When Clark Gable stood in the doorway of Tara, the mansion of Scarlet O’Hara, and said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” the movie language censors spent several days working into the wee hours of the morning struggling with the monstrous task of deciding whether they should let the word “damn” remain in the movie.
Donald J. Trump just unleashed the word “shit” into the national and international lexicon as a part of the everyday usage by American politicians. Some attempted to soften the word by saying the “s-word” while others just blurted it out with regularity (no pun intended). All day long on all of the news, written or electronic, it was shit, shit, shit.The word became more important than the topic. The topic was about immigration and Trump was wondering why America was accepting immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti, Africa and San Salvador, all nations made up of people of color. He drove the knife a little deeper by saying we needed more immigrants from countries like Norway.
One can take these comments and stand them on their head and they still come out as pure racist. Republican senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark) and David Perdue (R-GA) were sitting at the table and apparently turned tone-deaf when those words were uttered. They didn’t hear Trump say any such thing.
On the other hand Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sat at the same table and heard the “s-word” loudly and clearly. Who is not telling the truth here? Or should we just assume that all politicians are liars?
While being interviewed by Joy Reid on A. M. Joy on MSNBC on Sunday morning, the Rev. James Forbes, an African American minister said, in order to warn his parishioners, “I do not use profanity, but in the name of God, this time I must and I will only say ‘shithole’ once.” He then went on to make several astute observation about what he called the “s-word.”
Dr. Forbes said that when the Americans settled this country and started to steal millions of acres of land from the Native Americans, that in order to justify that theft they had to belittle the Indians by calling them an s-word: Savages. He said that when thousands of Africans were brought to America in chains they belittled them by using the s-word: Slaves. And now the President of the United States is belittling people of color by referring to their countries of origin as “shithole countries.” And then rubs salt in the wound by implying that we need more immigrants from white countries like Norway. Native Americans have not been immune to Trump’s racist comments. When the former President of the Navajo Nation, Peter Mac- Donald, stood next to Trump in DC to accept honors for the Navajo Code Talkers, he did so to honor the Navajo Nation. Pete could not have known that Trump would tarnish this solemn occasion by referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas.
In the late 1980s when the Indian Nations were trying to get Congress to pass a bill allowing them to build casinos on their reservations the biggest opponent of the bill was Donald Trump. He knew that his faltering casinos in New Jersey would not survive the competition. He used every insult imaginable to block the Tribes from achieving their goals. Because some tribal members of the Oneida, Mohican and Pequot were part African American he said, “They sure don’t look like Indians to me.”
Trump told close friends back then that someday he would even things up with the Indians and we all know he has no qualms about seeking revenge against perceived enemies. Thankfully he has been too busy dodging collusion scandals and trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act to have the time to think up ways and means to punish the Indians. But the longer he remains in office the danger to Native Americans becomes more eminent.
There is little doubt that Trump is a racist and the anchors of many of the talk shows are now openly calling him that. But he still has his base and most of us have met the kind of people who act and think just like him. They’ve been around since Jim Crow days and they applaud this man who would demean blacks, Indians, Hispanics and Jews just like they themselves have done all of their lives. With a president that acts just like they do it is now Katy bar the door.
Clark Gable would be shocked to know that his “I don’t give a damn,” has been one-upped by “shithole” and “grab them by the pussy” Trump. Where are the word censors when you need them? Is it trending to “Trump uber alles?”
(Contact Tim Giago at najournalist1@ gmail.com)