My short bio: My name is Matt Zeller and I am a US Army Afghan War veteran, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and author of Watches Without Time (Just World Books, 2012). My interpreter, Janis, saved my life in a firefight in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008. The Taliban responded by putting Janis on the top of their kill list. After 3 years and the assistance of numerous Congressmen and media outreach, I welcomed my interpreter home to the US in October of 2013. He arrived in the United States with basically only the clothes on his back. I created a GoFundMe page for my interpreter to help his family restart their lives in the US, and strangers donated close to $35,000 to help him. When I went to give Janis the check, he turned it down, asking me if we could start a nonprofit to help the interpreters who are still stuck in Afghanistan, and who arrive with nothing in the United States. I had no experience with nonprofit work. Two years later, I am now the Co-Founder and CEO of No One Left Behind, a nonprofit with 9 chapters in various US cities, and we have helped nearly 1,000 people resettle in the United States. However, we know that there are another 10,000 interpreters and their families still waiting for the State Department to process their visa applications. Ask Me Anything.

My Proof:

Video of an interpreter who we saved from the Taliban

Coverage of No One Left Behind in the Wall Street Journal

Thank you for all of your questions and support. I'm signing off for the night, but feel free to PM if you have any questions or want to help out. It was a pleasure. -Matt

Comments: 58 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

Frajer6 karma

What is the exact role of an interpreter ?

No1LeftBehind10 karma

Interpreters (aka "terps") provide a variety of services - the most common are real time/simultaneous translation and profound cultural awareness.

My terp was more important to me than my weapon. Janis literally shot and killed two Taliban fighters who were about to kill me in a firefight. He was my voice to the Afghan people, he was my eyes and ears (far better attuned to understand the world around him than I), and he was also another soldier, willing to use a weapon lethally to defend his team.

-Tukani-4 karma

How does a typical day during war look like?

No1LeftBehind8 karma

Normally, war is profound, long periods of boring punctuated by staccatos of seemingly random chaotic violence. There's a lot of sitting around waiting for something to happen. There's a lot of down time where you spend having profoundly deep conversations with the people with whom you serve. You end up knowing them better than anyone else. Ultimately, it's a roller coaster of emotions. There are extreme highs, and the lowest of lows. There's nothing quite like it. You realize after it's over that you'll never feel as alive as you did then. You also learn just how precious and fleetingly fragile all life is and if there's any lesson to be taken away, it's to treasure every moment, because it can be taken away in an instant.

tooomine3 karma

What's the story about how your interpreter saved you life? I'm working on being a translator in international politics, and I would love to know some of the dangers he and you faced?

No1LeftBehind15 karma

If you have time, you can hear Janis and I tell the story in our own words on NPR or watch me picking him up from the airport. I was in the worst firefight of my life, and Janis shot two Taliban fighters who had been sneaking up behind me. When he saved my life, I didn't even remember his name, having only met him once for about 5 minutes 10 days prior. The next day, at breakfast, I asked him if I could sit with him and asked him why he had killed two fellow Afghans just to save me, and Janis told me that because I am a guest in his country, he is honor bound to protect me and ensure that I return home safely to my family. I am one of five American veterans who Janis directly saved in combat.

There are many different types of interpreters. For me, Janis was not only an interpreter, he is my brother and a fellow veteran. He spent 8 years on the front lines. He has survived many IED blasts, he has been shot at, he has experienced everything that I experienced as a combat veteran and more. He did this knowing the entire time that the Taliban would kill him, his parents, his wife, or his children if they ever found them. Additionally, the difference in how we are treated for our service is a tragedy. I won the birth lottery. I had the luck of being born an American. I spent one year at war. During my tour, I was injured, and as a result, I get free healthcare from the VA for the rest of my life. I purchased my home using a VA backed mortgage. Walmart guarantees me a job - all because I'm a veteran who won the birth lottery. Janis didn't win the birth lottery, he was born an Afghan in 1978 (the year before the Soviets invaded.) And yet, had Janis been born an American, we would celebrate him as an 8 tour combat veteran. Unlike me, Janis didn't go home after each year - he went on to the next mission, and the next unit year after year. Because Janis didn't win the birth lottery, he doesn't get to go to the VA and Walmart doesn't guarantee him a job. Of the 56,000 organizations serving veterans in the United States, No One Left Behind is the only organization that will acknowledge his service and counts him as a fellow veteran.

josandal3 karma

Here are a few questions for you, good sir:

  1. What's the biggest hurdle you and NOLB face in getting interpreters settled?
  2. Have you ever partnered with or learned from resettlement organizations that specialize in things like refugees?
  3. With all the talk about whether or not states should or should not take refugees from Syria in the news lately, have you faced similar questions recently as you have tried to spread word about your non-profit?
  4. Can you share, in a general sense, about how many interpreters NOLB has welcomed to the US, where they’ve settled and a sense of what they do now?

