Deepak Malhotra (Harvard Business School), It’s Time for America’s Business Leaders to Speak Out Against the Threat Trump Poses to Our Republic:
An Open Letter & Call for Action — Signed by Business School Professors from Across America
Polarization in American politics is at record highs, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing strongly on many issues. But the American people—although disheartened by politics, divided on policy, and deadlocked on ideology—are still able to find common ground where it matters most. Indeed, an unprecedented streak of bipartisanship has emerged in recent weeks, with throngs of prominent citizens—representing a wide range of institutions and professions—speaking out against what they consider an existential threat to our Republic.
Large groups of veterans, generals, soldiers, politicians, scientists, doctors, ambassadors, civil servants, lawyers, journalists, and others have now come out against a President who denigrates science, peddles in lies, incites violence, attempts to delegitimize the press, politicizes everything from the justice department to the CDC to the postal service, and seeks to undermine the integrity of American elections. These bipartisan groups—who disagree on many things—now agree that no positive vision for our country can be realized under the continued presidency of Donald Trump.
It is time for business leaders to follow suit and speak out against the threat Trump poses to our country. For a profession that incessantly proclaims the importance of corporate values, makes much ado about CSR initiatives, and proudly embraces a commitment to everything from sustainability, to inclusion, to ethical business practices, it is unacceptable and immoral to remain silent at this time. As the growing list of open letters and editorial statements from other groups makes clear, publicly supporting the Democratic candidate in this election is not a political act. It is an act of conscience. ...
You would be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t feature integrity in its list of corporate values. It is hard to find a CEO who doesn’t want to instill a culture of honesty and accountability in the workplace. And rare is the corporate executive who does not believe that business can be a force for societal good. For a profession so dedicated to creating value, and so allegedly motivated to doing what is right, it is no longer acceptable to stay quiet.
It is time for business leaders to declare publicly what so many have been saying privately: that President Trump is unfit to lead and is a threat to the Republic. And it is time for journalists to start asking America’s CEOs whether they believe four more years of Trump would be good for the country. Ensuring that the Republic survives is not a partisan issue. Demanding a peaceful transfer of power ought not to reveal your political affiliation. And safeguarding our laws, institutions, and norms is important to both Republicans and Democrats. ...
This is not an attempt to change any business leader’s mind about the current president. It is simply a demand that those who already recognize the grave danger Trump poses to our Republic not stay silent. Never more relevant were the words of John Stuart Mill: Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
It is time for our business leaders to exhibit the moral courage and civic-mindedness that they have long professed—and that others have already shown. It is time to sound the alarm.