This week I've been attending a conference called CodeMash, in the completely unlikely location of Sandusky, Ohio, an hour west of Cleveland. It's a resort town that enjoys the success of Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park in the world, which is obviously not open in January. I kind of know this town because of a site I've run that has paid homage to Cedar Point for nearly 20 years. It's kind of a big deal.
I've been to a lot of conferences, because that's what software development people do. We work in a completely underserved profession, and get away with higher than normal salaries because there just aren't enough people around to do the work. In fact, there are so few people that often we're not above hiring people in India or Ukraine or where ever to do the work we can't hire for. Even then, we hire immigrants from around the world on-site, because there aren't enough corn-fed Midwestern white boys to do the work.
For as long as I've been in this work, almost 20 years now, I've worked with women, immigrants, people of color, LGBT folks and any other minority I'm not immediately thinking of. This is my normal. If I had any prejudices against any of these groups of people (I don't), I'd have to let them go anyway, because there's too much work to do to filter people out based on race, religion, gender or nationality. Heck, this is apparently the best job in United States right now.
So when the President of the United States, elected beyond any rational thought, refers to people wanting to immigrate here as being from "shithole countries," I'm sad, embarrassed and ashamed. Just in the last few years, I've called people coworkers or neighbors from Albania, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Syria, Brazil, Chile, and of course, the United Kingdom. They are the most beautiful, excellent people that I've worked with or lived next door to. They've made great contributions to our nation and our economy, and they're my friends. They're every bit as valuable to our nation as the guy who grew up near me in Clyde, Ohio, then worked with me.
This is important, my fellow Americans. We are a nation that seeks entitlement as a birthright, instead of opportunity. We're a nation founded and built by immigrants, and now we shun them. We're a nation that, after two centuries, can't get civil rights and equality right. This isn't OK. Our founding principles are being corrupted with this fucked up sense of nationalism and protectionism that is not only immoral, but impractical.
Know this, my immigrant friends. You are every bit my brothers and sisters as the people born along side of me at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. I value you as human beings who bring our average up. We will continue to embark on a journey together that makes humanity better, regardless of borders. We know this is the path forward, because in our self-awareness, we know this is the only choice there is.
My guess is that I'm about three generations removed from immigrants on my mother's side, probably four or five on my dad's side. I'm about as much a "native" white guy as there is. But this young nation was founded by immigrants, and that's not something up for debate because it's the honest truth. Despite centuries of discrimination against African-Americans, Europeans, Asians and countless other racial and ethnic groups, the truth is that they all moved us forward. Together we'll all move forward, because all boats rise with the tide.
President Trump is a fucking racist. Racism has no part in our culture or national agenda. We've been half-assing the obliteration of it now for more than two centuries. Reject this nonsense. We're better than that. Our path forward does not marginalize the people who are not like us, whether they were born in the United States or not. Please join me in the insistence that this is not OK. Some of my dearest friends are counting on us.