Where Will the Best Talent Go?

Imagine a young professional couple who are Indian, here on visas, with young children who are American citizens. The family has a Muslim-Hindu religious background. They own property in India, and in several European capitals as well as in the United States. They can live anywhere. Right now they are living abroad, and facing the decision of whether or not to come back to the United States.

They wonder whether people of their ethnicity and skin color and religious background are welcome in this country as long as Trumpism is in full swing. And, they are sharp enough to realize that the Republican assault on the middle and working class safety net — attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal role in health care — will, over the next several years, make for a lot of unhappy Americans. They are the exact ordinary people now cheering for Trump, rising to the defense of Roy Moore. Who, this young family wonders, wants to live among so many unhappy people getting the economic shaft?

The bottom line for Trump/Republican anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant fervor is quite simple: if the best talent from anywhere in the world does not feel comfortable living here, the best talent will not come.

That, for me, is a very bad outcome.

I get that as a progressive Democrat, living in a blue city like Seattle, I’m part of the group that Trump supporters feel looks down on them. I listened to a Roy Moore supporter on CNN, a white woman from Ohio working on Moore’s campaign. What she said in blowing past the many accusations that he is a sexual predator sounded ridiculous, if fervent. I guess I am looking down on her, failing to find the core of her humanity and empathize with whatever combination of fears leads her to support Moore. In simple truth, I thought she sounded like an idiot.

But if I ask myself who I want to stand with at the end of the day, it’s not the down home Alabama crowd that might send Moore to the U.S. Senate. It’s the bright, hard working young family with their strong family values, and their commitment to make the world a better place.

It’s going to be a long, hard, cold number of years – fewer, I hope, rather than more — before Trumpism finally dies a natural death.

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