Now that the media has moved on to the vital question of whether President Trump is 6-feet-2 or 6-feet-3, let’s take a more sober look at last week’s faux scandal.
When U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) ran to the Washington Post to report President Trump asked during a private meeting why our policies invite immigration from “shithole” countries, the reaction was predictable. It doesn’t matter that the president denied saying it, or that others in the room claimed they didn’t hear it, or that Durbin has lied in the past about Republicans making allegedly racist remarks behind closed doors. Durbin’s story fit the narrative. So Trump was branded a racist Nazi. Again.
Hollywood celebrity activists were livid. Media mavens asked Republican guests whether they think Trump is a bigoted racist or a racist bigot. Democratic politicians, who expect all good immigrants (legal and illegal) to come to the aid of their party, bloviated with manufactured outrage. Like a drawing room filled with Victorian old maids, all the anti-Trumpers were reaching for their lace hankies and smelling salts. But Victoria isn’t queen anymore, and however much we may lament it, obscenity is commonplace.
Words that once burnt the ears of the innocent are now part of everyday conversation. When Mom or Pop stubs a toe, they swear. When Little Billy or Tiny Sally drops an ice cream cone, they swear. After “Mama” and “Dada,” the third word Itty-Bitty Jane utters is apt to be an obscenity she learned from her parents’ toe misadventures or her siblings’ ice cream disasters. Old-fashioned curses such as “Oh, fudge!,” “Cheese and crackers!,” “Jeezum crow!” and “Gawl dang it!” have gone the way of tail fins, coonskin hats, and beehive hairdos.
Trump isn’t the first president to go “blue.” Other presidents have sworn. Lyndon Johnson was noted for his raw language and deliberate vulgarity, even discussing executive policies with subordinates while sitting on the toilet. It was meant to put those he thought too high-toned (particularly Ivy League grads) in their place. John F. Kennedy delighted in risky sexual behavior and discussed it explicitly with his chums. Harry Truman’s cursing was taken as a sign he was a tough-talking, no-nonsense, everyday Joe. The press at the time buried or demurely downplayed all of it. Everyone knew presidents swore, but everyone also knew it wasn’t brought up in polite conversation. Even Richard Nixon’s expletives were deleted.
So what changed? It is not the character of the presidents we elect that has changed so much. It is the character of what we permit to be discussed in public and in the news. With Trump, the media hold up his verbal transgressions like a novice fisherman showing off his first trophy fish.
There is something puerile in the media’s fascination with the word being contested. CNN managed to employ it nearly 200 times the day after its grand revelation and have proudly continued spouting it in the days since. They sincerely want the world to be shocked that a grown man discussing a controversial issue in private with adversaries intent on strong-arming him into a one-sided deal that violates a key campaign pledge might pop off with an obscenity even though politicians they favor commonly use worse language in public speeches.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) dropped an F-bomb during a speech at the Personal Democracy Forum in June and twice more in a New York magazine interview. U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) accused Sen. Ted Cruz of “sure as shit not serving” his constituents. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez gave a speech, with children on stage by his side, in which he declared Trump “doesn’t give a shit about healthcare.” The Democratic National Committee was so charmed by Perez’s obscenity—which they seem to think conveyed righteous indignation in a hip way—that it sold $30 t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Democrats give a sh*t about people.” One suspects many people want less of the stuff Democrats are giving.
Let’s suppose Trump did say what Durbin claims he said. There are other less offensive equally accurate words available to describe places where few sane persons would enjoy residency: “hellhole,” “cesspool,” “disaster zone,” “Mad Maxville,” “Detroit.” Noticing the unpleasantness of a particular spot isn’t racist. Sally Struthers, as a spokesperson for the Christian Children’s Fund (now ChildFund), never used vulgarity to describe the godawful places where that charity tried to improve the lives of children, but she did emotionally enumerate the dreadful conditions there. Correctly describing a nightmarish locale isn’t racist. Sally Struthers isn’t a racist.
Denying reality is essential in a politically correct world. The denial in this instance is that some places are horrible and that their horribleness might make bad citizens of their people. Maybe, just maybe, some of those people would be less-than-ideal immigrants to the United States. But instead of treating that possibility with some measure of seriousness, we’re supposed to pretend to admire all nations that aren’t designated oppressors, like ours, no matter how obviously terrible they are. To cast shade on them would be “racist,” and we can’t have that. Besides, we’re the reason they’re not so hot that we’re selfish bigots who stole their prosperity by buying stuff they sold us. Or something like that.