No1LeftBehind3 karma

  1. The biggest hurdle that we face in resettling interpreters is that most Americans (aside from veterans) have no idea that this population exists. Despite NOLB's extensive media presence, most Americans do not know how essential our interpreters were in combat or the danger that is facing them. As soon as we tell people what we do, we get offers of support and assistance. But it takes a lot of time to explain what we do as well as trying to develop a clear and concise message while simultaneously explaining who we are helping. At the chapter level, our three main concerns are housing, transportation, and employment, but resources for those concerns begin to fall into place after people hear about who we serve and why.

  2. Yes! We have MOU with numerous Catholic Charities offices. Our national level Director of Resettlement Operations, Mica Varga, actually spent 5 years working for a CWS/EMM joint affiliate, so we have great respect for their work. In the first two years of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program, less than 60 interpreters were approved to come to the US. (If you have not yet seen it, please watch John Oliver's coverage of SIV applicants!) When Janis' visa was revoked, the International Refugee Assistance Project and I conducted a media and advocacy campaign which resulted in Janis getting his visa, but it also resulted in the Afghan SIV laws being revised several times. Mica was still working at the resettlement agency at this point, and she remembers when her agency went from resettling one Afghan SIV family every 8 months to resettling about 8 families in a single month. I feel responsible for slamming the resettlement agencies with Afghan SIVs. In addition, SIVs are primarily not refugees (I'll elaborate on the overlap in question 4.) If you're a case manager at a refugee resettlement agency who is working 60 hours per week and you know that it's physically impossible to see all your clients regularly, who are you going to spend the most time helping: an interpreter, who speaks at least passable English, and who understands at least some of US culture (even if they learned that culture from Special Forces and Marines...which may not help them get a job...) or a refugee single mom who spend the last 10 years in a refugee camp and who is completely illiterate in every language, speaks no English, and has never worked outside the home? This is how SIVs frequently fall through the cracks by no fault of their own. NOLB views SIVs as veterans first, refugees second. How much time do we spend preparing our service members to transition out of the military? How many nonprofits help veterans learn how to write a standard resume, how to talk about their military skills and experience, and how to find a job outside of the military? The resettlement agencies, by and large, have little to no experience with the unique challenges facing interpreters with combat experience. In addition, they mental health concerns of a combat veteran who carried a weapon and assisted in the interrogation of insurgents typically are not exactly the same as a refugee who fled their home country. Case managers without military experience, while extremely skilled at dealing with refugees may not have the qualifications, knowledge, or training needed to effectively serve this unique population. Basically, we attempt to support the resettlement agencies in their work, but also fill in the gaps wherever possible. Also, since most of our funding is not allocated to specific programming or specific tasks, while we have worked to develop a structured approach, the fact that we have general funding and donations that we can use our best judgement in how to best help a family. For example, we are able to respond when an interpreter contacts us two weeks away from homelessness in Mississippi, and we were able to help him move to an area where there are jobs and volunteers to welcome him or when an interpreter contacts us saying that if he waits for IOM to book his flight, he will almost certainly be killed. We let the resettlement agencies do what they do best, and we operate with a military mindset - we have a mission, and we will accomplish it.

