The Washington Post has a charming story of how Trump supporters in a highly conservative part of Nebraska are warming to refugees after meeting some in person:
John Dutcher, a 61-year-old house cleaner, lives in a complex of low-rise apartments in a neighborhood where American flags flapped on porches. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dutcher said he was “one of those guys who would want to put a pig’s head on a mosque. I never acted on it, but I played it in my head.”“I hated Muslims,” he said.
For years, Dutcher’s neighbors were meth addicts and rowdy alcoholics. Slobs. In June, a Syrian family who spoke no English moved in. Another family moved in after that, then another. Now there are six.
Soon enough, Dutcher said, empty bottles in the hallway were replaced with children’s bicycles. The loud arguments of a drug-addicted couple were replaced by the sounds of children’s laughter.
“The Muslims here were all about family and they just loved everyone,” Dutcher said. “I remember the people who lived here before; they took for granted everything this country gave them. These people, they really changed my heart.”
Through interpreters, he learned about the families’ stories of loss and fleeing war. It softened his stance on Islam and led him to question some of what Trump was saying. Around refugees, he never felt safer.
“I used to be afraid when the meth addicts were here,” he said. “Now I don’t even look to see who’s knocking on my door. I know it will be someone with a plate of food or a kid asking me to fix his bike.”
Dutcher said he continues to support Trump’s views on strong borders and curbing illegal immigration, but said his experience taught him that “refugees were a different thing entirely.”
This is what happens when you let in (1) genuine refugees who are (2) carefully pre-screened and (3) mostly women and children. You end up with decent, grateful, likable people who make a good impression.
Of course, Germany (1) letting in some genuine refugees mixed in with a large, diffuse mass of others, after (2) no pre-screening at all, and (3) getting mostly young males.
And as a result, what's happening in Germany is the reverse of what's happening in Nebraska. In a development that's being repeated all over Germany in various forms, Uwe the truck driver, who lives in a rent-subsidized low-income housing development, sees a third of his dingy but safe neighborhood park taken over by container dwellings for young unaccompanied male refugees:
Suddenly there are clusters of sullen, bored-looking young males -- almost none of whom are actual Syrian war refugees -- hanging around all day with nothing to do but ogle his daughters, guzzle cheap booze, and deal and use drugs.
Of course, the code of implicit moral imperatives in Germany means that Uwe the truck driver is not permitted to draw any conclusions based on the behavior of his new neighbors. One of the many groups the Nazis persecuted were drifters, petty criminals and people who displayed persistent "antisocial behavior". And they persecuted foreigners.
Therefore, by the Law of Reaction, expressing direct disapproval of (1) foreigners who (2) engage in antisocial behavior is, well, verboten. Instead, citizens are encouraged to believe that any person, no matter how obviously lacking in intellectual gifts, discipline, or common decency, must be regarded as equal to an intelligent and industrious human not just before the law, but by all other humans. This is the sort of thinking behind the Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt's now-infamous ejaculation that Germany was receiving the "sudden gift" (g) of migrants.
Of course this won't stop Uwe from applying his own experience of the world, and coming to his own conclusions. Just as John Dutcher did. The only difference is that John Dutcher is looking at the results of a successful, responsible refugee policy, and Uwe is looking at the opposite.