[The Listserve] On Sh!tholes
As you may have heard, the President of the United States recently used some unkind and vulgar language to describe a vast array of majority non-white countries in the developing world, referring to them as "shithole countries". As an American citizen myself, I am generally annoyed and perturbed by the actions of this administration, but this time I just felt embarrassed. Putting aside questions of legitimacy, it is a fact that the President represents the United States to the rest of the world and when he speaks, the other 194 nations of Earth are listening. They are not listening to my statements expressing the contrary sentiment or to the opinions of the strong majority of Americans that don't support this President and want him gone. To our great misfortune, he has the microphone and we are sitting here cringing at what we are hearing.
But there is another reason that the President's remarks embarrassed me: I have called another country a "shithole" before. I've traveled around the world and have witnessed some sights, smells, and examples of soul-crushing poverty that left a bad taste in my mouth about a certain country in particular. When recounting my journeys to friends and family, I would conclude that this country was "kind of a shithole". Now, the actions of the President have illuminated my own insensitivity and callousness toward people in dire situations. These people deserve grace and generosity, not derision and dismissiveness.
So with all that in mind, I have resolved never to use such language again. Because I don't want to be like him.
Thanks for reading, if you've read this far. Be kind to one another and we'll all get through this.