by Amir Khouzam
When covering this president, the administration likes to remind us that the correct way to understand him is to take him seriously, but not literally. I propose an additional interpretive lens: hilarity.
Just two weeks into the year, Donald Trump reportedly referred to African states, and possibly El Salvador and Haiti, as ‘shithole countries’ in a meeting on immigration reform. Taking the administration’s lead, I don’t believe he was literally calling out those states (partly because it is probable he could not place them on a map.) Rather, he was referring to nations that share certain traits; they are poor, not entirely white, and often characterized as third world or underdeveloped.
In response, we’ve invited a number of our peers from places that could meet that standard to shed some light on what the president might not know about their countries. We also successfully tracked down a Norwegian and invited him to share his thoughts on his terrible, high GINI coefficient, sovereign-wealth-fund-endowed cellar of a country.
There is time enough for outrage. Space enough to be mad. Sometimes, though, the best response is to laugh. Such is the spirit in which The Morningside Post presents: Shithole Dispatches 2018.
“Hi, I am a graduate student, formerly undocumented, and formerly a resident of the shithole country, El Salvador.
No, not everyone is an MS 13 member. No, we are not savages that are here to kill everyone like Trump supporters believe. Yes, many of us have been here for 15+ years. Yes, we pay taxes. Yes, some of us play cumbia until late hours of the night.
True, some of us did not want to die, so we moved to the U.S., many during the 80s because of the civil war that the U.S. supported. No, I should not have to explain my humanity to anyone, and contrary to what the 45th thinks, our shithole is beautiful.”
“I am from a shithole country located in South America. My shithole country is actually quite amazing.
We are home to 84 of the 104 existing ecosystems in the world and 28 of the 32 climates on the planet. Nearly two-thirds of our land is covered by the Amazon Rainforest. We also have the Andes, Macchu Pichu, Lake Titicaca, the longest wave on earth (Chicama), the oldest civilization in America (Caral), amazing ceviche, pisco sour, and beautiful, talented, hard-working people. Some even call our country ‘the richest country in the world,’ but our wealth is different than yours. You can’t really buy it like a Diet Coke, a Quarter Pounder, or a Trump Tower. So, please, don’t ever come to Peru. It is a major, huge, tremendous shithole, the Biggest Shithole Ever.”
Democratic Republic of the Congo
“Donald Trump doesn’t like people from shitholes, but boy does he love Coltan! Coltan, short for Columbite–tantalite, is a metallic ore that is found in places like Luwow Mine, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Luwow Mine is definitely a shithole. Look it up. And every day, millions of dollars—also known as ‘a small loan’—change hands between multinational companies and local militias, all for this shiny black substance that goes to China, gets refined, and then manufactured into the electronic circuits that power the phone that Donald Trump uses to Tweet. If you don’t want us, then maybe mine your own Columbite-tantalite, Mr. President. Just be careful of your bone spurs.”
“When I was moving to the United States from the East, I was warned of certain ‘American ways’ by concerned colleagues and friends. “Americans also like to be confident when they’re speaking of their own accomplishments, so don’t be afraid of ‘tooting your own horn’”, I was told.
All this was a bit overwhelming at first, but I’d say that getting to know the current most famous American in the world has definitely made it easier. It seems to me that along with singing your own praises and stereotyping, being racist, sexist, uninformed and elitist is desired. Political correctness and empathy are totally uncalled for and discrimination based on country of origin is defended. I wonder if I should jot some examples down from the president’s recent public encounters as a handy reference for my “Transitioning into America” guide. I’m hoping to send this to prospective students so that they are better prepared.”
“You know, I reckon that the list of countries qualifying as shitholes, in the assessment of the Commando in Chief, may well be infinite. Since my imagination tends to run wild, I’ll assume the ‘esteemed leader’ of the ‘free’ world categorizes Pakistan as one. I obviously speak without proof, but that’s the hallmark of a shitty person! Such a person strictly speaks from stereotypical, racist points of view, so I’ll continue to speak.
If my argument seems flawed, please ponder: poor, disease laden, calamity stricken, developing, with a vast population dwelling in mud houses (more appropriately ‘huts’) Pakistan has got to be the poster child for shithole countries. I mean, where else in the world do you find better rail and road access into Afghanistan, or convenient proximity to Iran? It’s only sensible to hold off on the laxatives (read aid) that have clogged (read destroyed) the flow (read peace) in the hole (you know better what to read here) since 2001.”
“Mr. President, you recently said that you wanted more Norwegian immigrants to the U.S.. But why? Do you know nothing about this god-forsaken socialist country so far to the north that for several months out of the year the sun hardly shines? Sure, Norwegians used to be hardworking, when we settled the Midwest and cultivated the prairies, but in 2018 we are so spoiled by our oil wealth that few people care to work hard. For instance, 1 in 5 receive government welfare handouts and only 59 percent of high school students graduate on time. Not only would you be importing lazy b***ds— most children are in fact born outside of wedlock— but also people who eat sheep heads, listen to satanic black metal, and kill whales. No, Mr. President, my countrymen surely won’t make America great again.”
“New Jersey is actually very pretty.”