Give us all a break. This obsession with disingenuously interpreting everything Donald Trump says in the worst possible light needs to stop.
It benefits no one. Now, it was one thing to twist his words during the campaign, as many political operatives and media foes did with wild abandon. But the “shithole” incident is different. This latest example of derangement comes amidst a very serious public policy debate.
On Tuesday, the president sat down with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for an hour long televised meeting to discuss making a long sought after bipartisan deal on immigration.
While some Republican hardliners were rankled that Trump appeared close to siding with Democratic requests they loathe, the meeting was largely seen as a success.
And that’s the reason you didn’t hear about it much: Because it was one of many examples of Trump just doing what a president should be doing. Give the full meeting a watch, if you can: it’s really just dull workaday politics without the Trumpian entertainment.
Since this doesn’t feed into the perpetual narrative that the president is so inept that he can’t even tie his own shoes, the media doesn’t promote the story beyond the initial reporting.
“For his advisers, the meeting was a relief, a chance to reset the narrative and make Mr. Trump look more like a traditional president,” wrote one analyst in The New York Times. “And his critics, grading on a curve, called it a welcome change, a moment of constructive engagement that they hoped would lead to more.”
Coming from the Times, that’s epic praise. And we just can’t have that, now, can we? The incessant drumbeat of anti-Trump hysteria must not be allowed to go quiet for long, so says The Resistance or whatever they’re now calling themselves.
Therefore, the news that Trump, in a subsequent bipartisan immigration meeting, referred to Haiti and several other nations as “shithole countries” came at just the right time. No need to engage seriously with the issues being addressed by lawmakers. We can just go back to obsessing over person and not policy.
While lawmakers and aides in the meeting confirmed remarks along these lines were, in fact, made — on Friday morning, Trump tweeted something of a denial: “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country.”
But let’s assume he did say the offending words. What is the scandal here? Is it that he used less than polite language? While he certainly could have chosen his words more wisely, Trump’s colourful diction isn’t really news anymore. That’s Trump being Trump and it’s not going to change, so stop going bonkers over it.
That’s not the worst of it, though. No, according to the well-populated low-hanging fruit brigade, the remarks were racist. “The president of the United States is racist,” was how CNN anchor Don Lemon chose to begin his Thursday broadcast.
This silliness brings to mind one of the late Christopher Hitchens’ great lines: “There is a tendency on the left, to think if someone, in any way, disagrees with the left, it must be for the lowest possible reason and if you found the lowest possible motive you have found the right one.”
Let’s take a look at how Haiti is discussed on the international scene. Is it a developed nation? Nope. The World Bank classifies it as a “developing” country. Take that word, plug it into a layman’s terms thesaurus and what you get is basically what Trump said. Not particularly nice, especially not for those living there, but more or less accurate.
Life for regular people in Haiti is, to put it mildly, less than ideal. So much so that the shiny emblem of progressivism that is Canada wants you to think twice before visiting.
The federal government warns Canadians on a travel advisory to “exercise a high degree of caution” when in Haiti “due to high crime rates in various parts of the country and ongoing political tension.” They tell you to avoid non-essential travel in the Port-au-Prince area as it’s “particularly unstable and dangerous.”
Now, does anyone seriously think the Canadian government is calling Haitians themselves unstable and dangerous? Of course not. But there’s a very good reason why last year’s Canadian border crisis involved many Haitians struggling to illegally enter our country. They didn’t want to go back.
There are a number of Haitian-Canadian success stories, most notably former Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean. But that doesn’t change the fact the country’s institutions and infrastructure are plagued with persistent troubles.
Those who’ve become rabid at Trump’s alleged remarks could do everyone a favour and instead do something that might actually contribute to helping the people of Haiti or at least better understand their plight, instead of just signalling their own misguided virtue.
In fact, if they did some research they’d learn that liberal do-gooderism has already done the country a great deal of harm.
Following the debilitating 2010 Haitian earthquake, Raoul Peck, a former Haitian politician-turned- Oscar-nominated documentarian, released the 2013 film, Fatal Assistance. As the distributor describes it, “the film offers a devastating indictment of the international community’s post-disaster idealism.”
There’s no mention of Trump, of course, but what it does offer is criticism of Bill Clinton and his foundation. “The line between intrusion, support and aid is very fine,” Jean-Max Bellerive, former Haitian prime minister, says in the film.
It sounds like now is the perfect time to have a mature conversation about these broader issues, like immigration and foreign assistance. Too bad this is an era where we just can’t have such discussions anymore.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies