The following is an open letter to Mr. Donald Trump:
Mr. Donald Trump
New York, NY
Dear Mr. Trump,
I urge you to reconsider your proclamations both during and since the Presidential campaign to economically disenfranchise certain residents in this country, such as Muslims, immigrants, and poor people. Economic disenfranchisement has its costs, and they are substantial. Disenfranchisement has economic costs (lower economic growth resulting in a generally poorer country), but it also has social costs.
The social costs of economic disenfranchisement are real and dangerous. Radicalization and violence in Europe from Muslims and immigrants is partially due to their economic disenfranchisement through tight labor laws favoring domestic residents over foreign ones. The Ferguson, MO and other riots of the past year are partially due to African-Americans’ (and other minority groups) economic disenfranchisement stemming from minimum wage, the drug war, and other illiberal policies. Historically, this holds true as well. Economic disenfranchisement through apartheid and other colonial systems lead to unrest in Africa (of which we are still feeling the effects). Jim Crow economic disenfranchisement lead to the Civil Rights movement and other unrest in the 1960’s. And we cannot leave out probably the largest, and most violent, example in US history: the slave riots and subsequent Civil War.
Mr Trump, you ran on a platform of restoring law and order. However, many of your economic policies (building a wall, increasing tariffs, registering/deporting Muslims and immigrants, etc) are contradictory to that goal. In order to make America great again, we do not need economic disenfranchisement, but economic opportunities for all (not just the politically favored). If we want to bring back American exceptionalism, we need to show the world why we are exceptional; show we are a nation of laws not legislation, of principles not panic, of innovation not intimidation, and above all of freedom not fear.
Mr Trump, I urge you to tear down these walls and to honor the words of our Founders, that “all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
George Mason University
*Versions of this letter have also been sent to House and Senate leadership