  3. While we view our clients as veterans moreso than refugees, refugees and SIVs situations will always be tied together due to how the US government throws them under the category of refugees. Many of our supporters view interpreters as a different group who should take precedence over refugees. We would like to think that there is room for both groups in the US. We do not seek to gain an advantage for our clients by pushing against refugee resettlement. Also, while (as I mentioned above) in normal circumstances SIVs are not refugees, in some cases they are forced to become refugees (typically due to either bureaucracy, the slow process of approving or denying a SIV application, and the lack of a fair appeals process for SIV applicants.) For example, NOLB's Director of Operation Lost in Translation, Aaron Fleming, is trying to bring his Afghan interpreter and battle partner to live in his home in Missouri. Aaron's interpreter, Sami, had to flee Afghanistan and is now part of the flow of refugees who are in Germany. Sami left Afghanistan after his wife's parents threatened to turn Sami into the Taliban to be executed. There is also the heartbreaking situation for Iraqi interpreters - we still have troops in Iraq, we still have interpreters working for us, yet the SIV application process closed to new applicants in 2014. Those interpreters who are threatened in Iraq have no options other than the refugee resettlement process. If the bill that the house already passed is signed into law, then Iraqi interpreters and their families will be in extreme risk. I also know many, many young Iraqi interpreters (some of whom are now citizens!) who are waiting for their parents and siblings to get approved as refugees. It is morally reprehensible to imagine combat interpreters' families being murdered due to anti immigrant rhetoric. Finally, there is also discussion of cutting funding to refugee resettlement programs across the US. Part of the reason why NOLB's work is so important is because over the last ten years, the funding offered to refugees (and therefore interpreters) has been cut, and cut, and cut. Right now, NOLB is in 9 cities, and we intend to expand to an additional 10 cities in 2016. We are incredibly fearful of what will happen if young single interpreters are forced to choose between being homeless in the United States or staying in Iraq/Afghanistan and getting tortured and killed by ISIS/Taliban/Al Qaeda. NOLB will do everything we can to stop this scenario.

  4. NOLB is on pace to have served 1,000 individuals this year. We have 9 chapters across the US (Washington DC, Rochester NY, Boston, Chicago, Omaha NE, Denver CO, San Francisco, San Diego, and our currently-in-transition Charlottesville VA chapter.) The biggest Afghan communities in the US are in San Francisco, the DC area, and Texas. However, we have very robust chapters in some other areas (like Chicago and Denver.) I'll tease the fact that NOLB is soon going to be opening our first chapter in Texas, and we have a huge interest of getting a chapter up and running in Philadelphia, due to constant need (we had to send a load of furniture up to some interpreters in Philly who didn't even have a refrigerator in their apartment, and who were sleeping on the floor.)

Sorry it's so long! You asked a lot! Thanks for the great questions, please let me know if you want clarification for any of those points!

No1LeftBehind2 karma

Also, missed one question about what they're doing now... We have a variety of employer partners and are always trying to add more. A couple of employers of note... Ted Britt Ford, in the Washington DC area, has hired about 10 former interpreters in both their maintenance and sales departments. AT&T's recruiters are fantastic at working with us, and there are a few different call centers who are willing to employ our clients. There are also a bunch of security companies who jump at the chance to hire such highly qualified men and women. We also have a lot of interpreters who are enlisting, as well.

No1LeftBehind2 karma

I was on your fourth question when my browser glitched and refreshed the page. I promise, an extensive answer is coming :)

No1LeftBehind2 karma

Also, another note on refugee and interpreter resettlement: this is still a bipartisan issue with wide support from a multitude of American leaders. As a veteran run nonprofit, honor and loyalty tend to be high on our list of values.

YouMake2 karma

As a veteran what is your take on PMCs? Would you yourself ever consider joining one?

No1LeftBehind3 karma

No. I believe providing for the common defense is an inherently governmental function. That being said, as recent experience shows in Yemen, private armies may well play a very significant role in future wars:

2112mike2 karma

When these interpreters arrive in CONUS, where will they all go and what will they do?

No1LeftBehind10 karma

When they arrive, they are free to live wherever they'd like. Many end up in the Greater DC area, in and around Houston, Dallas, and the Bay Area in San Francisco. Many end up getting jobs delivering pizzas, working at Walmart, Target, car dealerships.

But, the sad reality is, many end up homeless and chronically unemployed. The deck is truly stacked against them - they arrive without any credit history, their education is basically considered worthless (because it wasn't completed here, Canada, or Western Europe), and they have no verifiable previous tax employment history in the US (all Giant red flags when one applies for a lease, financing for a car, a job, etc...).

