Washington State's Governor Jay Inslee needs to be applauded. I recently wrote that Governors need to lead on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and he is doing exactly that.
The senseless massacre recently inflicted upon Paris has shaken the world. Unfortunately, this attack on our shared humanity is being used to push a political agenda and generate a culture of fear that is at odds with who we are as Americans.
I believe that America has a moral responsibility to protect our own security, while also extending a hand to those in need. Many Governors are taking the easy route and using scare tactics to stop the President's refugee program. However, Governor Inslee of Washington is standing up and doing what's right, not what's politically expedient.
When he was confronted with naysayers, Governor Inslee demonstrated real leadership saying: "Well, I think, in moments like this, you got to understand, fear is a powerful thing. And these atrocities strike deep. And people are going to have very legitimate and real concern. But I think that leadership calls for people to, yes, recognize it's real, act responsibly. In this case, that means insisting on a robust, multilayered screening process before they're allowed in this country."
He should be applauded for underscoring the reality of the situation: that people have the right to feel a sense of fear, but still have the responsibility to act in spite of it. That is exactly what President Obama and countless civil servants have ensured through this program.
When a refugee enters the country they face a multi-level security screening and background check that is designed to protect American citizens. We need more government leaders to support and strengthen the program--not attack it. No system is perfect--but defunding it is irresponsible and hurts our credibility as a moral force for good.
When asked if he feared that his support of this program could hurt him politically down the road, Governor Inslee answered “You bet, and that's the price of leadership.” Courage and bravery is so often a theme present in scripture, yet absent in our public life. I applaud Governor Inslee and it is my prayer that more Governors will follow his example.