The uproar caused by President Donald Trump when he asked a group of Senators why we should allow people from "shithole countries" in Africa to take residence in the United States remains unabated. In a one-two punch, he also disparaged Haitian nationals, asking why we would ever want more of them as neighbors. That caused Rep. Mia Love, born of Haitian immigrant parents, to take umbrage and sort of ask for an apology from the one person on the globe who has never apologized for anything. Sorry, Mia, but that was soft.
There's a reason for that. Love is ensconced in congress due to her multitudes of fine neighbors in Utah County, mostly Republican and mostly LDS. They're in a quandary because of all religious faiths in the country, the most supportive of Trump is LDS. That means they have a choice. Either recall the beliefs of their religion and rally behind Sister Love and stand against an obvious ratchet of Trump's blatant racism, or stick with the crazy uncle living in the White House, accept his beliefs and validate that they comprise the easily lied-to base that Trump is so fond of playing to.
On one hand, they want to embrace all that is good about their religion, because that's what religious people do. On the other, they want to be good Republicans because that means they are not socialist, baby-killing, drug-crazed, queer Democrats. That's a tough call down in Utah County. Should we do the right thing and stand by Love? Should we denounce racism and march on the Capitol steps? Or should we let our true colors speak in their silence? Throughout Utah's history, silence has been the great microphone of state politics.
There's written histories of Carbon County and Bingham Canyon where Klan crosses burned on hillsides and in immigrants' yards in the early 20th century. Greeks, Italians, Slavs, Mexicans—it's always the Mexicans—were regarded as trash. Prior to that, a pre-Trumpian, Francis A. Walker, was authoring screeds against immigration, often referring to my peeps, Southern and Eastern Europeans as "beaten men from beaten races, representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence." Ask Utahns today about that period, and it's like it never happened. But it did, and it shaped my own bearing on equality. And now look who's writing and editing.
It's also a funny thing these days that defying racism is both met with amazement on one side (What, me racist? I'm the least racist person alive!) while being measured on the other side (You don't know what racism is! You're white!). Everyone has a personal relationship with racism and everyone is more right about it than the next person. What seems to be lacking is universal understanding. Thank Twitter and other social media for that. Call me what you want—and since our president has lowered the bar on name-calling, forcing family papers like this one to adopt new publication standards of word usage—go ahead and call me a shithole.
But we are worse off as a nation these days than we were pre-Twitter where everyone with 50 followers has an opinion and no one with 50,000 has any influence. We just scream at each other. When the president debased the entire African continent and basically all of the Caribbean and Latin America as well—oh, plus rapist Mexico—nothing happened other that we all screamed at the rapid pace of 280 characters per minute. Yes, there were protests, but they were quickly replaced by Twitter snark, Facebook cats and Instagram soufflés. It's not enough to make one want to quit, but something has to give.
I say, take Trump up on his word that the U.S. would be better off with lots more Norwegians. Last year, some 512 Norwegians moved to the U.S. Perhaps they were some lost Vikings, but it's a great place to start a seismic change from brown-chain migration to white. Make that lily-white.
Let's take five million of them. My bet is that doing so, even with all their whiteness, won't improve your lives or mine even a whit. All they'll do is complain about the high crime rate, poor health care, lack of stellar schools, quality jobs and how far they now live from the Greek islands. They'd soon be called ingrates by our Boy-Wonder-in-chief, same as he disparages a Haitian, Nigerian, Mexican or—well, anyone who breathes not named Trump.
What needs to change is not immigration law, but election law. Since the 1960s when the great social experiments of our country began, the single constant has been the utter lack of decent people filling Congress' seats. I'm no longer of the mind to even credit people for serving in politics; they've been no friend. They get in, they mess with people and get out. They're also often well-to-do. You tell me: Has Orrin Hatch been on both sides of every issue or not? He's a scoundrel of the worst order. Nary a thing makes him a great Utahn.
People that have been around as long as I have can tell you nothing changes, except the words used in the increasing level of nasty rhetoric. There's likely not a swear word I haven't embraced. But even I wonder how it came that now everyone's talking about dick pics, pussy grabbing, and shitholes. Our public leaders (our skatacracy, if you will) moved that needle when Trump hit the trifecta on the three above—and you, yeah, you—let it happen. We all did. Let's change the channel. Read. Embrace and thank all those around you. Exchange word umbrage for action. Or, just share another selfie and be done with it.
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