Many companies now employ HR software solutions that simply parse out their applications before a human being even looks at them. We have a guy in the DC area. He asked me to help him get a job at a local grocery store - Harris Teeter. We went to apply in person. He was told to go home and apply online. Many people, including him, come without a computer or even a concept of what it means to apply for a job online (it just doesn't happen in Afghanistan or Iraq). Nevertheless, we made him a resume and helped him fill out the application. He never even got an interview. We figured the software used to parse applications deemed his "too expensive to verify" (no credit history, no tax employment history, education claimed from some school in Afghanistan = very expensive to investigate). The HR software dropped his application from consideration before it was seen by a human being.

The irony - he was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has 25,000+ people who follow him on twitter:

_Honu_2 karma

What did your terp eventually have to apply for to get legal status here? Is it the same as refugee status? And is there anything for this person or other terps to get priority handling of their paperwork?

No1LeftBehind4 karma

The process couldn't be more herculean. Its by far the most stringent and difficult process of any visa issued by the US. To earn one, a translator must meet the following criteria:

  1. Prove to the US State Department that they provided at least one year of "honorable and valuable" service to the US government in either Afghanistan or Iraq during the wars. They accomplish this by submitting letters of recommendation authored by US military personnel/US government civilians attesting to the time, duration, and quality of their service. They must ALSO submit an additional letter from the Third Party contractor who physically paid them for their translation services.

  2. Prove to the US State Department that they are in duress due to their service to the US - i.e. they have to prove someone is trying to kill them (which is honestly insult to injury at this point, but I digress).

  3. Pass a comprehensive National Security Background investigation done by every single component of the US Intelligence Community. They must be unanimously investigated and cleared to travel to the US by every single entity in the US Intelligence Community.

The average time it takes to make it through the process is 3-4 years.

John Oliver did an amazing job covering it on Last Week Tonight:

Here's the State Department's official take on it:

CrypticEra2 karma

I've been following the page on Facebook. I'm very interested in your organization, human rights and humanitarian efforts. Is there a way to get more involved?

No1LeftBehind3 karma

We have a few ongoing needs all the time: If you live in one of our chapter areas (Washington DC, Rochester NY, Boston, Chicago, Omaha NE, Denver CO, San Francisco, and San Diego) then we always need a variety of hands on volunteers to welcome interpreters home. This includes anything from welcoming interpreters at the airport, delivering furniture, finding affordable housing, mentoring new arrivals, and helping former interpreters find employment in the USA. If you live outside of those areas, we also can use assistance contacting employers or other foundations or advocating on behalf of interpreters to Congress. We will also be expanding our work into additional cities in the upcoming year, so if we're not in your city right now that doesn't mean we won't be soon.

Send us a PM if you're interested and we can get you linked in with the applicable person on our team. :) Thanks!!

FudgeTosser2 karma

Is it true that the Afghan security forces spend most of their free time smoking weed and buggering each other? I've heard this from quite a few people who served over there.

No1LeftBehind6 karma

Not at all. While marijuana is far more prevalent and socially accepted in Afghan culture, I cannot recall a single time the Afghan Security Forces I worked with were stoned.

No1LeftBehind2 karma

Many ask, who are the translators and why should we help them? Our response - meet Naqeeb:

comic_squirrel2 karma

With so many government agencies needing people with language skills why are these interpreters not being given work in the US? Also, is this something No One Left Behind could maybe supply them with? I see a lot of need for language training or a skilled person but very little places to either learn or get skilled people.

No1LeftBehind3 karma

NOLB has attempted this route. However, when our interpreters were overseas they had local security clearances. As it stands, after interpreters arrive in the United States they become legal permanent residents (green card holders) for 5 years. After five years, they become eligible to apply for citizenship. We have a few Iraqi friends who are now citizens and looking for this sort of work (one in particular who only wants to go fight ISIS!) but until they get citizenship they are not eligible for most of these kinds of jobs. Basically, all of the interpreters are forced to start over upon arrival.

nobodynose2 karma

How is Janis doing now?

No1LeftBehind5 karma

Janis is doing well, first of all, he's safe in the United States! We just got to spend Thanksgiving together, which is a new family tradition for us. Our children are growing up together as cousins. We hope to bring this experience to all of the interpreters and their families who earned their safety and a warm welcome. Janis is working full time in logistics, and adjusting very well to the US. Janis is a leader within the Afghan interpreter community in our initial chapter (Washington DC) and frequently spends his weekends distributing furniture to newly arrived families. (This past weekend, he helped us distribute furniture to 5 newly arrived families who literally had nothing - were sleeping on the floor, eating on the floor, etc.)

