Sorry and Ashamed

The president is following through on his Muslim ban campaign promise. It's un-American.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

I was at the supermarket yesterday and I could tell from her garb (and accent) the middle-aged woman bagging my groceries was a Muslim immigrant. She asked if I needed help to my car and, when I heard the kindness in her voice, my grandmother popped into my head so clearly, it was as if she hadn’t died 45 years ago.

My grandmother literally ran for her life as a 12-year-old refugee, as an invading army was raping and slaughtering its way to the sea. She lived because she had a place to run to: America. She worked hard, married another refugee and built a life, raising thee children, two who became college-educated. My grandfather, a dignified, gentle man, was a waiter. I told the woman helping me that I was deeply sorry for what was going on and ashamed of our president. She put her hand over her heart. I had to compose myself before I could drive home.

The Muslim ban, selectively not including places where Trump enterprises do business, is likely unconstitutional. It is absolutely un-American. Our Constitution applies to all people within our borders. With documents and without — the same constitutional protections apply. Further, our Constitution codifies the fact that the rights we have are given by the creator, not by the government, and that we the people allow the government to administer certain functions — and that is all. This is not a “Christian” country. Many of the “fathers” of our country were not Christians; they were deists (Thomas Paine, in particular). Many of the people who first came to this country from Europe were fleeing religious persecution. Violent protest was the founding of our country — starting with the slaughtering of our (then) country’s troops in 1775.

As the chaos unfolded at airports this weekend, stories of people handcuffed for 12+ hour detentions, children separated from parents, interpreters and other people who helped us during our two ridiculous wars of the past decade being detained and scientists and other knowledge workers coming here to help us grow our GDP being swept up have been widely reported. Un-American.

Significantly, the Muslim Ban was enacted on Holocaust Remembrance Day — the White House statement did not include the words “Jew” or “Jewish” for the first time ever. This was no oversight. The president’s campaign was peppered with neo-Nazi retweets and Bannon, the person who has declared my profession to make me a member of the “opposition party,” is beloved by the KKK and neo-Nazis.

As a baby boomer I grew up in a town that had many descendants of immigrants. We were taught to memorize the poem written by Emma Lazarus to finance the construction of the Statue of Liberty. I had a high school teacher who had a concentration camp tattoo on her forearm. Most of that generation is dead. Most young people have no personal memory of those who had everlasting gratitude to come to a country where rights were acknowledged to have been given by the creator, where the First Amendment ensures that the people will be protected from a state run religion and religion will be protected from the state.

Since we are a business publication, I will connect values in a business sense. This country grew from nothing to become the world power because of immigrants. We prevailed in World War II, even though we were outnumbered and unprepared, because of innovation by, in many crucial areas, immigrants. Until now, our country’s rights outnumbered our wrongs and we prospered as a result. We have enjoyed the world’s largest GDP for most of the last 100 years and a GDP per capita that the Chinese won’t be able to touch for decades, maybe ever. Because of immigrants.

We are not the America in decline or under threat that our president painted in his inaugural address. Statistically speaking, there is no threat from refugees. Since 9/11, more Americans have been killed by televisions falling on them than by the wildest interpretation of people acting out in “Muslim extremism” (an offensive term). More undocumented Mexicans are leaving our country than coming in (a trend that started in 2008) — and there are more Asian “undocumented” than any others. So, if the Trump vision for America prevails, the “wall” really needs to be built around our international airports. Considering the president is using H1B visa people to work at his Mar-a-Lago “winter White House,” rather than American citizens, he well knows of the productivity of people coming here to labor to feed their families back at home.

And this is the real point. Companies embracing diversity management pour increased money and effort into management programs that cause us to work well together (mentoring, resource groups) and give us equal access to the information needed to be successful. Our Top 50 list expressed as a stock index beats the market on a short- and long-term basis. Nothing can beat the productivity of liberated people.

As a veteran and proud American, I apologize to every person affected by the Muslim ban and to every person living in increased fear as a result of the hostile environment created over the last nine years, culminating in this recent election. Most Americans don’t believe this to be the correct course of action.

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  • Well said Luke. Everyone I talk to inside corporate America and socially is upset, embarrassed, fearful and wondering when the madness will stop, if it will stop or how it can be stopped. We are spiraling out of control. And, the risk to us as Americans here and abroad is now increased, not decreased by the actions of this administration. While spouting protection, Trump is increasing our risks.
    Less than 25% of the country voted for Trump, so he is playing to a minority view and doing it recklessly and with all the maturity of a 5 year old.

  • Steve and Luke:

    So nice to see such measured, thoughtful comments. I, too, am a proud American. My Grandfather emigrated from Syria (now the area is known as Lebanon) in the late 1800s and immediately enlisted in the Army. My father was a very proud Marine in WWII, my brother was in Army Intelligence in Korea. All born Muslims, all proud to bear arms for this country.

    We were also taught the poem that is mentioned here–Give me your tired, your poor. What a different world my grandchildren will inherit.

  • So well said. We have had our ugly moments born out of fear and greed. My ancestors were stolen from African shores and piled in ships in the worst of conditions. They survived as slaves and later married immigrants and Native Americans and share a common history with many in America. We didn’t have the right response immediately for the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. We took way too long to come to Britain’s rescue when Hitler was bearing down; we interred the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. By an large we welcome everyone to our shores and I am saddened that this is occurring. There are over 250,000 Muslims that are part of America, have fought in all of our wars and contributed to the tapestry of what we hold dear in these United states. This act is un-American and un-Christian. Its just plain bad.

  • Now that Trump is the President, most of America no longer gives a fat Fuck about your non-white diverse species of sub-human, you old race traitor media whore! Why don’t you get a REAL job, POC cocksucker?

    • Did you make a wrong turn leaving

      You’re wrong, the president was elected was just 25.5% of American votes. He won the electoral college with a total of 77,000 votes scattered across three states. He lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. How many of those 77,000 votes were actually Russian hacking? I guess we’ll all find out together.

      Anyway, it’s good to hear from the core of the president’s support. Keep tapping away. The more people that see the greasy decrepit underside of the Bannon administration, the more Democrats will be elected to Congress in a year and a half. Can’t wait to see the chickens come home to roost.

      BTW, I think your leader is up to his neck in Russian involvement. It was a bad move to micturate on the entire intelligence community. It wont be long now.

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