So a couple of days ago our Pres*dent expressed his knowledge of world geography by referring to all African nations, the Central American nation of El Salvador, and the island nation of Haiti, as “shitholes.” This presumably also referred to the people native to those countries, as trump used his “shithole” comment to prove why those people should not be allowed to emigrant to the United States of America.
I have something to say about this.
I know a family who are natives of the Republic of The Gambia, which happens to be an African nation. They have an amazing (to me) life story. The husband grew up on a farm helping his dad, then went to college and earned a degree in Information Technology (IT). He had a girlfriend but wanted his family to live in America. So each year he entered the “Visa Lottery” and after his third annual try won a visa. He emigrated to America and immediately applied for a green card. After two years he earned permanent legal residency. He immediately returned to Gambia and married his girlfriend, then came back to America.
He worked and waited for his five year’s minimum residency, then applied for citizenship. Once an American citizen he brought his wife over (in trump’s words “chain immigration”) to America. They settled down here and started a family. Although the husband has an IT degree he started a landscaping business as he loves working with soil and plants. His wife works at a senior citizen center local to their home. As of this writing, they have three lovely children. These honest, hard-working people are among the kindest, most polite people I know; full of life and love.
I know a young woman who is native of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, another African nation. She was adopted by an American family as a minor, though a religious group, and brought to America. At the time she was adopted she was living with her Grandmother as her parents had died. At the age of seventeen she was working full-time at a hotel local to her home and going to college. She later dropped out of college, managed to earn her seaman’s card and landed a job on a Cruise Ship as housekeeper. After working on the Cruise Ship for several years she landed a job with an airline as flight attendant. As with the family from Gambia, this young woman is a pure joy to be around. She is full of life and love, a hard worker who lights up the lives of everyone around her.
I’ve tutored English as Second Language (ESL) students over the past year. My recent student is a young woman (younger than me) who moved here with her husband from the Republic of El Salvador about 20 years ago. I think they may have come here under the El Salvador refugee program but I never asked. After arriving in America her husband started a roofing business and she started a house cleaning business. neither of them spoke any English when they arrived, and her husband still doesn’t. They have four children, all born here in America and all in public schools, and help translate for the parents.
Over the past year my student has gone to a private language school and received tutoring as she needs to learn English for her business and to help her husband. She told me that her first cleaning customer used to keep a Spanish-English dictionary in the house to help communicate. She is a sweet and hard-working woman, unfailingly polite, and is very proud when she masters another small bit of English.
These are the people I know from the countries trump considers “shitholes.” I have a different perspective. The “shitholes” I see include the trump family, and the many people (mostly all Republicans) who are supporting and enabling the trumps. These people are turning our once great United States of America into a “shithole.”
We have entire cities of Americans drinking poisoned water because of Republican policies. We have millions of Americans who lack electricity and running water months after a hurricane devastated their island, with no relief in sight, because of Republican’s neglect. Our nation has the “highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world.” Our average life expectancy has declined for the second year in a row. We currently rank 31 in the world, above Cuba but below Costa Rica.
Our national railway system is a joke, with our trains derailing at speeds of 30 miles per hour. Meanwhile, over in China, in the space of about ten years that country has developed the most extensive high-speed railway system in the world, with the fastest trains and still improving. Our infrastructure is close to failing, with no serious plans by our Republican-controlled Government to fix it anytime soon.
Our poverty rate is increasing; In 2015, 13.5% (43.1 million) Americans lived below our poverty rate. I won’t even get into our children learning “active shooter” drills in grade school, a direct result of NRA-directed Republican policies allowing any psycho access to military-grade weapons. Or that we experienced 1,156 mass shootings in 1,735 days.
So excuse me, but just maybe trump, his Republican enablers and strap-hangers and sycophants, might want to stop and look around before calling one-third of the world’s nations “shitholes.” We’re not doing a great job of taking care of our own, and our own people are voting with their feet. In 1999 the US State Department estimated there were between three to six million American’s living abroad. In 2016, estimates were nine million Americans had voted with their feet and moved abroad.
We should feel grateful that people of other nations continue to see us as that “Shining City on a Hill,” with Lady Liberty still standing in New York harbor as a global symbol of freedom and hope. I have to wonder how much longer other people will see us that way.
Edited for format and grammar: January 14, 2018