While John Oliver tackled a lighter issue in his season finale main story, he spent his opening monologue on a very serious, very relevant topic: refugees.
He begins by recalling last week’s heartbreaking terrorist attacks in Paris. He already cathartically eulogized in the previous episode, so he instead praises the French for their resiliency in the wake of tragedy. French singer Shy’m bravely performed just days after the attacks at Paris’ Le Bataclan, and she enthusiastically attempted a stage dive during the concert. It didn’t go so well.
Oliver first notes that the French are beginning to get back to normal because they just don’t give a shit. Someone wants to be held up by the crowd? Who cares. We’re French. Secondly, he shows a news clip of a reporter showing locals the video. They all crack up. Because it’s funny! After a devastating week, the French desperately need to feel OK again, and this one artist’s mishap is certainly helpful on the road to recovery.
After a much needed laugh, Oliver turns his attention to the very serious issue that is our steadfast and increasing refusal to welcome refugees to the United States. Several presidential candidates, as well as actual state governors, have said they don’t want to allow Syrian refugees into the country, as they believe those people in crisis serve too much of a threat to American soil because of possible connections to ISIS. Oliver, very quickly, calls bullshit.
Although it was just the opener, Oliver spends a lot of time explaining how refugees are admitted in the country. Many politicians say it’s too hard to vet them? Well, the vetting process is actually incredibly brutal and rigorous and takes between one-and-a-half and two years to complete. Refugees’ profiles are examined across several government bureaus and then checked again! That, however, didn’t stop Congress from voting in favor of even stricter regulation.
Several politicians, as he points out, just don’t understand the implications of accepting refugees. Mike Huckabee, for one, says it’s too dangerous to admit some because even just one may have terrorist connections. Well, Mike, just three in the past 15 years have had connections, according to Oliver, and even those were to organizations outside of the United States. Oliver makes another example out of the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia who praised President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese-American citizens after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. That mayor, however, seems to misunderstand that interment was very, very bad. We don’t want to repeat that.
Oliver closes the monologue by once again praising the French. While President François Hollande has his issues, he has at least publicly stated that France will continue to accept thousands of refugees each year. If the country that ISIS actually targeted can continue to be sensible and welcoming to innocent people who are very much not involved in the terror, maybe we could be, too.