The Critical Mass

What defines a shithole country?

I didn’t giggle once as I watched newscasters and analysts struggling with the word, and as I read headlines surrendering to the word. The word that had been uttered by the President of the United States.

Shithole. It had to be written out, and had to be said, in order to understand what a creep we have running this country. If you didn’t know he is a creep back when he was running for the office, and now you do know it, well, welcome to reality. We’re glad to have you, even if you arrived a little late.

Of course, there are and will always be some people who defend the president’s remarks about Haiti and the nations of Africa being “shithole countries.” Let’s sample a couple.

This is encouraging and refreshing as it indicates Trump is more or less on the same page as us with regards to race and immigration. The real issue is all of these shitty brown people who come to the country exclusively to parasite off of us.

That comes from Daily Stormer, which I’m told is perhaps the most influential neo-Nazi web site in the world.

Here’s another defense:

This is how the forgotten men and women of America talk at the bar.

That’s one of the smart folks from Fox News, who was trying to paint a picture of Trump speaking for the average, hard-working American who sits down in front of a pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon after surviving a hard day’s work in a de-regulated West Virginia coal mine.

Comedy ensued. Someone used an outdoor projector to label one of Trump’s hotels a “Shithole.” The nation of Botswana asked its American ambassador to please clarify if it is considered a shithole country.

But this is a serious issue. These shithole countries, as Trump calls them, are mainly populated by black people. As is the National Football League, whose players Trump has labeled as unpatriotic when they kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the playing of the National Anthem.

Protest is how we’ve gotten things done in America, from the Revolutionary War to Civil Rights. Trump has no problem with the protests of white supremacists. As he noted after the clashes in Charlottesville last summer over removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, when a woman was run over and killed by a white supremacist intentionally driving a car into a crowd of people, “there are good people on both sides.” Trump also did not have a problem with former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was jailed because he ignored a court order against using his department’s racial profiling as a weapon against the immigrants he detests. Trump pardoned Arpaio, freeing him to announce he’s now running for the U.S. Senate. Where it appears he belongs, judging by how so many of its current members’ silence on Trump’s many outrages can be interpreted as compliance.

These are shithole white folks. The examples of Trump’s racism and bigotry and misogynism go on and on and on, and have been known for years. You can look them up for yourselves on the internet. I’m tired of doing so myself, it just depresses the hell out of me.

There’s another way to look at Trump’s declaration that Haiti and the nations of Africa are shithole countries. It’s because these countries are poor. And to a rich man like Trump, being poor is a bad thing.

And yes, being poor is a difficult position in life. And why are these nations poor? They’ve certainly suffered from poor leadership. “Papa Doc” Duvalier ordered the murder of tens of thousands of his fellow countrymen in Haiti. African nations have been plagued by dictators such as Uganda’s Idi Amin and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. But western civilizations haven’t been of much help, if you can even consider slavery, colonization and turning a blind eye to apartheid as civilized.

Human rights is a concern for the 21st century. Human dignity as well. Much of the world, including our closest European allies, have reacted with shock and dismay at Trump’s words and the meaning behind them. But we have been heading in this direction now for a year. Despite having the largest economy in the world, an estimated 43 million Americans live in poverty. Unlike virtually every western nation, we are unable to guarantee our citizens proper health care. The chasm between the 1 percent of rich people in this country and the rest of the population is growing, evolving into the same kind of daunting economic barrier as that faced by the nations of Haiti and Africa.

We are better than this. Or, we should be. The United States has lost its status as the leader of what we have euphemistically called the free world.

We are descending into shithole country status.

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