upon millions of Americans and in fact hundreds of millions throughout the world.

    Contrast that with the tyranny of conservatism that has sought to exploit the many for the lavishness of the very few. Conservatism has been on the wrong side of history with it’s ill advised attempts to grant an unearned social and wealth status to a few fortunate souls who seek only to abscond with the American dream. Conservatives deny human dignity. Conservatives offer nothing to the American dream unless you are already a billionaire, usually through inheritance. Conservatism is a dead-end philosophy that runs counter to the founding fathers dream of opportunity for all Americans.

    The bottom line is simple: Conservatism offers nothing but a sort of 21st century serfdom to the plutocrat masters who subvert the democratic process through the bastardization of the political process. Liberalism offers hope and opportunity for all and responsible participation in a bright future for everyone through fair and reasonable laws, tax policy and regulation.

    1. Doug Ross

      That’s was my point, bud. Liberalism has ended poverty, racism, hunger, homelessness in America. It has done no wrong. Now we need to expand it to the third world countries to allow them to bring their special skills into the system.

      If we could only find some rich people to pay for it.

    2. Silence

      Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”

      -Robert A. Heinlein

    3. Bryan Caskey

      Being a “liberal” used to be a good thing…back in the times when it meant you were in favor of greater freedom. That ended in about the late sixties-early seventies. Nowadays, liberalism isn’t so much for freedom anymore, as it is now more about rules and regulations, trying to intervene in the free market, and making sure that we don’t have gender specific bathrooms in college dorms or buy big gulps. Modern liberalism (actually Leftism) loves to tell you what you can’t do – because other people know better.

      Conservatism a/k/a being a classical liberal = free markets and individual freedom to pursue your own self-interests through voluntary cooperation, and rule of law. We see government as the referee, not as an active participant.

      Bud, you can tell yourself that conservatism is the ideology of old white men if that makes you feel better. The truth is that conservatives are now the insurgent rebels against the status quo of the leviathan that is the over-regulating government we have. We like the thrill of independence and diversity of thought.

      Leftists are now the stodgy rule makers supporting the status quo who like boring conformity and security, and dislike diversity of thought. Progressives are the party of government, believing that more government and more rules are the answer. To a leftist, every problem needs another government program or mandate from the top.

      Before posting this, I checked my privilege. And it says that I’m still right about all this.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What you just said about liberalism — I’m with you in believing it ain’t what it was. And I feel the same way about conservatism.

        I could have been a liberal when JFK was president.

        I could have been a conservative when Ike was president.

        Since then, I can’t bear to be identified with either. They’ve both gone off the rails.

  3. Doug Ross

    I applaud President Obama’s proposal to go to where children’s lives are being threatened by gang violence and offer them asylum in the United States. My assumption is that he will start in his home town of Chicago and offer those children the opportunity to access free public education, free meals at school, government paid healthcare, free housing, cheap college loans, and other benefits. This will surely help end the cycle of violence and government dependency that has plagued that war torn area for decades.

  4. bud

    It’s interesting that Chicago always comes up when it comes to homicides. It’s true that in 2013 more people were murdered in the windy city than in any other city in America. However, since Chicago is such a large city it’s murder RATE was not especially high. According to this article in the Daily Beast Chicago had a much lower rate than Memphis, Baltimore or Philly. New York City as it turns out is the safest large city based on murders per capita.

  5. Doug Ross

    So when is Benjamin going to take his position on the topic? Or is he just going to do that in secret with the Council?

    Lindsey Graham and the rest of South Carolina’s Republican Congressional delegation have made their concerns known in a letter to the Department of HHS:

    “We are troubled that this data is just coming to light and was not provided to Congress or our delegation in a timely and regular fashion,” read the letter, which was signed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Reps. Joe Wilson, Mark Sanford, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice.

    Separately, Graham said this regarding placing the children with illegal immigrants:

    “You’re reinforcing another bad problem when you don’t check the legal status of the person. There is zero hope they’re ever going to get into the legal system because the person you’ve turned the child over is illegal themselves, and you are compounding the problem”; said Graham. “I think you’re reinforcing bad behavior.”


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