Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

As I write this, it has been nearly 24 hours since the President has denied making his “s-hole” comment regarding countries with shockingly low quality of life.  Indeed, the only person in a room full of several people who claims to have heard the President make this remark is a Democrat, Dick Durban, who has a demonstrated track record of lying for political purposes.

Still, let’s assume that Trump did in fact make the remark attributed to him.  Would he have been wrong?

Below are ten questions that I posed to those who have spared no occasion over the last two days to showcase their moral outrage over “S-hole-gate.”  To his credit, one leftist acquaintance of mine, to whom I will refer simply as “Chris,” tried answering them.  The responses are revealing.

(1)Why do you think legions of people from those “s-hole” countries risk life and limb to flee their homelands and come to Western countries, like America?

 “The President’s critics aren’t disagreeing with the horrid state of these countries. Their criticism stems from acknowledging this horrid state while questioning his comment: “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

 In other words, insofar as his critics acknowledge the “horrid” state of the countries under discussion, they agree with the President that Haiti and the other countries to which he referred are, as he said, “s-holes.”

They agree with the substance of his judgement—even if they disagree with his choice of words.

Of course, this is true.Now, the reasons for the condition of these countries are debatable. But there is no debating that at least some of the residents of those countries are responsible for the conditions of their homes.  As for Haiti and Haitians specifically, more will be said about this shortly.

(2)Do you think that their actions reveal their agreement or disagreement with the President?

See above.

I think what Chris is saying here is that while those legions of human beings who are risking their lives (and those of their children) to come to America and other Western societies do essentially agree with the President’s assessment regarding the situation of their native countries, they disagree with the notion that they should be denied entry into the United States.

Well of course they wouldn’t agree that they should be denied entrance into the United States!  Self-interest precludes it.

(3)Unless these countries fit Trump’s description of them, do you think that immigration enthusiasts and activists in the US (and the rest of the West) would be tirelessly trying to guilt Westerners into letting folks from these countries into their own by telling us that they are only trying to provide better lives for their families?

 Into “their own?” By your definition, then, a Haitian who came here, say, in 1992, and became an American citizen, is now demarcated from a Haitian who is trying, legitimately, to do the same?

Admittedly, I’m not sure what Chris is trying to suggest here. For decades, politicians of both national parties have labored diligently to pass what they always call “comprehensive immigration reform,” and what the rest of us always recognize as amnesty. Poll after poll consistently reveals that most Americans hold views on immigration policy that are even more America-First than those espoused by President Trump.

So, these politicians (and other Americans-LAST immigration proponents) repeatedly try to convince—to guilt—Americans into allowing the tired, poor, huddled masses of immigrants from the Third World into their home (how can the tired, the oppressed, the poor, the huddled possibly come from places that aren’t “s-holes?!”).

Americans, and only Americans, get to decide who will and who will not be permitted to cross our borders and for whatever reasons.

And if Americans decide that they want a stop to all immigration that too is their prerogative.  They no more need to justify themselves on this score than a homeowner need justify his decision to bar strangers from his home.

The burden is on those who insist on immigration to prove their case.

Yet the point here is that these tireless appeals to sympathy, pity, and compassion in connection with more immigration from precisely the countries to which Trump allegedly referred as “s-holes” logically presuppose that the countries are, in fact, in the state that Trump described.

(4)Unless these countries were as POTUS described them, do you think that his critics would have spent decades siphoning from Western taxpayers their hard-earned dollars, money that is then given to these very countries as “foreign aid?”

 A tad disingenuous at best; many of these efforts (just recently the Haitian earthquake relief) were not the result of oppressive power structures. A nautical weather incident doesn’t make a country a “shithole.” 

 This response is what’s disingenuous.  So-called “foreign aid” to Haiti and beyond is most definitely not supplied only episodically, in response to natural disasters.  The “foreign aid” that America and other Western states have been providing to these countries has been a relentless, decades-long enterprise.

(5)Why the perpetual need for aid if things are so desirable in these countries?

 Your fourth and fifth questions are too broad, far too broad.

 This is a dodge.  The question was straight forward: Why must those of us living in America and throughout the West part with our dollars so as to provide unrelenting relief to people in Haiti and other countries to which Trump alludes if things have been going so swimmingly there?

We must, we just must, help the people of these lands by subsidizing them while they are in their own countries and by aiding and abetting their plans to flee their own countries and make their home here, among us. This has been the message.

Why are these poor souls always, constantly, in need of help and by whichever means necessary?  Presumably, it is because their own countries are undesirable places to live well and raise families.  Why else?

(6)If Trump is “racist” for recognizing that the quality of life in countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and in much of the continent of Africa is abysmally, scandalously, outrageously poor, then isn’t every person in America—black as well as non-black—”racist” for recognizing the disgraceful, life-inhibiting quality of life in America’s ghettoes?

 No, because the worst of America is not prescriptive.

 Uh-oh: So Chris concedes that black neighborhoods and cities are “the worst of America?” “Racist!”  No. Chris is not “racist” (whatever this means) but a realist—at least in this regard. America’s ghettoes are indeed the worst places in the country.

At any rate, his response is irrelevant.  It sidesteps the question by misunderstanding the relevant underlying principle, and the principle is that places—any place, whether a continent, country, state, city, or neighborhood—with an abysmally, scandalously, outrageously poor quality of life, places from which people flee and that are in inexhaustible need of support from others are what your plain-spoken average person, of any race, could describe as a “s-hole.”

