|ERIC THAYER / THE NEW YORK TIMES|
There is no more horrifying example of the perniciously erosive effect the Trump presidency is inflicting on American society than the Shithole Countries Comment. That is, until yet another new low is reached.
After working its way through the media sausage factory and what passes for public discourse since Trump used the profane phrase on January 11 during one of his patented temper tantrums, this one over immigration diluting America's whiteness, the upshot is that racism has now been dumbed down to the point where it has become just another issue along with, say, the ethicacy of fluoridating drinking water, preserving federal wilderness areas or increasing tariffs on Chinese steel.
Race is a central fact of America, its melting pot history and its bloodiest war, which was fought over whether people should be allowed to own and enslave other people. Racism is not just another issue. It has long been the most serious problem afflicting the republic.
This dissembling of racism is a consequence of everything that gestates in Donald Trump's small mind and escapes his Diet Coke-lubricated lips inevitably cheapening discourse, triggering news media tail chasing, liberal hankie wringing and industrial strength lying and a litanies of excuses from his Republican congressional sycophancy. In this instance, the lying has been especially egregious and the excuses especially appalling.
Trump didn't really say what he said.
It was "shithouse" or "outhouse" and not "shithole."
If you like "shithole countries," why don't you go live in one?
If Trump did say what he said, it was merely what many of us say in private.
"He's passionate about it," added press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who did not bother to deny the slur. "He's not going to apologize for trying to fix the immigration system."
The point, of course, is that regardless of precisely what Trump said, the words themselves don't matter. It is beyond dispute that he derided countries, including Haiti and African nations, populated by black and brown people and lauded Norway, a country that is almost entirely white.
And is not going to apologize for it. Got that?
In a perfect in-your-face coda to the whole stinking affair, Trump gushed to guests at Mar-a-Lago over Martin Luther King Day weekend that his "base" loved what he had said, while on the great civil rights activist's birthday itself, he chose to play golf instead of taking the leads of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who always performed community service of one kind or another in tribute to the King's memory.
Racism is not the only issue that comes out of the sausage factory these days with a shrug of the societal shoulders.§
In another time (think Clinton), evidence that the president paid hush money to cover up a sexual dalliance -- let alone the $130,000 that Trump is said to have paid Stephanie Clifford, the bend-over-and-spread-'em star of "Good Will Humping" a month before the 2016 election -- would provoke outrage, calls for a special prosecutor and . . . yup, revving up the old impeachment machine.
In another time (think . . . well, there is no antecedent), evidence that the president parlayed decades of business dealmaking with Russia oligarchs, mobsters and money laundering into a relationship with the leader of America's historic enemy so cozy that his shocking election "victory" can be attributed, in large part, to his campaign's collusion in the cyber effort to sabotage his opponent, would provoke outrage, calls for a special prosecutor and . . . yup, revving up the old impeachment machine.
Well, we got the special prosecutor, along with a lot of collective shrugs, another fusillade of lies and excuses from the GOP sycophancy and some pernicious pushing back against said prosecutor. Oh, and cobwebs continue to gather on the old impeachment machine.
The Shithole Countries Comment provoked an inevitable round of "how much more are we going to take from this lunatic?" posturing from the usual suspects in the mainscream media and liberal peanut gallery. It was, of course, the wrong question, just like whether Trump is unhinged and whether he degrades all of us also are wrong questions.
We've known Trump has been unhinged for years. So we voted him in. Trump isn't degrading us, we're degrading ourselves by not kicking him out of office. And we know but won't admit that we'll keep on "taking it" from Trump because having a uniquely dangerously ignoramus and racist in charge is, you know, just another ho-hum issue.