[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2018-01-13

We have gotten the whole “shithole countries” thing wrong

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:12

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

— President Donald Trump, 2018-01-11

A lot of people have become irate at the phrase “shithole countries”, and responded, in effect, that it’s racist because there are no “shithole countries”.

I think they are wrong, or at least half wrong. Put down the pitchfork, give me a moment, and allow me to explain.

There are places in the world where the ground is so hard and dry, where life is so difficult, where the rule of law is so fragile that hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people flee those places and try to find somewhere, anyway, else to live. I myself have used the phrase “third world hellhole” to describe such places. It’s not a condemnation of the people who flee — it’s an acknowledgement of the horrors they are fleeing from.

Some of the people who flee those places seek to come to the United States (rather than any of the kinder, saner countries). They walk, ride, or float on rafts for days or weeks or even months to escape the horrors behind them and seek a place to live where they can find food, shelter, and peace. A rather famous poem by Emma Lazarus calls such people “wretched refuse”.

So here’s the thing. Read the quote from President Trump again. What part of that makes you angry? If it’s the phrase “shithole countries”, I think you are missing the point of what makes that comment so horrifying, so inhumane, and so fundamentally anti-American.

“No, no, that’s part of it!” I can almost hear you say. Yeah. Sure it is. Which is why the phrase “shithole countries” is all anyone is talking about, rather than the Republicans’ racist quest for “immigration reform”. We’ve become a society that cares more about vocabulary than intent or outcome.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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