author: aurel dumont | contributor
As it turns out, Trump is simply stoking a flame of stupidity that humanity lit a long time ago.
Humanity as a whole should have learned from the abysmal presidential performances of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan that it’s a bad decision to elect a celebrity as a president. It seems karma has manifested in its ultimate form of that fuck-up as the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. In a recent and entirely unsurprising statement, Trump has pouted about the origins of the United States’ immigrants. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked a group of lawmakers last Thursday. Of course, as decent human beings, most of us can identify that remark as morally wrong, which I would say is undeniable. But how exactly, other than being crude and inappropriate, is Trump’s comment wrong? As it turns out, Trump is simply stoking a flame of stupidity that humanity lit a long time ago.
In his book titled “On Monsters,” Stephen Asma explores the history of xenophobia, or the fear of other races. He notes that the ancient Greeks and Romans often thought of all races, other than their own, to be uncivilized savages. Among other potential purposes, this may have served to ancient society is the reaffirmation that one’s people are “good.” This logic is based on the human tendency toward binary thought. To us, the world is black and white; either we are good, or we are bad. Moreover, if group B lives in distant lands and is entirely unlike group A, and group B are all savages who eat children, then group A has to be good on account of their complete dissimilitude to group B. Edward Said called this predominantly Western phenomena “Orientalism,” a term that can be used to generally refer to the assumption that far-away places are entirely different.
The state of the countries which Trump referred to in his statements may, in fact, be horrific, and I have no intention of asserting that places like Haiti aren’t in utter peril. What I will insist, though, is that the current conditions of these countries are because of the West’s fear of them. With 12,018 years of development and technological progress under our belts (if you take into account all of the really important stuff that happened before Jesus) we are entirely capable of rescuing the third-world from the maladies that plague it. The only thing stopping us is the fallacious fear of the “Other.”
Sadly, Trump’s repulsion to Haitians and other immigrating ethnicities isn’t exclusive to him. Many citizens of North America share his fear of “others.” Until we can overcome our fear of the inhabitants of far-off lands, we will never be able to achieve the cross-cultural cooperation that humanity needs to survive.
On one last note, I’d like to take on Trump’s assumption that the U.S. isn’t a shithole country itself. Despite possessing only five per cent of the human population, the U.S. holds 25 per cent of all incarcerated people on the planet. With a budget of 30 billion dollars, the USDA has a <1 per cent efficiency at stopping drugs from entering the country. In 2014, the U.S. contained 24.4 per cent of the world’s population of people with drug-abuse disorders. As of 2015, the U.S. has by far the most expensive healthcare system in the world. With an unemployment rate of 8.6 per cent (according to the Department of Labor, September 2017) the U.S. is worse off than China, Mexico, and Russia (Trump’s favorite countries). Finally, at #10 on the Human Development Index’s “Best Places to Live,” the list on which Norway scores number one, it’s easy to see why no Norwegians are flocking to live under the ridiculous rule of Donald J. Trump.