Dear Mr. President,
I am a 78-year-old second generation American. My Grandparents and some Uncles and Aunts came from Sweden and Italy and were proud to become naturalized American Citizens. My Italian Uncle, Sante Mario Pancotti carried his citizenship papers with him almost everywhere, hoping someone would ask to see them. That’s how proud he was to be an American.
On the Swedish side of my family my Grandfather Peter (Olsson) Aronson was a tailor, a respected businessman in my hometown and also proud to be an American. He trained an entire generation of Americans to become quality tailors.
The Italians and Swedes in my family made numerous contributions to their adopted country as did their friends. Better than half of the community I grew up in were either immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants, all of them hard-working Americans who never asked for anything, but gladly gave of themselves.
Today they would be sad and ashamed to see the President of the country they love, imply that immigrants cannot be trusted. You owe them respect and gratitude, not derision and suspicion. It is because of their commitment and their sacrifices in peace and in war that paved the way for you to gain the highest office in the land. What you accomplished is what they believed was possible for everyone. You, sir, are in their debt.
But you didn’t attack the Italians and Swedes, you went after the Mexicans and the Muslims and by so doing you offended all fair-minded Americans. Your insensitivity and lack of compassion caused you to stereotype two peoples who have been a critical part of the success that is America, but then you wouldn’t know that because your bias only allows you to see and remember those scant few who do bad things.
When you complain of Mexican rapists, murderers and drug dealers you condemn an entire ethnic group with grandiose claims and minimal evidence. Mr. Trump your careless and reckless disregard for the truth hurts all of us but especially those who serve their country. You, Mr. President, are the Commander in Chief of thousands of honorable immigrants who proudly wear the Uniform of the United States. You are spreading hate and fear of people who fought and died for this country.
o you know who Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez was Mr. Trump? Corporal Gutierrez was a Guatemalan immigrant — one of the very first service members to die in Iraq. You are probably also unaware that over 130 immigrant members of our military got their naturalized citizenship posthumously after dying in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
You are probably unaware, too, of the fact that 11 % of the people serving in the armed forces of the United States are of Hispanic Origin. And that around 70,000 immigrants serve in the four military branches.
And, Mr. President, did you know that more than two-thirds of the foreign born serving in the armed forces are naturalized citizens and represent about 5 percent of all active duty personnel? Or, that the top two countries of origin for foreign-born military personnel are the Philippines and Mexico? That’s right Mexico. Are you going to run them out of the military, too, because of your irrational fear of those who bear Hispanic names?
Is it worth it, Mr. Trump to offend the 55 million Hispanics in the United States in order to pursue a few drug runners? Could you not have found better language to describe your mostly imaginary problem that now threatens to break up families who have caused neither you nor America any harm? You speak with great authority about the few who may have broken the law but never say a word about those who don’t. Are you even aware of the contributions Hispanics have made to this country?
Let’s start with Alberto Gonzales former member of the Texas Supreme court, White House Counsel to President George W. Bush and Attorney General for that same President.
And then there are the Castro brothers, Julian and Joaquin. The brothers are third generation Mexicans from San Antonio, Texas. Julían Castro served as Mayor of San Antonio for three terms until he accepted a post as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Joaquín Castro is a U.S. Representative of Texas’ 20th congressional district.
What about Ellen Ochoa? Ever heard of her? She was the first Mexican-American woman in space. She flew aboard the Discovery in 1993. She’s logged over 1,000 hours in space and became the first Latina to direct NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
And Carlos Bocanegra was captain of the U.S. National soccer team for six years and played for the United States in the 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cup. He is now retired and is coaching Atlanta United FC, who will enter Major League Soccer in 2017. But you probably don’t care about him either.
You probably wouldn’t know Sandra Cisneros either. Her book, The House on Mango Street is considered a classic and is required reading for many high school students. She is known for her poetic writing style and cultural critiques. She formed the Macondo Foundation to help artists and writers create work that builds community and support social change in a non-violent way.
You must have heard of J. Lo, that’s Jennifer Lopez, one of America’s most influential Hispanics who started out as an anonymous background dancer and today she’s known by two syllables. She’s more famous that you are and for all the right reasons.
The list is endless Mr. President, but let’s move on to Muslims.
Your words and actions indicate you want to deport millions of Mexicans already here while banning entry to thousands of Muslims whose only crime is their religion. When you declared your Muslim ban did you stop to think of the emotional effect that might have on the nearly 6,000 Muslims serving in the U.S. Military? Of course not?
Are you even aware of the many contributions Muslims have made to our country?
I’ll bet you didn’t know that if it weren’t for a Muslim there would be no Trump Tower, at least not in the way it is built. Fazlur Rahman Khan, the Dhaka-born Bangladeshi-American was known as the “Einstein of structural engineering”. He pioneered a new structural system of frame tubes that revolutionized the building of skyscrapers including the 2009 Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. If it was up to you he likely never would have been admitted to the U.S. and there would be no Trump Tower.
Were you aware Mr. Trump that this country was once proud to accept the friendship of a Muslim nation? No, you likely wouldn’t be. You see, right after we fought our revolutionary war, it was a mostly Muslim Morocco that was the first to recognize us. The Muslims of that country have been among our best friends.
How about Dr. Oz? Remember him. You appeared on his show. Mehmet Oz is not only the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” he is also the vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University.
Fared Zakaria A highly Indian-born journalist, Zakaria hosts his own show on CNN, is an editor at large for Time magazine, and writes a foreign affairs column for The Washington Post. Zakaria is probably double bad in your book being both a Muslim and a journalist.
And then there is Aasif Mandvi an actor and comedian who is best known for his role as a “Daily Show” correspondent. Mandvi was born in India and spent much of his childhood in the UK before his family moved to Tampa, Florida. Of course you wouldn’t watch the Daily show, you are too busy soaking up Fox news.
I’ll bet you’ve never heard of Dr. Ayub Ommaya either. Well, you sure should have because he may save your life one day or perhaps a member of your family. In 1963, the Pakistani-born Muslim neurosurgeon invented the intraventricular catheter system that among other things can provide chemotherapy directly to the site of a brain tumor. He also developed the first coma score for classification of traumatic brain injury and developed, too, the US National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which focuses on traumatic brain injury.
I’ve mentioned only a few of the thousands of Mexicans and Muslims who have helped make America great, but when fear and hatred dominate your thoughts you probably don’t want to hear about these proud Americans.
You likely won’t read this but I’m hoping someone you know will bring it to your attention. I just want you to know that the seeds of suspicion and hatred that you sow are deeply offensive to some of us, probably most of us. What goes around comes around Mr. Trump. Spreading hate and lies may work for you in the short term, but Americans are pretty smart and more and more of them are on to your lies and aspersions. You’ve made a mockery of our system of government and caused the world to poke fun at us. Shame on you. If just once you acted like an adult and admitted there’s a whole lot you don’t know but are willing to learn, many of us would give you a break, but your ego is too big for that.
If you had the courage to look around you would find a government that is in shambles, a citizenry that daily protests your heavy-handed approach to governing and an international community that views you as a terrifying joke. If you really want to make American Great Again put a stop to the suspicion, resentment, and hate and do it by example. What a legacy that would be.