Mitch Landrieu: Discrimination Against Immigrants, Transgenders Is ‘Antithetical’ to American Values

Monday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) said it was “antithetical” to judge people “based on race, creed, color, sexual orientation, a country or origin, that’s antithetical to what American values are.”

Landrieu said, “What’s happening now on the streets of America is mayors every day are dealing with this particular issue, and it is critically important. Now, not all the time when people just start, you know, a movement does, is there a political consequence right after. But we’ve been in this moment for a very, very long time. And on the issues of immigration, gun violence, discrimination, as you were talking about earlier about transgender individuals who are willing to sacrifice their lives for our nation and still being discriminated against. The overarching message from the book and all the things we’re seeing is you have got to stop discriminating against people. You have to be open. You have to keep people safe. And you have to keep working hard. We’re going to keep banging on this wall until the wall falls. And I think this movement that’s now started with responsible gun ownership, trying to find a way to keep our folks safe, treating violence not just like a public safety issue, but a public health issue is an issue that’s beginning to resonate. We have to get Congress to respond and state legislatures as well, that have the hands of mayors tied.”

He continued, “He, first of all, it’s not just in the south but across the country. We’ve had a very, very difficult time talking about race. We really don’t know how to talk about it. We’re uncomfortable about it. Other countries have done a better job of trying to have a sense of reconciliation. And the reason that I gave the speech was not just about the statues. It was the attitude that helped put the monuments up. And of course, I tried to draw a distinction, a very careful one, between remembering our past and revering it. And stating very simply, something that should not be hard for us to say, which is that the Civil War, the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history. It was intended to destroy the country, not to unite it, and it was caught for the cause of preserving slavery.”

He added, “Of course, now that we see in the moment that we’re in that when we’re dealing with other issues, whether it’s immigrants, whether it’s transgender, whoever it is, we have a closed society. We’re turning away from each other rather than toward each other. When you begin to judge people based on race, creed, color, sexual orientation, a country of origin, that’s antithetical to what American values are. This entire country is built on the idea that we treat people based on what they do, not who they are, not who they’re related to, but based on what they do. That’s essentially what we have gotten away from. We’ve got to get back to that, and I think the country is going to be better for it if we do.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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