This “shit storm” lately has been the new low for Donald Trump. But, after seeing the whole thing unfold for a few days, I don’t see why this is the line in the sand. Why is his using the phrase “shithole countries” somehow treated as “this time you’ve gone too far,” rather than, say, “we (meaning Trump supporters, media reporters, whoever this hypothetical group is representing) have run out of patience, and will no longer tolerate the same thing we have tolerated before.”
Calling Haiti and an entire continent a “shithole” is the most overtly white supremacist thing he’s said. He said, in effect, “Why are we getting people from places I don’t know about or like, why can’t we have more white people?” But how is the worst thing he’s said, in terms of the degree of offensiveness? By any metric you can criticize Trump for: his cruelty/lack of empathy, his racism/sexism his ignorance/lack of knowledge, critical thinking, and willingness to learn about a subject; his hypocrisy and multiple standards. Why is this being treated in the media as a new low and not just another eye-rolling moment. It’d be like if a crazy pet dog went from jumping on a table to jumping on a table when it had an expensive cake on it—it’s the same behavior.
I asked myself, what is it that I’m not getting, and it finally occurred to me that it’s his use of the word “shithole.” The specific word, “shit” is somehow the new low. Different media outlets treat it differently. Some shy around the subject, some take it head on in a matter-of-fact manner, others are treating it like they can get away with something now that someone else has said it—like a small child singing along with a rap album. And I think that this a repeat of when he said, I grab ’em by the pussy!” And Trump was somehow able to say, “this is locker room talk.”
So here, I’m going to make this distinction that no one else seems to be able to make. Sit down, grab your pearls now, because here it is.
People in locker rooms do use those words. However, most people do not use them in that order.
I’ll say it again, this time with emphasis.
People in locker rooms do use those words. However, people who are not complete assholes do not use them in that order.
This is how you are supposed to treat these words. The words are not magic. Trump is not clever, even if he thinks he is. If he were clever (like me), he might use phrases like, “places where the future broke its promise” instead of “shithole countries.” He would be no less offensive, no less cruel, dumb, and so on, had he instead said, “I grab ’em by the Lady-Junk!” and, “Those countries are garbage heaps.”
I could be wrong. It could be something else. There could be some other reason why this is somehow treated as a new low. As far as I recalled, he set the bar right away when he said that all Mexicans are rapists, and then immediately established how mealy-mouthed he was by saying, “and there are some good people there.” It’s a pattern he has never broken: Say something sweeping and derogatory about a group of people, then create a double standard to give himself an excuse to say, in effect, “I didn’t mean those people, I meant those other shitheads.” The only thing he did differently this time was, instead of lumping all foreigners together, he lumped poor and dark skinned foreigners in the same bucket, and White foreigners in a different bucket. He didn’t cross the line, all he did was pick the wrong thing to give himself plausible deniability.
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