We are United States military veterans, many of whom saw combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam, who are appalled by the current spate of bigotry, racism and hatred expressed toward Muslims.
Bigotry and racism violate all of the values we believed we were defending during our military service. The ideals contained in the Constitution, to the degree they have been manifested in the U.S., have been a beacon to much of the world because of the diversity, openness, and respect for people of all faiths that most people in the United States live by. It will be a great calamity if we let fear give rise to hatred.
Fear-mongering endangers our national security and gives rise to hatred and racism that play into the hands of an enemy that wants to convince Muslims around the world that the West, led by the U.S., hates them, and that joining ISIL or similar organizations is the only way to truly observe and defend their religion. We can never defend ourselves effectively by playing into our adversary’s strategy, giving credibility to their recruitment propaganda. We endanger ourselves whenever we make that mistake.
We call on all in the United States to let their voices be heard and to stand up for the values of tolerance, respect and love.
Donald J. Trump will be sworn in on January 20th, 2017 as the 45th President of the United States. Throughout this past year we have called upon Mr. Trump to abandon his divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric. He has done more to legitimize bigotry and create division than arguably any one person has done in the United States in decades.
As people of conscience, we must step up our support for marginalized, discriminated, and disenfranchised communities. It is our sincere hope that as Mr. Trump nears his inauguration, he embraces the oath of the Presidency and the sacred tenets of equality to which we as a nation aspire.
Mr. Trump will be taking an oath to lead three-hundred million U.S. Americans, of every race, ethnicity, and creed. The eyes of the world are upon him, as is the sacrosanct responsibility and history of the Presidency of these United States.
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