What Makes a Country a ‘Shithole,’ to Use President Trump’s Phrase?

Every Country Is a Shithole. Every Country Is Great.

What Trump doesn’t understand is that countries are no better or worse than their people.

By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Jan. 18, 2018, at 7:00 a.m.

What makes a country a shithole?

Last week President Trump ignited a firestorm when, in a meeting with members of Congress in the White House, he allegedly referred to certain immigrants as coming from “shithole countries,” speaking in part about countries in Africa with predominantly black citizens. He also suggested that we need more immigrants from places like Norway, which he would no doubt claim has nothing to do with the fact that Norway is full of people with blonde hair, blue eyes and peaches-and-cream complexions.

There has been considerable discussion about the issue ever since. Some in the White House claim he said “shithouse” not “shithole.” (Which begs the question: Is that any better?)

Some claim that he didn’t say it. Even the president issued a rather weak denial, suggesting that he used strong words but that the claim that he said those words was simply not true.

The problem?

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Republicans Should Fear an Oprah 2020 Campaign

The GOP Should Fear Oprah

She’s compelling, likable and nearly impossible to attack, so Republicans should hope she doesn’t run.

By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Jan. 12, 2018, at 7:00 a.m.

At the Golden Globes on Sunday, Oprah Winfrey shocked the political system by giving a speech that suggested she might have higher aspirations than actress, talk show host and business mogul.

She spoke to women. Women who have felt silenced or powerless in the workplace because of the actions of a handful of corrupt men. She spoke to people of color. People who have felt excluded from opportunities because of stereotyping or typecasting that left them on the fringes of the main event in our culture. She spoke to America. An America that is tired, frustrated, at odds with one another, even in their own families, because events and players in Washington have pulled us apart at the seams.

She never spoke about policy. There was no mention of a wall, whether to build one or not to build one. There was no mention of abortion, taxes or nuclear arms. There was just Oprah, talking from her heart.

As I watched her speech, it didn’t strike me as intentionally “political”. It struck me that Oprah had a message to share and she wanted to make an impact, but she wasn’t thinking in terms of ambitions for the presidency. But she spoke to America in that unique Oprah way and America remembered her and realized that it has missed her.

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The Hollowness of Trump’s Promise to ‘Make America Great Again’

What Makes America Great

Trump’s slogan suggests our country was once great but is no longer. Is that true?

By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Dec. 22, 2017, at 7:00 a.m.

A little over two years ago, Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination for president with a bang. He and his team came up with a brilliant slogan on which to base their campaign: “Make America Great Again.” It was even more brilliant 38 years ago when Ronald Reagan’s team came up with it, but team Trump acted as though it was their original idea.

This simple slogan, or “MAGA” for short, has come to symbolize President Trump and his overriding philosophy for his presidency. The brilliance lies in the simplicity of it but also lies in its vagueness. After all, what does it mean to “Make America Great”? Let alone to make it great “again.”

Many years ago, I was on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a beautiful, idyllic place full of Victorian homes, quaint shops, million dollar views of the Straits of Mackinac connecting two of the Great Lakes and horses and buggies in lieu of motorized vehicles, which are prohibited on the island. I rented a horse and buggy to tour the island with my brother and sister-in-law, as well as my college roommate Mary, who happens to be half African-American and half Korean. As we toured the island my sister-in-law, a lover of all things Victorian, was marveling at how wonderful it would have been to live in that era. Mary said with a chuckle, “Sure, it would have been great for you guys! You’re white! I would probably have been a slave!” It was a light-hearted, funny moment thanks to Mary’s sense of humor. But recently I’ve thought about that moment in the context of “making America great again.”

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