I Love Our Country: An Open Letter
I immigrated to the United States from India as a teenager, and became a proud citizen of America in my twenties. My family and I are very lucky to have an opportunity to live and thrive within the constant promise of the American Dream and its immense freedoms.
I love our country.
I am in awe of our nation’s Constitution, its Bill of Rights, its subsequent Amendments, which demonstrate better than any other, the honorable rule of law and the absolute truths for humanity that it seeks to uphold.
I have been in love with our Statue of Liberty since I was a child, when my father explained ‘her’ 20th century significance as the symbol of almost everyone’s dreams and aspirations for freedom and liberty. I distinctly remember my first visit at her feet in the 80s, the collective ambition and joy of the tens of millions of immigrants that have passed and held her gaze is palpable to this day.
I love our country.
President’s Trump executive order currently banning all immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, freezing out all refugees from entering the US, and standing up a precedent to more country-based bans in the future is unjust and immoral. As a citizen I am deeply concerned that it signals to the world that America is taking a different direction — one led by fear, distrust and hostility. The executive order was poorly drafted, hastily implemented, created immense turmoil, deepened political divide, and will ultimately do more harm in the very direction it seeks to ‘protect.’
Even before 9/11 and especially since, the global and local threat from terrorism is only getting worse, and I strongly support us securing our borders. But our intentions and actions must be thought out, and their integrity must be based on facts, not fear. Talk to one’s neighbors and realize many of us are descendants of refugees or once were refugees. Step back, and study our relatively short and imperfect history, and one understands, we are all immigrants here. Our liberty and freedoms have been sacrificed for, and built layer upon layer, by overcoming innumerable injustices within our nation’s and world history. As a country our ability to self correct and aspire continually to navigate to our collective ‘true north’ has improved us a democracy faster than any other in history. By most modern measures, we are today the inspiration for what open, free society wants to look like world-wide.
I love our country.
That’s why the travel ban and immigration restrictions stemming from the president’s executive order are every bit a prejudiced, religious test and fly in the face of our American values for basic human rights and civil liberties. Willful discrimination against vulnerable refugees, that are refugees because they themselves became victims of war, terrorism or persecution is not what we stand for.
From a business and technology entrepreneur’s point of view, the executive order seeks to nullify all that has made our country the world’s largest economy and a global business leader. America is the undeniable standard of excellence for conducting open, fair business under the welcome glow and security of the notion of ‘due process.’ Our country has attracted and welcomed many immigrants who have contributed immeasurably to its success as a predictable and measured economic leader. We are built on amazing talent and ideas from across the globe, our leadership in business has always been linked to principles of inclusion and openness. Within the technology industry, more than half of the Fortune 500 tech-related companies have been started by immigrants and their children. The power of the American Dream rests in no small part with the power of belief of our immigrants.
The symbol of our Lady Liberty has endured because of a core belief that each one of us has equal access to the freedoms of hard work, the discipline with which we can pursue our dreams, our unique vision of happiness and fulfillment. The promise and hope behind the American Dream has always been equality and equal access to opportunity for all. With true compassion applied to all.
I love our country. I am living proof, and a work-in-progress, on the power and potential of entrepreneurship in America. We cannot allow the promise of the American Dream to fail those who genuinely seek it.
I love *my* country.