My Turn


'Call of freedom' should ring loud and long again

A friend, who co-founded a successful business in Colorado 25 years ago, is running for elective office there, seeking a State House seat in District 13, which hopefully will be a lucky number for a first-time legislative candidate.

There is every reason to believe it will, based on her experience juggling roles “as an entrepreneur, employer, mother, and hardworking community activist.”

Judy Amabile is a Democrat in the heavily Democratic city of Boulder, site of the magnificent Flatirons and home to the University of Colorado. There she has spearheaded the growth of Polar Bottle, a company that manufactures all-purpose sport water bottles. The co-founder of the company and her current business partner is her former husband, which in any language speaks volumes about Judy’s ability at “bringing people together to build consensus” and to “get things done.”

Like many fledgling companies, Polar Bottle was born out of a garage, where growing pains are part of the package for budding entrepreneurs.

“It wasn’t easy, but with hard work and determination, my former husband and I made this business a success,” said Judy in launching her political campaign. “We did so while upholding values that aren’t always thought of as good business: we manufactured our products exclusively in the USA, we paid our employees dignified and fair wages, and we ensured that they had time off to attend to family needs.”

Such novel ideas could go a long way in transforming today’s business landscape, which is littered with enough greed, mismanagement, and excess to choke a corporate fat cat.

But I digress, just as a certain someone did inexplicably on July 4 when he tried to rewrite the history of the American Revolutionary War from 1775-83, declaring that our army “took over the airports” during the battle against the British, even though the first flight of an airplane wouldn’t take place until 1903.

The gaffe, of course, was just the latest in a string of blunders committed by the current commander in chief, someone who pays no mind to the practice of fact-checking before opening his mouth. How else to explain his insistence that the migrant detention facilities on the southern border of the U.S. are more than adequate, despite the nightmarish conditions that have been documented by American Red Cross inspectors.

It’s all part of an incessant need to appeal to his base, a political group banded together by the Fox News propaganda machine. That network, which regularly champions the current administration’s hardline immigration policies, could offer some balance by highlighting a story written by Judy Amabile on our most recent Independence Day.

It goes like this:

“In 1978 my mother, Ann Amabile, decided to help with the refugee crisis created by the war in Vietnam. After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, 130,000 Vietnamese fled their homeland by boat or foot and landed in American refugee camps. They were stranded there until sponsors helped them relocate to communities across America. My mother sent my sisters Jean, who lived in California, and Nina, who spoke French, to Camp Pendleton, a processing center in California, to interview people for relocation.

“With funding from Catholic Charities and individual donors, my mother rented an apartment and several families moved to Aspen. Although some people were upset, most of the community rallied to offer clothing, food, English lessons, and importantly, jobs. Several people found work at a factory making ski jackets, and three ... got jobs at the Aspen Meadows where my sister Nina and I were waitresses.

“Eventually the families found a foothold and made their own way into the mainstream. With the help of our government and welcoming communities all over America, 1.6 million Vietnamese were resettled between 1975 and 1997.

“I am proud of my mother’s legacy and the American values she modeled: We are a country of immigrants. We welcome the stranger. We help those in desperate need.

“So, on this 4th of July, I am going to reminisce about another immigration crisis and how Americans made room.”

Tom Kirvan is the Editor-in-Chief at Detroit Legal News Publishing, LLC.


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