(7)The rate of “black flight” (of blacks, ala George Jefferson, “movin’ on up”) from black neighborhoods and cities exceeded in the late 70s, 80s, and 90s that of the “white flight” that transpired in the 50s and 60s.  Isn’t this confirmation that all Americans who avoid these areas recognize them as “s-holes?”

 Read up a bit more on gentrification and let’s discuss further.

I responded to Chris by informing him that I was well aware of the argument from gentrification that some leftist activists have used to account for the deplorable conditions of most predominantly black, lower and underclass areas.  There are, however, two other replies in the coming.

First, I don’t for a second buy this. When whites moved out of the neighborhoods into which blacks moved, they were blamed for the deteriorating quality of life in what became black communities (So too, to be fair, were middle and upper-class blacks, “sell-outs,” blamed).

Now, though, when whites move back into these areas it’s called “gentrification” and they’re blamed again for their quality of life.

Whites are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Second, Chris confuses cause for effect. The point here is that regardless of how the ghetto came to be, actions speak far louder than words.  That everyone, including and particularly those who live or have lived in the ghetto, recognize the latter as a very bad place, proves that they think of it as, to borrow the President’s alleged descriptor, a “s-hole.”

(8)Isn’t it the case that every person who has ever referred to America as “AmeriKKKa, “racist,” “white supremacist,” “patriarchal,” “sexist,” “Islamophobic,” “xenophobic,” “homophobic,” etc. has, in effect, condemned America as a “s-hole?”

Freedom of speech enables this criticism to occur.  If Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” suggests that America is NOT great, isn’t he implying the same about America?

First of all, I am not challenging anyone’s right to condemn America as, well, a “s-hole.” My point is that when the left blasts the America in these terms, they are, in essence, accusing America of being rotten to the core.

It isn’t just that it’s dishonest for a person to simultaneously call America “AmeriKKKA” and the rest while affirming its beauty and goodness.  It’s logically impossible to do this. “Racism” is the worst of unpardonable transgressions from the standpoint of those who decry America along these lines.

Thus, America can only, by their lights, be viewed as, well, a “s-hole.”

Secondly, in expressing resolve to make America great again, Trump remains in a fundamentally different league than that in which his most ardent critics reside.  The President affirms both his belief in the greatness of America considered historically as well as faith in her potential to restore her greatness.

There is nothing anti-American in criticizing America. We all have our share of criticisms of it.  However, there is a difference in kind between criticizing aspects of a thing—a spouse, a child, one’s friend, one’s country—and repudiating it altogether.  The hard left falls into the latter category.

(9)After all, a country that dehumanizes, objectifies, and, as Ta Neshi Coates says, disposes of “black bodies” as if they were trash, is, at the very least, a “s-hole,” is it not?

 Coates is a born American, and would be here no less comparable to any of Trump’s critiques about America, no?

 No. Again, the undergirding principle that is the focus here is that whether a person chooses to use Trump’s descriptor or not, to evaluate a place as negatively as Americans-Last immigration and amnesty activists evaluate the “horrid” conditions from which they tell us we must emancipate, one way or the other, those from certain countries, or to evaluate it as negatively as leftists like Coates evaluate America with her alleged disposal of “black bodies” is to judge it, in short, a “s-hole.”

(10) And if Trump harbors animosity against non-white peoples for referring to some of these countries as “shitholes,” isn’t it the case that everyone who has ever characterized America in any of the foregoing terms harbors animosity toward Americans? Isn’t it the case they are in fact guilty, as many of us have said for quite some time, of being…ANTI-AMERICAN or, perhaps more accurately, ANTI-AMERICANS?

 Why does your if-condition here find Trump harboring animosity towards non-white peoples for referring to some of these non-white countries as “s-holes?” They didn’t refer to them as such; he did.

 Chris may have misread the question.  I don’t see how he goes any distance toward answering it. I’ll only say that the reader only need read my responses to (8) and (9) to recognize that the answer to (10) is a resounding, inescapable: Yes!

Chris, along with other full-time Trump critics, made a deal out of the President’s alleged remark indicating a preference for immigrants from Norway over those from places like Haiti and El Salvador.  Unsurprisingly, he suggested that this betrays on Trump’s part—what else?—“racism.”

It’s at this juncture that I should have just checked out.  I’ve got an obsession with truth, though, and so….

Besides the fact that “racism” is a rhetorical tool that partisans use to bludgeon one another while circumventing argument, if we are going to have immigration to the United States at all—and remember, no country has to allow any foreigners—then it would make eminently good sense for  an American First immigration policy to favor those from Norway.

The United Nations Human Development Index—as one writer correctly described it, “the most widely accepted metric” for ranking the world’s countries in terms of their quality of life—places guess which country at the top of its list?

Yep, Norway is number one.

As for El Salvador and Haiti, the two other countries to which the President allegedly referred as “s-holes?”

They rank at 117th and 163rd, respectively.

There’s only 25 countries that rank lower than Haiti, and with the exceptions of Afghanistan and Yemen, they are all in Africa.

 Yeah.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the rate of welfare use among immigrants from Central America (places like El Salvador) and Mexico is an astronomical 73%.  Among immigrants from the Caribbean (where Haiti is located), it is 51%, and immigrants from Africa it is 48%.

Those hailing from Europe tend to rely upon welfare at a much lower rate (26%).

To put this into the perspective of the present context, the average immigrant from El Salvador is three times more likely than one from Norway to be on welfare.

America-First or Americans-Last: These are the only two kinds of immigration policy at our disposal.

 

 

 

 

 

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