A liar taking the oath. Photo: National Park Services
I just came back from my overdue vacation in one of Donald Trump’s “shitholes”–Ethiopia.
As soon as I landed in the U.S. last week, I was bombarded by the newspaper headlines and TV talking heads commenting on the latest outrage from the reality TV star, now playing president, unfortunately for us. I realized then that my time away from New York was a much-needed vacation in more ways than one. It was not only a respite from the grind of everyday responsibility but also spared me the daily barrage of vile and hateful Tweets emanating from the feculent mouth and Lilliputian brain of this president.
Ill-informed and vocabulary-challenged as he is, he seems to excel however in the language of scatology. His latest disparaging remarks of Haitians and Salvadorans and calling African countries “shitholes” betrays not only his ignorance of Africa but more disturbingly for us reveals himself as he has done time and again in the past as an unabashed racist who cannot hide his hatred and disdain of Black and Brown peoples coming to the U.S.
He would prefer people from Norway, Nordic blondes; recall that those are the ones Hitler saw as the Aryan ideal men. Here is the bad news for Donald J. Trump. Had he done a bit of reading he would have found out that Norwegians today would not want to leave a country at or near the top by various measures of human development; a country and a people who care about the environment and their fellow humans and have taken more than their share of refugees. Those Aryans don’t share his White supremacist views, hopelessly stuck as he is in the discredited 19th Century pseudoscientific thinking about race.
Yet more reading of history –but that would be too much to ask of this president– would have taught him that the Haitians are a proud African people who carried out a successful revolution of their own to gained their independence from the mighty French colonial power around the same time as ours. They were led by great generals like Toussaint, Dessalines, Petion, Christophe and others.
Had Trump also cared to read the U.S. Census Bureau report, The Foreign-born Population from Africa 2008-12, he would have learnt that the African foreign-born had a higher level of attainment than the total of those born overseas; 41% of the African-born had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2008-12 compared to 28% of the overall number. Who is the s-hole now? His mirror would have told him unequivocally.
The question we should be asking of ourselves is not how we ended up with this White supremacist as our president but rather what should we be doing about it now before he drags this great nations to his own level of meanness, vulgarity and bigotry and pushes us all in the gutter?
Those of us who have made New York our home and have followed his career have known long ago about his racist behavior and actions. He and his late father were subjects of federal law suits for discriminatory practices of excluding Blacks in their housing developments in the 1970s. Who can also forget the full-page ad he ran in all the major New York dailies calling for the execution of five Black and Latino teenagers dubbed by the press as the “Central Park Five,” and wrongly accused of raping a white jogger in Central Park?
To anyone who cared to listen and take note, he made no secret of his racist and xenophobic agenda throughout the long Republican primaries and during the general election. He called the people from Mexico “rapists” and “murderers,” and bragged about his predatory and abusive behavior towards women telling Billy Bush of Access Hollywood he would “grab them by the pussy.” Billy Bush lost his job as a result while the sexual predator was rewarded with the presidency. Republican leadership rallied around their flawed candidate dismissing what amounts to his admission of sexual assault as “locker room talk” or Trump being Trump using “colorful language,” they would say.
Trump made a political career out of questioning President Obama’s Americanness and continues his obsession with Obama blaming the former president for his own inadequacies and there are very man.
The Republican stalwarts would justify one outrageous remark or action after another saying those remarks were “unacceptable” or “they don’t reflect our values,” and then turn around and support him. All House speaker Ryan would bring himself to say about Trump’s overtly racist remarks to the bipartisan group of senators who were trying to save DACA was “it was not helpful.” Really? Is that all? What about dissociating himself and condemning his racism and bigotry once and for all?
That this latest outrage came on the eve of MLK Day celebration made it all the more hurtful and trivialized the sacrifice our ancestors made to make this country a better place; at least until the inauguration of this ignorant and pathologically self-absorbed lying bigot.
His paranoia and delusions know no bounds. Prominent psychiatrists have concluded that his behavior and actions suggest a psychotic individual unfit to do the job of president. Senator John Cornyn, not a flaming liberal he, said as early as August 2017 that this president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate to the world to be successful.”
When is enough enough? Whether on the basis of his mental competence or stability, his lies, insults and predatory behavior –and the list is long– there is enough that could justify starting impeachment proceedings if only Speaker Paul Ryan for once could muster enough spine to stand up to this bully and do the right thing. Unless of course he shares his views.
If Congress fails as it has done to date then the citizenry should start a recall petition of a president who is an embarrassment to the majority of Americans.
One is reminded of the immortal words of the Boston attorney Joseph Welch responding to Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt who sais: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch cut him off and said: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
I would pose the same question not only to the racist Groper-in-chief but also to Paul Ryan, Senator Mitch McConnell and other Republican Party enablers who have abdicated their duties.
As to Africa’s response, the African Union (AU) has issued a fairly balanced thoughtful and diplomatic response demanding an apology. That should not be enough.
This president has insulted the pride and dignity of close to 2 billion Africans and people of African descent around the world. Africa is now a dynamic continent with a vibrant economy. There are hardworking well-educated young men and women driving the engine of change.
Africa should not let an ignominious bigot define it. The African countries ought to make their objection to the vile and hateful remarks of the president more robustly by withdrawing their ambassadors collectively in protest until a proper apology is obtained.
He needs to be made to understand that the so called strategic partnership is a two-way street. Africa is not without options. The shithole comment was misdirected. The mouth that constantly spews vulgarity and bigotry is the hole that aptly fits the characterization.
Nurhussein, MD, a retired physician is Chairman, United African Congress.