However, Janis has the same pressure as the rest of our interpreters who make it successfully to the US: His parents and siblings are still in Afghanistan and still being threatened by the Taliban for his service. We are hoping to convince Congress to change the laws for the Afghan SIV program to mirror the Iraq SIV program, so that interpreters like Janis can bring their family members who are also under threat with them to the United States.

grubber261 karma

I've read a lot about the raw deal most of the interpreters are receiving after doing a very dangerous job. Why can't the US government (and our Australian govt has done the same bloody thing so I include them in this) just use part of the normal annual refugee intake to accept these guys and their families?

I think this situation is a huge failure on behalf of the governments who actively solicited these interpreters and it seems then are happy to leave them for the wolves.

No1LeftBehind1 karma

I agree. One of our biggest frustrations is that the US government treats visas like there is a finite number of visas. In fiscal year 2015, the US "used" all the available visas. Congress can make any number of visas available. We feel as though any interpreter who can complete the strict application process and background checks should be guaranteed a visa. We also believe that any relative who is also proven to have been threatened for a loved one's service and who can also pass the same background check process should be able to join their family in the US. We have had clients' families receive letters on their cars or on their front doors saying "We know that your relative XXX is in the United States. He has been tried in absentia and sentenced to death. He has two choices: he can come back to Afghanistan and surrender himself, or we will send a suicide bomber to this house." Simply unacceptable.

You can feel proud about one thing - Australia takes care of their interpreters after arrival. Their housing is guaranteed after arrival, regardless of their ability to find a job. The government assistance offered to interpreters after arrival in the US typically does not cover even the cost of housing, aside from any other expenses. Most interpreters find a job in the US within a couple of months, so it's not a case of people who want to come and be "taken care of." However, most of these men and women have been hiding from the Taliban/Al Qaeda/ISIS for years, and have used up whatever savings they may have had while working. We also find it shameful for these men and women to arrive in the US to be homeless, or to apartments that are empty of everything except for bedbugs and rats.

grubber261 karma

That's nice to hear about here with regards the housing, I hadn't read of that. Just a number of interpreters left behind. Thank you for that, will look up further information on it.

I read/heard about the stories of what was being done/threatened to the interpreters and their families back in the ME. Horrified me to think of abandoning people who have worked in that environment with you, risked their lives before and after, etc. and to just leave them. It just doesn't sit right. At all.

You and Janis are doing a great thing. Best of luck.

EDIT: Is it really not that well known in the US? I have been seeing stories for at least 12 months about it. I am surprised the issue isn't more well known.

No1LeftBehind1 karma

Thank you! It's frequently reported on, yet most average Americans have no idea about this issue. We have calculated that between just the interpreters and their immediate families (ignoring the extended families such as Janis' parents and siblings) there's about 50,000 people accounted for just in the pending SIV applications.

Troppin1 karma

First off, thanks for your service and I respect what you are doing.

With that said, during my time in Iraq I was witness to several incidences of local-hired interpreters who betrayed American interests. There is a circle-jerk on Reddit about how anyone who worked as an interpreter should be given safe passage to America.

I am completely against this. Those who served with fidelity should be given the opportunity, but there are legitimate reasons to be cautious. Double-agents working as interpreters have been proven to exist. I have personally witnessed it.

In addition, interpreters working for the US were very well paid. They received salaries better than the average grunt, as well as less working hours and more frequent vacations. The high pay they received is even more astounding given the fact that Iraq/Afghanistan have a very low cost-of-living. The idea that America owes them is a fallacy.

When it is justified, I fully support interpreters being given the opportunity to apply for US residency. But let's not kid ourselves and pretend that every person who accepted a job should be embraced.

So my question is, does your organization have a vetting process for who it supports?

No1LeftBehind8 karma

We only support people who have qualified to earn a US Special Immigrant Visa.

Here's what that entails:

  1. Prove to the US State Department that they provided at least one year of "honorable and valuable" service to the US government in either Afghanistan or Iraq during the wars. They accomplish this by submitting letters of recommendation authored by US military personnel/US government civilians attesting to the time, duration, and quality of their service. They must ALSO submit an additional letter from the Third Party contractor who physically paid them for their translation services.

