Yesterday marked a solemn day for the United States, as we’ve betrayed one of our most cherished values. For over 200 years, the promise of America has been freedom from oppression and opportunity for those in need. While we’ve made mistakes along the way, we’ve always come to regret relinquishing our values to xenophobia. Quite possibly our most distinguishing national characteristic, we’ve been a shining beacon of hope and freedom in the world.
Yesterday, that beacon of hope and freedom was extinguished, exactly when humanity needs it the most. Globally there are over 60,000,000 displaced people, more than any time since World War II. And today we turned our backs on them.
There is an obvious word for this, it is persecution. By instituting a religious test, we have very clearly enshrined religious discrimination in federal policy (and emboldened the “us vs. them” storyline that terror organizations propagate.)
There is another word for this, it is ignorance. Perpetrators of terror on our soil have come from every walk of life — Christians, Jews and Muslims, blacks, whites and Latinos. Immigrants and native born citizens.
There is another word for this, it is inhumane. By barring refugees, we will undoubtedly contribute to the death of more people than terrorism has ever killed on US soil.
In short — by extinguishing that beacon of hope and freedom, and abandoning our most cherished values — we succumb to terror.
Our enemy is not terror, it is losing our soul while fighting terror. America is stronger than this.
Now, take action. Tell Congress that you oppose Trump’s ban on refugees. Donate to the IRC’s emergency fund to help protect resettled refugees or the ACLU which is already challenging the immigration ban. Share this NYTimes Op-Ed by IRC CEO David Miliband to spread the word.
As a tech leader and public CEO, I’m often advised to stay apolitical. But this isn’t politics, I believe this is a matter of objective right and wrong. Staying silent doesn’t feel like leadership to me. I encourage other leaders to consider the cost of silence.