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Opinion: Trump’s ‘s-hole’ comment should be no surprise

Mark Albertson

Mark Albertson is the historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine and has authored several military and history-related books. In addition, he is a non-credit lecturer at Norwalk Community College as an adjunct professor and lectures around the state on a variety of historical topics and current events.

Albertson is speaking at 3 p.m. Monday in the Darien Library, offering the second of a four-talk set, “Stalin’s Revolution.” He is speaking at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Norwalk Senior Center, on the topic “Saudi-Turkish Pivot to Moscow.”

Recent comments “allegedly” made by the current occupant of the Oval Office, construed as being of a racial nature, has seen fit to generate a flurry of condemnation from critics, both inside and outside the Beltway. While such comments are to be expected from a personality with such a loquacious track record, his remarks are endemic of, what must be construed as actual American policy towards peoples once depicted as Third Worlders. Haiti, for instance, has been a football for imperialists for centuries. For instance, in 1915, U.S. Marines landed on the island, leading to American control until 1930.

Yet that racial hygienist from Queens is hardly the first American of note to champion the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon over the “lesser breeds.” In his 1885 book, Our Country, Congregational Minister, Josiah Strong, observed, “It follows, then, that the Anglo-Saxon . . . is divinely commissioned to be, in a peculiar sense, his brother’s keeper.” It seems the United States was divinely chosen, according to this Bible-wielding bigot, to move . . . “down upon Mexico, down upon Central and South America, out upon the islands of the sea, over and above Africa and beyond.”

References such as “shithole” emanating from the chief executive to describe people, who in many cases, have suffered years and even centuries of colonial oppression, shows not only disregard for this sorry narrative, but a blatant disrespect for the rich and captivating histories, cultures and societies of the nations in question. And while Trump will take some heat for references which should have been expected in the first place, these are merely expressions of the stark reality that has come to mark official Washington’s actual agenda. Such as oil in Iraq. Which Trump at one point blatantly stated this nation should have taken the oil to foot the cost of invasion. An accurate assessment, by the way, with regards to the Neocon agenda as seen with the earlier Bush-Cheney Oil Junta. In fact, Neocon Paul Wolfowitz alluded to Iraqi oil being used to defray the cost of invasion. Not so surprising when in 2000, Saddam took Iraq’s oil transactions off the Dollar and put them on the Euro. Not long after the American invasion of Iraq, Washington took Baghdad’s oil transactions off the Euro and put them back on the Buck. But such actions by the Shining City on the Hill must be couched in language benign enough to assuage a guilty conscience; while at the same time sedate the average voter under the standard political ether, in the form of such terminology as, “Bringing Democracy to the indigenous;” or, “weapons of mass destruction;” or, “collusion between Saddam and bin Laden for 9/11.”

And let us not forget our own backyard, Central America being a case in point. American participation in turning these countries into shitholes has cost upwards of a quarter of a million lives, in efforts to insure the privileged position for American business at the expense of the indigenous peoples living there; while at the same time, insuring American primacy versus the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. Of course American corporate hegemony was in place prior to the rise of the Soviet Union. United Fruit coming to mind here, very early in the 20th century. Again the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua. . . have born the brunt of Yankee policy of turning these sovereign nations into colonial satraps. And since this is the case, many of the people in these captive nations have sought to escape the horrific conditions of oppression in which they find themselves thrust by coming here, stark residue as they are of American imperialist policy.

Too, Trump’s common approach to rhetoric, at times of the most gutter-variety, appeal, in particular, to a certain portion of his base. The term “deplorables,” as used to describe Trump voters by the 2016 Democratic hopeful, was a broad-brush connotation which certainly did not typify all those who backed the candidate who would eventually send her down to defeat. At the same time, base references by the winner of the presidential sweepstakes most certainly reflects that portion of a voting block ready, willing and able to settle for the bottom of the scale. Willing to accept as gospel the perverted precepts of an unsophisticated rustic named Donald “Jim Crow” Trump; who like the terrorists he claims to want to protect us from, lusts for publicity, whether good or bad, by calling attention to himself, not too unlike that poor excuse for must-see TV known as “The Apprentice.” This lunatic fringe of ultra-nationalists, white supremacists and those of questionable religious character, are willing to accept the burgeoning normality of inequity, ignorance and indifference. This desired normality, as evidenced by the assault on Net Neutrality, fails to appreciate those aforementioned histories, cultures and societies of so-called inferior peoples who for years endured the travesties of Western arrogance, usurpation, colonial bondage and racism.

Martin Luther King seemed to understand one of the major reasons for the continued perpetuation of racism in this Nation, when he observed, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action;’ who as a paternalistic-ally believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'” Just like the so-called second coming, that convenient season has not arrived . . . yet an law and order candidate of the authoritarian variety has. So much for respect for the Rule of Law.

12 comments

NotAffiliated January 15, 2018 at 9:37 am

If the author could just stick to his points versus adding his overt bias, more people would pay attention.

Al Bore January 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

He is our president and we are a divided nation that needs to be united, you are welcome to move out of the country where you might think you will have a better life. Please seek out that place and go. All the best!

Paul Lanning January 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm

“Love it or leave it”?? We heard that in 1968, try telling it to 50,000 U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam war accomplishing NOTHING.

Trump is a dishonest, immoral and hurtful man, unqualified to hold ANY public office. Routinely spewing more lies in any one day than most of us have in our entire lives, he is a threat to America’s safety.

Campaigning as a xenophobe, he won the electoral college in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where roughly 75,000 voters combined to put him in the White House, despite his having lost the popular election by 3 MILLION.

