Friday, January 12, 2018

Let’s welcome people from (expletive) countries

It’s like riding a roller coaster with Donald Trump as our President. He’s a man of extreme highs and lows.  

There are things he does that I absolutely love. An example would be tax reform, something I am fully confident will lead to outstanding economic development, giving small businesses and their employees more money and success.

But, then, he’ll say or do things that totally gross me out. He often comes across as someone having less intelligence and class than a Neanderthal and you worry about how his world view will impact public policy. Case in point, his recent commentary behind closed doors when he wondered why America would welcome immigrants from (expletive) countries.

Why wouldn’t we welcome them? They want the exact same things my ancestors and Trump’s wanted when they came to America from similar (expletives)   – a better quality of life, economic opportunity, and the chance to live the American Dream.

Some immigrants from today’s (expletive) nations have been getting world-class educations in our universities and saving lives here as our best and brightest doctors and scientists.

Many more -- the folks I am most familiar with -- are doing great work at factories and farms all across the country. They are taking on work that recent generations of Americans have been raised to believe are beneath them. Because of that, you have products in your department stores and produce in your grocery stores. Take away those first- and second-generation Americans and who’s there to keep the productive sectors of the economy chugging along? 

I have the honor of working with 50 people who were not born in the United States. One out of every five coworkers came here as an immigrant or refugee and, they, like the American-born folks in our plant are putting in an honest day’s work that allows them to do whatever they’d like in their personal lives, whether it’s raising a family, buying a car or home, saving for retirement, or investing in their own business.

It’s not coincidental that since bringing on a lot of refugees we’ve had some of our best years at the plant. Sure, there are a lot of circumstances, people, and ideas that have led to our success, but it helps to have teammates possessed of a desire to make their lives better, which, in turn, makes the company, the community, and the country better.

They might come from (expletive) countries but they don’t hold (expletive) attitudes or possess (expletive) work ethic. I often cite as the perfect example a circumstance concerning a Vietnamese fellow I work with. While working on one of his numerous Buffalo apartments (there’s that American Dream), he took a bullet from a random shooter that lodged in his skull. He came to work that same night and I had to forcibly tell him to leave and get it taken care of!

While Trump is dead-wrong about the quality of people who come here from other lands, he is dead-on about them coming from (expletive) countries. If anyone takes offense to that part of his rant, then they need to brush up on world events. Just look at one of those countries that wasn’t verbalized but is no doubt on Trump’s list – Myanmar, where many of my coworkers hail from

For years, Myanmar (or Burma) has been besieged by what is classified as the world’s longest-running civil war. My coworkers were displaced from their homes, sometimes violently, and were forced to live in refugee camps that were so deplorable that if we had sheds on our properties that looked even remotely like them, everyone one of us would tear them down. Even today they look back at their homeland with broken hearts for, in just the past six months alone, the Myanmar army has butchered 10,000 of their loved ones and forcibly relocated 650,000 Rohingya Burmese.

It is (expletives) like that from where we should welcome people. Their homes, families, and lives have been destroyed. There is no hope for them in their homeland.

But, there is hope in America. It’s the same hope that we all have raising kids, going to work, and enjoying the incredible freedoms and pursuits that we do. Why wouldn’t we want the very best for others, especially those who come from the very worst?

From the 15 January 2018 Greater Niagara Newspapers and Batavia Daily News

No comments: