Monday, July 13, 2015

Donald Trump Must Have Flunked History

photo by Gage Skidmore / flickr
Although Ken stopped talking about it, the compilations of Margaret's dislikes became an obsession with him. When she refused to patronize a Chinese laundry, he learned that she was against the Chinese and, it seemed, all Orientals. The Russians she hated with patriotic zeal. The English she thought snobbish, the French immoral, the Germans brutal, and all South Americans lazy. Category by category, she closed humanity out." 
   --Sloan Wilson, A Summer Place

The other day a friend turned on Fox News. "Why Fox News?"  He said: " I like it." He joins a crowded theatre full of folks that turn in day after day and night after night to listen to their rantings.

Suddenly on the screen Donald Trump was front and center. Not only, of course on Fox News but on all the stations and the newspapers ad naseum. When are we going to learn that giving exposure to negativism and arrogance are not healthy foods.

I watched carefully as Mr. Trump yelled and screamed about the illegals. Especially the Mexican whom he said just might be rapists, murderers, ready to hook all our children on drugs and take over our jobs. Well, not all, he conceded.

I recalled my trip to Ellis Island. Passing Miss Liberty with her torch held high, our boat landed on the island where most of the immigrants had to first come years ago to enter the United States. It was moving to think about all the tributaries from all over the world that emerged to make America what it is.

As I looked at all their displays I came to a room
 and read these words:

"Japanese sentiment on the West Coast peaked between 1914 and 1924. A 'Swat the Jap' campaign swept Los Angeles in 1922. In addition to signs...leaflets were printed that said:

You came to care for lawns
  we stood for it
You came to work in our truck gardens
  we stood for it
You  sent our children to our public schools, 
  we stood for it
You moved your families in our midst
  we stood for it
You proposed to build a church in our neighborhood
  You impose more on us each day
  until you have gone your limit
And then I remembered--from the very beginning our country has had to struggle with the true meaning of the tiny-big word: all. This all has often been a word that sticks in the throats of many. Do we have such a short memory? Not too many years ago it was the Italians, the Irish, the Japanese and the Chinese that we picked on. Remember those ships we turned away from Germany crammed with Jews who sought refuge from Hitler? We turned them back. Remember the Japanese camps where we penned up decent citizens for years? Most all the non-Anglos have had a hard time getting into our country.

Read Timothy Egan's fine article on this problem: "Not Like Us". It appeared days ago in The New York Times. He reminds us that Miss Liberty has had a hard time keeping her promise to the peoples of the world. We thought maybe a great deal of this us-them business was behind us but the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that hate groups across the land are at an all-time high.

Wonder how many of these protesters are fine Christian people? Jesus reminded us that "I was a stranger and you took me in." Somehow in our fear or prejudice we have forgotten our whole history. And, as George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

                                      --Roger Lovette /

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