I spent the better part of last night listening to foreign news broadcasts over the Internet. Not surprisingly, the number one topic EVERYWHERE, was Trump’s racism.
The bigger broadcasters—BBC, Deutsche Welle, etc., are almost indistinguishable in content from their American counterparts. So I decided to monitor the English language broadcasts of the far-flung, off the beaten path countries, just to get a feel for how the story is playing there.
First stop: the Falkland Islands (which is English-speaking anyway). The female announcer read the headline verbatim from the BBC feed, then added her own observation: “It’s shocking to hear ‘Go back where they came from’ from an American leader, isn’t it? America is where the displaced aspire to go.”
Then I listened to Indian, Chinese, Maldivian, Tongan, Nepalese, even Caledonian English language broadcasts. All pretty much the same (with emphasis on the racism angle varying a bit from each), but all mentioned the “Go back home” line.
I think that most folks here in the states are so shocked by Trump’s blatant racism (why, at this point, I don’t know), that we’re ignoring the damage he’s doing to this nation for decades to come. Wherever you go in this world, even to countries that hate us or our government, we’ve always been seen as the great melting pot—our original sin of institutional slavery notwithstanding.
One of the more emotional scenes in The Godfather (there’s ALWAYS a Godfather reference), is when the 9 year old Vito Andolini, an immigrant from Sicily sees the Statue of Liberty for the first time as the ship enters New York Harbor. The music builds… Vito looks out through the tangle of ropes and cables on the ship… suddenly everyone onboard is standing with him, still wearing their tattered clothes from the lands they left behind, as Lady Liberty welcomes them home. HOME. Not on a tourist visa. Not as temporary residents. Not as “guests.” They disembarked at Ellis Island as Russians, Germans, Italians, Welsh, Irish, Nigerians, Mexicans, Poles, Indians — as Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews — and emerged as Americans. Just as American as anyone else on the continent.
The late Mario Cuomo once said America isn’t so much a melting pot, as it is a mosaic. I’ve always loved that thought. His Italian roots didn’t suddenly END when his parents came over. They still spoke Italian at home, cooked the same pasta dishes, adhered to their Roman Catholic Faith, but were no longer citizens of Italy, nor subjects of the Italian government. They were AMERICANS now, and had the documents to prove it. And the same applies to us all.
America is our HOME. All 325,145,963 of us. Our ancestry is NOT.
The whole world, our adversaries and otherwise, knows this about us. It’s who we’ve always been, though we haven’t always lived up to it. That failure manifests itself in the dark corners of society; in poorly educated communities where the Archie Bunkers and David Dukes of America cling to their hate-filled ways.
But now, for the first time ever, it’s come directly from the pinnacle of American power. From an icon of We the People: A United States President, standing on the White House grounds told fourwomen of color, all members of the U.S. Congress, all of whom have just as much right to be here as he does, to “Go back where you came from.”
THAT is what the rest of the world is talking about today, July 16th, 2019. Not Donald Trump’s personal failings as a specimen of humanity, which they’ve already long accepted as fact.