  2. Prove to the US State Department that they are in duress due to their service to the US - i.e. they have to prove someone is trying to kill them (which is honestly insult to injury at this point, but I digress).

  3. Pass a comprehensive National Security Background investigation done by every single component of the US Intelligence Community. They must be unanimously investigated and cleared to travel to the US by every single entity in the US Intelligence Community.

The average time it takes to make it through the process is 3-4 years.

John Oliver did an amazing job covering it on Last Week Tonight:

Here's the State Department's official take on it:

Also your claim that the terps made more than US troops is completely wrong. My translator made an average of $400 a month. The lowest paid US soldier makes $1500 a month:

The average pay for Afghans and Iraqis hired to provide translation services never exceeded $800 a month to my knowledge. Now, US citizens who went to Iraq to provide translation services made way more than the troops, but they aren't the people we're discussing here - they're already citizens.

sassy-mufasa1 karma

Matt, what is being done to streamline the appeal process for the SIV applicants that get denied based on Mission Essential Personnel's polygraph screening failure and job abandonment claims. Will there be an independent review of the so called "blacklist" and streamlined process to remove individuals from the list?

No1LeftBehind1 karma

That is our hope. We are advocating for a fair appeal process (because telling an interpreter who worked for 4 years that "Your case has been denied due to derogatory information associated with your case, you have 90 days to appeal this decision if you wish" is not only unfair, it is a death sentence for interpreters. We are always advocating on behalf of these interpreters to Congress. For example, we have been helping a US veteran named Kyle Steward who came to NOLB saying, "I lost my leg in Afghanistan, and my last mission is to bring my interpreter home."

No1LeftBehind1 karma

Also, have you called your Congressmen yet to express your concern at the process of blacklisting and that independent contractors are trusted more than American combat veterans? We need your help!

gangmarv1 karma

The biggest Afghan communities in the interrogation of insurgents typically are not exactly the same as refugee status?

No1LeftBehind1 karma

Can you clarify your question please? Typically interpreters or Afghans working for the US military are not refugees (although as discussed above, there are some interpreters who were forced to flee Afghanistan in order to survive, and have now been swept up in the wave of refugee migration.) Those cases tend to be an exception rather than the rule.

cujo1731 karma

My local VFW chapter helped get an interpreter settled in the U.S. I want to thank you for the work you are doing. I wanted to ask if there is a network set up for the interpreters and their families to reach out to others in their area or online/via phone, to help support one another or just to speak to others going through the same challenges?

No1LeftBehind1 karma

Much respect for you guys! In our chapter areas, we build that network through both American volunteers/mentors who can help the community get established (how do I go shopping? how do I use the laundrymat? how do I find a job? how do I take the bus? etc.) as well as people from the same country (where is the best place to buy Afghan bread? etc.) Every single chapter that we have has a few "leaders" who we depend on to help us welcome new arrivals and help explain the struggles of immigrating to the US. That said, our team has a great network, so we could definitely arrange something if you have an interpreter needs someone to talk to. Just wondering, where is that interpreter living? I couldn't tell based on the article if he's in Texas or New Orleans. If he's in Texas, which city? Feel free to PM for contact info, would love to keep in touch.

PermTrouble0 karma

What's your favorite faction in Fallout 4?

No1LeftBehind9 karma

I haven't played video games since Goldeneye - but I was a beast in Battle Mode with Oddjob.

no_more_suicides-7 karma

Do you think women really have what it takes, or are they more or less just good at complaining? I think a woman invented a fancy new lavender handle for hair brushes, but besides that...?

No1LeftBehind2 karma

Having served with women in combat I know just how ferocious they can be. I would happily return to war with women at any time. I have found their service to be nothing but honorable and capable, and that my soldiers ultimately didn't give a damn about a person's gender or sexuality, rather whether they would do their duty when called upon. All they cared about was whether the person on their left and right had their back. Anyone who says differently has no idea what the hell they're talking about. Also, as the dad of an amazing daughter, the son of a powerhouse of a mom who has two PhDs, and the boyfriend of the strongest person I know (who also just happens to be a woman) I find your question and its tone to be the epitome of what is wrong with America today. Its the 21st century.