Rick January 15, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Thank you I didn’t lose you in thought it was opinion. I come from an era where Rule of law clearly dumped on my generation

Where you are versed the military and history-related era , we also grew up with Raytheon, Honeywell and General Dynamics, There was no color barrier there was no bias we were and still are Americans.

Those of us who lost during the Nam or Korean free for alls they were holes,

There will be opinion but there is line you dont cross and thats the American one.

Outsourcing is a continued problem , to those who lost jobs because of it look at countries as holes because of it there is no melting pot when your an American we all came from one .

Some of us place American soil right under God and in between there are stars , this is why our president does so well he never forget where we have been and where we don’t war to go back to.

Still I enjoyed your article you have your critics as I have mine but because of our fight in some holes that were so tragic we all have to find something that made giving up Americans justify free speech.

Some feel more close to our places of worship than all the political parties combined , so lets pray for Trump like they did in Ny city , that seems to gain more support than the detractors taking shots at our American President.

Mark Albertson January 15, 2018 at 10:07 pm

What is construed as overt bias is, in reality, opposition to anyone and/or any action seeking to suborn the precepts of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, our blueprint for government as originally intended by the Founders. It is called dissent. And that right to dissent also acknowledges the right of Not Affiliated to render his or her opinion of my commentary as bias . . . a right, by the way, worth dying for.

With regards to accepting the current occupant of the Oval Office as my president? He clearly has no intention of observing Constitutional precepts despite the oath. This argument of “he is the president” runs along the same argument “I am voting for the lesser of two evils.” I have heard that argument since Nixon and the trajectory of this great Nation has been down. Such a rationale seeks an accommodation with such documents as the Lewis Powell Memo, the Plan for the New American Century, the Patriot Act, Citizens United, documents which have, for all intents and purposes, superseded our Constitution and Bill of Rights . . . and without so much as a Constitutional Convention, as urged by Jefferson in 1816. Such disregard for the foundations of our Republic lend credence to Ben Franklin’s analysis at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, when he stated that our Constitution would last for a course of years, only to end in despotism, when the people will be capable of nothing but despotism.

Mitch Adis January 15, 2018 at 10:52 pm

News flash! Haiti is a sh!th0le! Forget about skin color for a moment. Compare median income and decide where they rank. Are people upset because the President calls it like it is?

Rayj January 16, 2018 at 2:43 am

The first 2 replies are on the money, My 2 cents are that Haiti won its independence in a slave revolt from France. France in turn imposed severe economic payback which doomed Haiti to this day. The endemic corruption has also kept it down.

Bob Welsh January 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

Mitt Romney’s response to the comments are right on the money:

The poverty of an aspiring immigrant’s nation of origin is as irrelevant as their race. The sentiment attributed to POTUS is inconsistent w/ America’s history and antithetical to American values. May our memory of Dr. King buoy our hope for unity, greatness, & “charity for all.”

Donna Smirniotopoulos January 16, 2018 at 10:55 am

The author certainly has the right to dissent and to call the president whatever names he chooses and make whatever accusations he sees fit. In my opinion, some of the charges are justified. President Trump seems unfit by many metrics except for the one that matters most. He won the election.

Barring a discovery that the election was hijacked—wholesale voter fraud, for instance—Trump is the president. Continually Delegitimizing his presidency comes at a cost. Those who deplore Trump and everything he represents should take the long view. Millions of Americans felt disaffected in 2016. They believed the status quo political machine had left them hanging out to dry. Whatever revulsion they may have felt for some of the dumb things Trump says was relatively easy to suppress, not because these voters are monsters and racists, but because they did not attach to Trump’s words the same implications his detractors do. Many who voted for Trump are traditional democratic voters—working people—who felt abandoned by the party. Many more were tired of feeling ashamed to be American and to support Western values and capitalism. There is a growing malaise across the broad midsection of the country. They are weary of a few intellectual elites libsplaining America’s defects. If Democrats aim to retake the White House in 2020, they had better come up with a better game plan than the one we’ve been subjected to since Trump took office. It is possible to support social safety nets, single payer healthcare, a strong defense AND express pride in one’s country and faith in capitalism.

In terms of the nation’s history of slavery, it is lamentable and dispiriting that African Americans still suffer as they do from the ripple effects of this disgraceful legacy. But the practice of allyship by whites is, to my mind, mostly virtue signaling. The people who decry American style democracy for the most part don’t live lives of meaningful self-sacrifice. We live in an age where posting the right things on Facebook passes for Virtue. In the era of #metoo, there is a me too for opinions also—an orthodoxy. Stray from the orthodoxy, and you will be called out as a racist, sexist, sexual predator enabler, and any manner of contemptible names. Character assassination is no way to win friends and influence people.

Donna Smirniotopoulos January 16, 2018 at 12:28 pm

@Bob Welsh, while I agree with Romney’s sentiment, the context of Trump’s alleged remarks remains opaque. I say alleged because there is some dispute as to the exact term used, but suffice it so say it’s insulting to refer to any country by that or any similar term, even in a closed door session.

Trump was in a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss immigration reform and DACA. He was questioning the diversity lottery system, and advocating for adding a merit based system in addition to the existing lottery. Whether or not this is a good idea depends on one’s view of America and the importance of assimilation. There is no indication he referred to actual people using derogatory language such as that he used to refer to their countries of origin. For example, Lindsey Graham, in 2013, referred to Mexico as a hellhole. In 2015, Trump himself referred to the United States as a hellhole. I would hate for this incident to make it impossible for democrats to reach compromise on DACA.

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