Edition 1496
13 October 2018
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Shithole Countries

by Gwynne Dyer, in News · 18-01-2018 14:12:00 · 6 Comments

Poor Donald Trump. He was simply asking for information, and they’re all over him as if he were a racist thug. His choice of words was unfortunate, but the angels rejoice when an ignorant person seeks enlightenment. We should take his question seriously and answer it for him.

Shithole Countries

What Trump asked last Thursday was: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” From the context – he was meeting with congressmen and senators who were working on immigration issues – it’s clear that by ‘shithole countries’ he meant Central American and African countries. El Salvador and Haiti came in for special mention.
What marks these countries out is that many of them are very poor, and some of them are plagued by war, crime and/or massive corruption. But most of the immigrants to the US have always come from countries like that: people who are safe and prosperous generally don’t abandon the countries they grew up in.
The first wave of Irish who went to the United States in the mid-19th century were driven by famine at home. The German, Polish and Italian immigrants of the same period were fleeing both poverty and political repression; the Russian Jews were also fleeing anti-Semitic violence. They would all have been ‘shithole countries’ at the time.
They are all safer, more prosperous places now, and the sources of the migrant flows have changed – but the motives of the migrants have not. Donald Trump should already have known that, since he grew up in New York City, but maybe he was just too privileged and isolated. At any rate, I’m glad to have cleared it up for him – and now that he understands the process all he has to do is clean up his language.
No, wait a moment. Trump had another question, too. He wanted to know why the United States couldn’t bring in immigrants from non-shithole places like Norway instead. This is a little harder to answer, because it’s a question of definition: the whole concept of a shithole depends heavily on your perspective.
Fom the point of view of Mexicans or Cubans, for example, El Salvador and Haiti are indeed shitholes (although they are far too polite ever to say that out loud). And from the viewpoint of a Norwegian, the United States is....Well, let me leave that question to Dr Christian Christensen, a Norwegian-American currently living and working in Sweden, who tweeted as follows:
“Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to get shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they are poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidised daycare, and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole.” A bit heavy on the sarcasm, but you get the point. Trump will have to make do with immigrants who are – how shall we put this? – darker than Norwegians.
And this brings us to the heart of the matter. Trump is a racist: such a dyed-in-the-wool racist that he is virtually unconscious of it. He openly says that he prefers immigrants from nice, white countries like Norway to brown or black immigrants from ‘shithole countries’.
He was so confident that every American who had ever voted for him or ever might shared his views that he didn’t even deny what he had said right away. It was reported as soon as the meeting finished on Thursday, but the first White House statement just defended his remarks: “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
It was more than 24 hours later, with the outrage still growing both at home and abroad, that Trump finally put out the usual statement (we’ve heard it on dozens of other occasions) denying that he had said what many people – senior members of Congress, in this case – had heard him saying. It’s the kind of damage control that doesn’t really control the damage.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his audience that Trump’s ‘shithole’ comments were “something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with.” Wrong. What he should have said was “almost every single American who watches Fox News.”
Very few non-white Americans agree with this kind of talk, and a large number of white Americans, maybe as many as half, don’t either. That adds up to a 65-70 percent majority who don’t agree. Trump will not win this argument, and Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, knows it.
“There are, I have to say, a growing number of white Americans who are afraid of and do not want to see the browning of America. They have a picture-perfect 1950s view of mother wearing an apron as dad, in a hat, goes off to work. It looks a lot more like them than it does me, but America is starting to look more like me.”
Michael Steele is an African-American.

Comments

I think you are a blithering buffoon and you know nothing about President Trump and you are a disgrace to Portuguese the world over.
by Joao Cagao from Other on 28-05-2018 06:18:00
Mr. Armstrong. What your response to this article presents is not entirely true. SOME at the meeting have stated that they didn't specifically recall that term used, or have declined to comment. Others recall that Trumps rhetoric was strong but did not recall that specific term, and still others have confirmed the statement.

Lindsay Graham, of SC, has generally been a Trump supporter, although not initially. And while I personally do not agree with his position on many political political issues, he is a die hard Repulican and supporter of the GOP. It serves no purpose for him (or to him) to call out Trump for the language he is (I will grant you "alledged") to have said. However, I do not find it far-fetched that Trump would say such a thing. He has made his racist opinions abundantly clear on many other occasions, although a bit more veiled. As most Trump supporters say, one of the things they admire about him is that he speaks his mind (though one might argue he often uses his mind much before speaking.)

In full disclosure, while I am an American citizen, I recently moved to Portugal. And by no means would be considered a Trump supporter.
by LISA FUNSTON from USA on 30-01-2018 10:04:00
Mr. Steele is spot on. Like Mr. Steele, who is an African American, I am less-than "white". I am a Jewish American. I am outside the WASP zone and so percieve things in a non-Trump way. My fathers family left their "shit-hole", when My great grandfather was murdered in a pogrom. My father loved America as only an immigrant can. He fought in the second world war, voted and paid his taxes, but he never could actually grasp the Racism in the US, even when he was a victim of it. At some point, Mr. Trumps ancestors left their "shit-hole" and came here for a better life. How is it he has forgotten that? How have so many Americans forgotten? Mr. Trump's family made their fortune In New York. He needs to remember that the big statue out in the harbor doesn't welcome him to New York, it welcomes all of us from some "shit-hole", to come build a better life and country.
by Jonathan Wexler from Algarve on 23-01-2018 05:52:00
Fvckoff snowfake pos.
by Daco from Algarve on 23-01-2018 06:21:00
I'm a little disappointed that you almost, but didn't quite, say it, so here it is: America is a shithole country.
by Winston Whitebread from USA on 22-01-2018 08:46:00
I read your article and I see who the racist is it's the one sided writer of this article! The US Senator who said President Trump made this statement lied and that was confirmed by other US Senators at the meeting. I will defend the President because he is not the YES man that was elected the last three times as President. Our President does not cave in to all you far left communists/socialist who have ruined your own countries. I feel sorry for your parents who have to claim you as their children! Shame on you as you write about what you don't know!!!
by Roy Armstrong from USA on 21-01-2018 12:05:00

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Edition 1496
13 October 2018
Edition: 1496

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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