It started out like any other story, just another day in the rotting political landfill that we now live in. Just another case of verbal diarrhea. The Howler Monkey in Chief hurling verbal shit balls around. Just another insult to our honor, national dignity, and standing in the world. So, what else was new?
But it changed quickly. When the Washington Post broke the story, MSNBC was all over it. When the story broke, the anchors at MSNBC referred to the word in the quote as “bleephole” countries, and the rolling chyron at the bottom posted it as “sh*thole”. But things changed quickly. After about 10 minutes, suddenly the chyron at the bottom displayed the word in all of it’s vulgar glory, “shithole countries.” Then the larger headline banner above displayed in its entirety. What was up with this?
And then the moment that has been long overdue. Chris Matthews dug his heels in when reporting the story, saying “I don’t want to use the word, and I won’t say it’. But bless her little heart, Joy Ann Reid did, she said it twice. “Shithole.” Rachel Maddow said it once, warning in advance that she was about to swear. Lawrence O’Donnell used it a bit more frequently, but always in proper context, relating how both his (and my) and Trump’s ancestors had come to America from what were at the time “shithole countries.” In his handoff from Rachel, Lawrence even discussed how today, thanks to our President, was an adventure in parenting skills for every mother and father.
Last night was important, and so is the follow up today. There is nothing that dulls the import and impact of unacceptable behavior more than diluting it. George W Bush knew it, why do you think he barred the media from going to Dover air force base to beam out images of all of those flag draped containers, filled with American heroes, being solemnly carried off of C-130 transports? Saying the word “bleephole” on television or radio, or typing it as “sh*thole” on print media gives the offense an “Aww, Ricky said a bad word, but isn’t he cute?” connotation.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that Lester Holt, or Anderson Cooper, or any other media journalist go full George Carlin every night on the news. Everybody swears, and we all know it. Hell, I knew my kids swore, they just couldn’t do it in the house until the proper age. And no, we don’t need to be graphically aware of every “bullshit” or “fucking” that comes out of Trump’s filthy sewer hole. But guess what? You can bet your ass that the word “shithole” is appearing in the headline of every paper in places like Haiti, Nigeria, Zaire, Zimbabwe and the Congo today, and every person who reads or hears it knows exactly what context it was used in. This is no time for us to be such delicate little national snowflakes.
Because this is dangerous. Cast your mind back just a couple of months ago. We lost four brave American’s in an ambush in Niger. You remember, the guy “who knew what he signed up for”? There was a question at the time about the level and timeliness of support that the US team received from the local troops. How much support do you think our troops in Niger, or Somalia, or other terrorist hot spots in Africa can expect from the troops in those shitholes now? Trump has literally put American lives at risk.
But it’s important for another reason. Up until now, GOP politicians have had an easy time distancing themselves from the moral wasteland knows as Donald Trump. They have simply been able to say that “I certainly don’t agree with, or condone the President’s words,” or “I don’t pay attention to his tweets.” This is easy to do when those quotes and tweets are being filtered through the Disney Channel. But now, Republican members of congress are being confronted with the entire, unedited “shithole,” a cold, hard slap in the face, courtesy of their own, dear “sh*thead.” Cheers to GOP representative Mia Love (R-UT), whose parents hail from Haiti, for demanding that His Lowness not only apologize to the country, but to the countries he slandered as well.
This is a problem for the GOP as a party. As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night, his and my Irish ancestors, and Trump’s German ancestors didn’t flee here from lands of milk and honey, they fled here from shitholes. And as Karine Jean Pierre, whose parents also hail from Haiti pointed out last night, in Charleston South Carolina, there is a statue to the Haitian freemen who sailed to America to help George Washington bring independence to America. Just what other countries do you consider to be shitholes Mr President? How many more American voters ethnic origins and pride are you willing to sacrifice at your soulless altar? Inquiring minds want to know. But I will close with this. For quite possibly the first time in my oife, I’m really looking forward to seeing Sarah Huckabee Sanders step behind the podium in the White House briefing room today. It should be one helluva show.