Many people worthy of trust and respect are seriously upset about the president’s crudeness. He reportedly asked why “we” should allow people from various so-called “shithole” countries to immigrate to the United States? For all of its crudeness, offensiveness and vulgarity, it is a very good question – one we should not be afraid to ask.
Well, the circumstance of the comment and the comment itself are both fairly straightforward, even simple. But the inherent permutations and nuances are profound, sad, and instructive. This requires some parsing and mapping of the “splatter” that has emanated from the splat of a single word into the miasma of politics, hate, government, and the “American Dream… not to mention social media and hate. Didn’t I already mention “hate?” We shouldn’t overlook hate as a driver in modern… umm, modern ahhh, well… modern everything: media, news, broadcasting, ‘friend’ships, dialogue, religion, holidays, commerce, advertising, movies, philosophy and casual rumination. Facebook, too. Sad.
So, first observation is that every person who has talked about, proclaimed about or even thought about the description of many countries as “shitholes,” could in a few minutes, list a dozen or two dozen countries that fit the description! Let’s change the term to “backward countries” and each could list three dozen. What does it mean to make the identification?
It means, generally, that those countries have truly crappy politics. Our politics are pretty crappy, too, granted, but, as Churchill observed, democracy is the worst form of government ever tried… except for all the others. Corollary to that gem is this: The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Even those who could construct a list of “backward” countries probably cannot describe what is “wrong” with their politics – the system of leaders, laws and lies that govern their populations. Typically, under the blanket of crappy politics, the economics of these countries are also pretty crappy… sorry, “backward.” The result is extreme stratification, poor education, low skill levels, limited industrialization and little imagination. Simultaneously, the BELIEFS of their citizens are likely to be very different from those of the majority of ours.
Changing beliefs is the primal tool for the weakening and subjugation of peoples.
One might reply that “America is the melting pot” and go on to predict that “we” will “make” those unfortunate immigrants “better” and therefore more like ourselves. Seems like hubris. This attitude sounds magnanimous and sympathetic but it was never true. If there is an American myth, that’s it. We have functioned fairly well as a “salad bowl,” but never as a melting pot. Americans of every origin and kind learned to live and thrive together, yet they were never forced to change who they were, beyond learning and following our constitution and laws. But there were very distinct differences about when America “worked” and how things are, now, when so many consider our country and institutions to be “broken.” The key is a grand misunderstanding of what is “The American Dream.”
The real and enduring “American Dream” can be stated only thus: That all kinds of people can come together in FREEDOM, respective of one another, respective of law and reason, free to follow God as each sees fit, and responsible to themselves and others for the consequences of their actions. This sentence summarizes the U. S. Constitution’s connection to individuals. Not connection to groups, cliques, whether religious, emotional or political, but to individuals, much the way that Jesus described individual responsibility to the laws of God. “America” represents the boundless opportunity offered to every individual to perfect him or her self: the pursuit of happiness. And no less, or more.
This is not how many view the “American Dream” or “America,” itself, today. Socialist thought perceives control of individuals as the high point of governance, the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ or of the values and purpose behind the founding of the United States. To accomplish complete control – and different kinds of socialists have tried many ways to do so – it is essential to place people into groups, or “identities” for whom certain laws will apply, whether to control that group or apply to another group or to all others(!) in order to control THEM. There is no clearer example than brown-skinned people as an over-group, and African-Americans, as the driving sub-group, and descendants of slaves, the most exalted of the “drivers.” Barring descent from slaves, having marched in Selma or having stood near Martin Luther King, Jr., suffices.
As with the growth of federal welfare programs, the epithet of “racist” has become almost standard within the belief structure of many black or brown-skinned residents of the U. S. The charge of “racist” works to control the “other group” of essentially all “Whites,” including modifying their language and actions. This has yielded political power to the modern kind of socialists: American liberals. This, in part, explains the immediate descent to charges of racism emanating from one participant of the immigration meeting during which the president spoke so crudely. But, it doesn’t make it true.
Welfare, itself, is a gigantic difference, since the 1960’s, from when earlier waves of immigrants reached our shores. Those from Ireland, for example, came to take care of themselves and their families, as did Italians, Poles, Portugese, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns and Germans, Russians, Albanians, Greeks, Turks, Syrians, Lebanese and Egyptians and many others. Did they come perfectly? No. We didn’t send ships or planes to bring them here more quickly, either. They were strong and self-selected to endure the sacrifice of leaving everything behind to start anew. This is no longer so.
Immigrants in recent decades have been encouraged and assisted for purposes of “diversity,” the opposite of e pluribus unum. Immigrants , today, receive fundamental – and generously comforting – public support, benefits, even cash, yet are not required to meet ANY tests applied to earlier generations. They need not learn English, they need not become citizens (refugees, asylees) they need not assimilate. Indeed, they need not even follow laws, often being released for offenses that citizens pay dearly for committing. One might observe that their beliefs are not those of the “American Dream,” but of taking advantage of our official guilts and sympathies… or of selling drugs, or worse.
We are stretching our capacities to accommodate immigrants, including illegal entrants, even to the point of breaking our own laws, local and federal, to make them comfortable. Yes, we are an “immigrant” nation, by past definition – most assuredly not by the current one. I am glad someone with authority and sensibility is asking, “Why should we welcome immigrants from the (backward) countries of the world?” What we have been doing of late is certainly not in the national interest, which is the primary business of a president, one hopes, although it may fulfill the interests of political partisans and of those who wish America to not exist as we know it. Ask that question again, Mr. President, louder.
A second observation instructs that the president cannot, ever, trust in the confidence or even honesty of anyone from Congress or the “press” and damned few from the executive branch. Trump failed to take note of the many lessons of the past year and more, when he posed the question everyone in the room, except Mr. Durbin possibly, a mendacious Democrat of proven, documented unreliability, was thinking and should be thinking: Why should we welcome immigrants who are unlikely to contribute to our economy or standards of living, and whose beliefs are antithetical to the fundaments of the U. S. Constitution or of the “American Dream.”
The ridiculous process of “hating” the president (and others) for so many things of which most of us are also guilty, and so readily accusing him of racism, transphobia, Islamophobia or a dozen other awful constructs, is corrosive and intensely destructive of our “unum” for which millions have bled and died, sacrificed and struggled. If we are seeking perfection in or from our elected leaders we are fools. They need, like John Kennedy, only to be pure enough to set a course that is pro-American. The conversations never disclosed, that the Kennedys had then, or that brother Ted ever had, or by ANY other president, would curl our earlobes. The profanity and privately voiced prejudices of EVERY president, have been, until recently, kept out of the news because their disclosure would have been so destructively irresponsible. What we didn’t know didn’t hurt us; had we known all of it we’d have been damaged and history made far different.
News outlets of every kind hope to make history by ripping away confidentiality, no matter the damage. Their hatreds justify the damage… for shame. Do we think – do I think – that Trump will become perfect in order to avoid that damage? Hardly. When I pray about him it is to cause some intercession that will abridge the worst of his impulsive communication. It is not that he will disappear, leaving leadership to others. I have no love for him, but no hatred. I grasp his attitudes, and even share some, not, I hope, the worst of them. But then, I try to live on purpose and not in comparison, as does he, I suspect.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. For all of his flaws I believe Trump is on stage exactly when needed by this country. I want him to succeed where his direction and intention is right and best – or at least better – than where we were heading prior, God willing.