“Another wave of refugees is arriving,” the TV news announcer said in a grave voice. George Tiggleson, the news anchor for XWTZ Christian Voice of Americas, has been practicing this voice — deep, resonant, with a slight lamenting quality — for almost twenty years. This voice got him this job. “Are we as a nation ready to take responsibility for thousands of new souls? Can we feed them? House them? Educate them in our ways?” He paused for dramatic effect. His viewers were 90 percent against accepting more refugees. He’s been hammering home the message of astronomical costs of dealing with them. And it’s been working.
“But we can’t just turn them away, George,” said George’s News Hour guest, Dr. Varsaad Volhard. “Where will they go? It’s a death sentence–”
“Hold on there, Dr. Volhard.” George didn’t let her finish. His viewers hated her “hollering”. The more he put Dr. Volhard down, the higher his ratings got. “We’ve accepted into our bosom almost twenty-five thousands souls so far. That’s more than any other country in the world. Haven’t we done our share? Why do American people have lay out their hard-earned money over and over again? Where would this end?”
“We don’t know. You don’t know!” George Tiggleson leaned back in his chair, having scored his ultimate point — without the knowledge of the total amount of refugees, there was no way to plan for them.
“Imagine if we were in that situation, George. Imagine your family on one of those ships–”
George allowed Dr. Volhard a few more words this time, but didn’t let her complete her argument. Everyone knew how liberals thought; what was the point of saying the same thing over and over and over again? “There’re only so many sanitation, gardening, and farming jobs to have around, Doctor. Without language comprehension and vast cultural differences between us and the refugees, what are we supposed to do with all of them?”
“Well, it’s the only humane…Christian thing to do,” stuttered Dr. Volhard.
“But they are not even Christians!” George practically shouted into the professor’s face. She leaned back in shock.
“We don’t know what their spiritual orientation–”
“Precisely! They are heathens!”
“We don’t know what they are,” Dr. Volhard tried again, her thin voice fluctuating in a very unflattering sound range. George kept himself from smirking — people without voice training had no business being on TV or trying to persuade people. What was the point? Losers.
There were still sixty-seven seconds to the end of this interview. Dr. Volhard looked shell-shocked, but George needed her to hold it together for a few more back and forth. He smiled kindly and tried a gentler approach.
“Americans are the most generous people on Earth,” he started. “We opened our hearts and wallets to these…these…”
“People,” Dr. Volhard said helpfully.
“People,” George conceded. “But–”
“They love. They laugh–”
“Please, Doctor. We are not discussing their feelings. We are discussing their contributions to the American economy. So far, they’ve taken our jobs–”
“But not the jobs Americans want,” Br. Volhard interrupted, her voice rose to an unpleasant screech.
George smiled at its discordance and continued. “That’s true of this generation of refugees. But what of their children? They’ll be competing with our kids for places at universities, for internships and scholarships. They’ll be taking good Americans’ job.”
“That’s true of all immigrants,” Dr. Volhard said.
“Yes, but when the Germans came after WWII, they brought their knowledge of engineering and rocketry with them. When the Russian Jews came, they shared their expertise in science and programming. When the waves of Indians and Chinese came, they invested their hard earned money and education to make our country great. When the Arabs came, they–”
“I know, I know — they rebuilt our infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports,” Dr. Volhard said.
“Precisely!” George looked up at the clock, only fifteen seconds left. “But the Rhiets brought nothing. Their ships disintegrated in orbit leaving nothing for our scientists to examine, to analyze, to reverse engineer. The Rhiets themselves claim to be completely ignorant of the technologies that brought them here across the galaxy. And after examining them and cross-examining them for years, we’re still not one iota closer to finding even their star system of origin. Do you honestly believe, Dr. Volhard, that every single one of these people, as you call them, is this stupid? Isn’t it more likely that they are lying to us? Pretending to know nothing?”
“We know that all of them were just children when they left their home world. We can’t expect them to know–”
“Would you send your own child into the void without even a computer to teach them about our culture? Do you really think these kids, as you insist they are, can’t even operate their own spaceships? Or their own life-support systems?”
“They are different species, they do things differently.”
“They sure are, Doctor. But I say our species comes first. We need to look after our own kids, make our kids’ futures better.” George took a deep breath; he was almost done. The system was informing him that the viewership for today’s show was 123% up from the night before. “We don’t know why the Rhiets were sent here. What you call refugee ships could be penal colonists, for all we know. We could be taking in rapists and murderers–”
“Mr. Tiggleson! That’s a horrible accusation. We know these are just children. Perhaps the last of their kind. It behooves us to treat them the way we would want our own children to be treated in similar circumstances. It’s the Christian thing to do.” Dr. Volhard looked genuinely outraged. Liberals were so easy to irk.
“And some of them could be good people, Dr. Volhard,” George conceded with a sad smile, broadcasting compassion mixed with caution and prudence. “But how much of our resources to do we invest to find out? Who on Earth should go without so that these refugees have a better life here?”
“We can’t just turn them away,” Dr. Volhard said. She looked broken, smashed by George’s arguments. “Their ships start to disintegrate as soon as they hit the inner orbit of Saturn. If we don’t pluck them out of orbit, they would simply burn up in our atmosphere. We can’t allow children to burn up on their way to Earth.”
“Not children, Dr. Volhard, the Rhiets.” He shot down her video feed and turned to face his loyal audience. “That’s all the time we have for tonight. Stay tuned for your local news and views of the latest Rhiets ship passing Mars.”