Welcome To Your New Home

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Joyful selfies. AP photo.

Oh Canada. The flood of stricken refugees continues, prompting much of Europe to turn its heedless back: Hungary has closed its borders, refugees in Bulgarian camps report being beaten and abused, Germany's Angela Merkel - Time's new  Person of the Year because it couldn't possibly by Bernie - wants to "drastically decrease” the number they previously said they'd accept. Meanwhile, the crisis has elicited from much of this country, including the GOP and its so-called leaders, the worst of a dark xenophobia that increasingly sounds like the racist rantings of anonymous Internet trolls.

Then there's Canada, which has opened wide its still-human heart. This weekend, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a crowd of smiling officials welcomed the first 163 of an expected 25,000 Syrian refugees, all sponsored by relatives or private groups, with warmth, grace, toys for the kids, coats and hats and promises of health care and the bountiful declaration, "You are home."

In a brief heartfelt speech, Trudeau proclaimed, “This is a wonderful night. We get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada’s all about, but we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations...This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share."

Some, anyway. For many of us appalled and ashamed by America, Dylan comes to mind: "Bury the rag deep in your face/ For now’s the time for your tears." Canada proves we can do so much better.

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