The idea, apparently, is that we should give them lots more foreign aid, even if much of that money winds up in the Swiss bank accounts of their presidents-for-life. For the P.C. person, it is impossible to believe that the reason America isn’t as terrible as these benighted spots is that the men and women who built our nation struggled to make it a good place. Things like freedom of speech, trial by jury, universal suffrage, civil rights, and equality before the law didn’t just appear spontaneously. They are the result of centuries of hard work, suffering, sacrifice, and warfare. They are the spoils of our struggle to enshrine freedom. And they aren’t necessarily permanent. America’s college campuses, for example, are busily silencing free speech because it might hurt someone’s feelings.
Good Culture Makes a Good Nation
Culture plays a critical role in creating a better world. We tend to think of it as just about entertainment and the arts but culture includes all the customs that guide us through life. It shapes what we see as right and wrong, good and evil.
There are lots of bad influences on our culture, but there are good influences, too. As kids, we hear about George Washington’s honesty and perseverance during the Revolution and are encouraged to be honest and persevere in confronting our difficulties. Our clergy teaches us to help the disadvantaged. Mom tells us to share and say “thank you.” Dad tells us to stand up to bullies.
Our occupations also shape our culture. Farmers are compelled to bend to the whims of nature and learn to be stalwart. Factory workers must cooperate and be precise. Teachers have to cultivate the patience to endure raucous students and help them learn. Office workers need to overcome routine drudgery with diligence. These and countless other obligations and rules of behavior mold our culture, and a good culture produces good people, and a good people creates a good nation.
Most of the people in the awful parts of the world bear little blame for creating the awfulness they endure, but some do. These creators of chaos include the pompous dictators and their cronies, religious leaders who use bigotry and ignorance to elevate themselves, generals with a foundry’s worth of medals on their chests who make war on their own citizens, bureaucrats who extort bribes for the simplest of services, criminals who exploit the lack of law to build criminal empires, and soldiers and law enforcement officers who gladly serve as brutal lackeys to anyone who pays the most. The rest of the citizenry go along to get along. In doing so, many come to believe that corruption is the natural way of the world and join in it, further lowering standards.
When the creators of chaos and these corrupted citizens migrate to other nations, they bring chaos with them. In the past, immigrants wanted to assimilate into the culture of their new country, in part, because this country and its citizens demanded it. Today, many resist assimilation and try to recreate the culture they fled, including its defects. With our misplaced sympathies and inferior understanding of our own inheritance, we do not resist. The politically correct encourage this in the name of “diversity,” a concept that sounds nice but is corrosive when it creates sub-cultures that are hostile to the culture that built our nation.
How Many More?
It would be nice if some government agency could scrutinize immigrants and identify those who can be trusted, but this is nearly impossible. The millions who come here overburden the system, which routinely can’t find reliable data to use on the few they can spend more than minutes reviewing. Illegal immigrants evade much scrutiny at all.
Despite this, the unlimited immigration crowd wants us to welcome anyone who can slip across the border or be part of a chain of relatives that can include a third cousin’s mother-in-law’s uncle, or, even more insanely, be chosen at random in a “diversity lottery.”
Depending on who you believe, somewhere between 11 million and 30 million illegal immigrants live currently in the United States; another 37 million immigrants have been admitted legally since 2000. The 2016 Current Population Survey (CPS) reports that immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 84.3 million people, or 27 percent of the population overall. There are billions more who would happily migrate here. The question open-borders types never answer is precisely how many more are we supposed to accept? Another 50 million? 100 million? 200? If we issue bunk beds to every person in America, we could double up and take 330 million.
Truth is, proponents of unlimited immigration rarely interact with low-skilled immigrants beyond the ones they hire as nannies, gardeners, or workers in their factories, and then always for meager wages. They live in ways that insulate them from the working class, whether foreign or home-grown. They don’t ride the bus with these immigrants. Their kids don’t go to schools with them. They don’t care if predators are being imported and seeded into every corner of the country, because they are safe in their gated communities and secure apartment buildings. They argue that the danger of being killed by an immigrant is less than that of being struck by lightning. One is an accident, however, and the other is the result of outrageous government policy. It’s as if the government forced some Americans to run around in a thunderstorm waving metal flagpoles. You’re a bigot if, in that situation, you’re concerned about your family’s safety.
They’re loving humanitarians who want to share America’s bounty with the world. You’re a racist if you worry that more millions of unassimilated immigrants might turn America into a—well, you know.