Get Back, Donald

Donald Trump has put his big foot, once again, into his bigger mouth.  He must be crazy, telling immigrants to go back where they came from, just because they openly declare their hatred for the country that has taken them in.  Even Trump’s American friend in the UK,  Piers Morgan, has called him on the carpet. (If you don't think a foreigner who hates this country can be a good American, you haven't been paying attention.) 

It is racism, Morgan declares, to think that native born Americans who love their country are better Americans than hostile immigrants who  spend their days condemning the people who have taken care of so many indigent foreigners.   It is only an accident that their own places of origin--e.g., Somalia, Puerto Rico, India and Jamaica--are hellholes of poverty and violence.  They or their parents came here, presumably, on the mistaken assumption that they could have a better life.   The President appears to think that if these people have changed their mind, they should go back to their beloved homelands where life will be better.  He could not be more wrong.

Apparently the President has not been reading all those books—written as often by conservatives as by leftists—that fifth generation Americans are not as patriotic as a Mexican with his shirt still wet from the Rio Grande.  If he had been properly schooled by Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi, he would not have failed to understand the foundations of all modern American patriotism:  America is not an historical country with cultural and political traditions that have been passed down from early British settlers. It is an idea hatched in the minds of Robespierre, Marx, and Lincoln.

Such patriotism may have served the effete nations of Old Europe, but not America.  We are an exceptional nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, children, pets, space aliens, and moon rocks are created equal.  Since USA is an abstraction, not a blood-and-soil nation made up of flesh-and-blood men and women, all that it takes to be a good American is to pay lip service to a few basic propositions.

We all know what they are, because we hear them every day on the radio and read them on the internet.  

Proposition #1: All people—however you define them—are equal, which means the same.  Men, women, and children.  Honest law-abiding taxpayers and welfare-devouring felons.  Christians and Jews, Muslims and Santerians.  The same.

Proposition #2:  Since all people are pretty much the same everywhere, they all deserve a place in the sun which shines only on the great 48 plus two.

Proposition #3:  Since all people are equal, then any group of people who have ever asserted their superiority by conquering, oppressing, or—especially—excelling and outcompeting others must be forced to pay their victims forever and ever, saecula saeculorum, world without end.

Proposition #4 Money is not enough.  we must also compensate the victims of our superiority by apologizing to them at every turn, pretending not to notice their ignorance and stupidity and criminality.  It’s Christian turned on its head into diabolical self-hatred.

Those who find any flaws in these propositions have two choices:  Leave the country or shut up.  So, AOC and her mentally deficient colleagues are completely right.  It is not they but Donald Trump who must go back where he came from.  Ironically, since he was born in Queens, Donald could become one of AOC’s constituents. 

We interrupt our program for a religious message from ee cummings, who long ago explained where the cult of American exceptionalism was taking us:

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
Avatar photo

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

9 Responses

  1. Raymond Olson says:

    In all the “commentary” on the offensive tweets that I’ve heard, no one has said what the taunt, “If you don’t like it, go back where you came from,” used to mean and perhaps still does to most of those who toss it. In an argument, it’s equivalent to “Shut up or fight”. It doesn’t matter if the kid who says it lives next door and has for all his life–and you’re going to play ball with him after lunch, or tomorrow.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Yes, indeed. Of course in Wisconsin, the phrase takes on added fire, if the object of abuse is from Minnesota. Perhaps Trump was only sending Mz Omar back to the Twins, a place I always insert into the verse, when I hear a song of Hank Jr.’s–You could send me to Hell or those damned Twin Cities, It’d be about the same to me.

    It was good seeing you, Ray, at the Summer Program. I wish I could remember the names of all the films you recommended, but all the brandy and beer I consumed on the outing into the wilds of Southwestern Wisconsin have befuddled my memory.

  3. Raymond Olson says:

    I know you jest about the Twin Cities–though I myself have reservations about Minneapolis, it is my daughter’s and granddaughter’s home, and I was born in a Minneapolis hospital.

    The brandy and wine I consumed similarly clouded my recollection. Perhaps I was talking about MItchell Leisen, whose films just about always look smashing because he started out as a costume and set designer. He made a couple of very funny screwball comedies, Hands across the Table with Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray and No Time for Love with MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. Easy Living, written by Preston Sturges, and Midnight, written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, are pretty good, too. Kitty, a costume drama-cum-comedy that was very successful in 1945, with Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard, may be Leisen’s best film; rather a variation on the plot of Forever Amber, it’s been utterly forgotten.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I’ve seen No Time for Love. and I have liked Midnight since I first saw it in my teens. We watched it again a year or so ago. I be rely

  5. Raymond Olson says:

    Forgot to say that Kitty is also a variation of Shaw’s Pygmalion.

  6. Ben says:

    It is an interesting use of the word gorry at the end there…

  7. Ben says:

    …Delightful actually

  8. Ben says:

    Isn’t there more to the sonnet?

  9. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
    iful than these heroic happy dead
    who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
    they did not stop to think they died instead
    then shall the voice of liberty be mute?”

    He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water