On shitholes and shitheads

On shitholes and shitheads

Unless you've been incommunicado for the past twenty four hours, you well know that as the bipartisan committee presented its immigration bill to Donald Trump, he blew up and asked why we were accepting immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti and Africa (n.b., Africa isn't a country), rather than targeting countries like Norway (n.b., Norwegians are likely not going to give up their cradle-to-grave welfare state for the bracing individualism of the US).

Every irruption from this creature cements what many of us were warning our fellow-citizens: he is not only unfit for any office, but unworthy of it. He is a crass, boorish, demented, hateful racist. He doesn't have the temperament to lead a family, much less a nation. (Oh, the books his spawn will pen once he chokes on Big Mac.)

But, the majority white America, which lost its mind in 2008 and 2012, was finally able to inflict its psychosis on the rest of us in gleeful revenge. Now it would be its turn in the catbird's seat. It would reclaim what had been ripped from it: a sense of privilege, that it was the motive force in this country, that anyone who disagreed with it was present in this country on sufferance.

The reaction to Trump's comments shows how badly it miscalculated. Aside from the racist core, such language portraying such thought is anathema to the broad public. Even people who voted for Trump, many out of reflex because he was the Republican candidate, may realize what a devil's bargain they made. Is their Ethiopian doctor the product of a "shithole" who should be sent back? Is their Haitian grocer to be unwelcome? How about their Salvadoran gardener, who breaks his back 6 days a week? Racism is all fun in the abstract; when confronted with it, I would hope that most people recoil.

But what this episode shows is that there is, in the end, no bottom to Trump. Just when one thinks that "No, he can't get any worse," he does. Any hopes of a pivot were finally put to rest yesterday. He is exactly what those of us who knew him from our days in New York City were telling you he was.

However, he has now lapsed into a true evil, which he kept partially hidden for box office reasons. Yes, the Central Park 5 loom large in his history. But as his mental faculties decline, he has eschewed all societal control. As he realizes that the presidency is not a kingship, he rages against his impotence by lashing out in the crudest way possible. He is letting us know exactly what he would do were he to have the power. Trains and cattle cars would be involved.

If the countries he calls "shitholes" are so, they are so in large part due to Western colonialism. El Salvador has been under American hegemony for most of the past 100 years, with pliant military dictatorships installed to cement US interests. Anyone with a modicum of historical knowledge would know this.

But these are things which can never be spoken. In true Puritan fashion, the developing world is a "shithole" due solely to its own making. The West had nothing to do with their situations. Anywhere the West goes, it spreads enlightenment. That's the dominant myth.

Of course, the developing world, while struggling, isn't a shithole. Most of its citizens make a go of it in their individual countries. They find meaning in their day to day lives, much like those of us in the prosperous West. If anything, it's the adventurous, the go-getters, who seek opportunities in other countries. Those are exactly the people we should be welcoming, not denigrating.

The task of our time is clear: to defeat and destroy Trumpism so completely that its like never rears its head again. An anxious world is counting on us.



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