“Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”—Nelson Mandela
As unbelievable as it sounds, I’m feeling a little gratitude toward President Trump today. It’s been nearly two months since I took a six-country tour of southeast Africa, and I’ve struggled with what to write about that experience. Although our nearly month-long visit was remarkable in many ways, I haven’t felt inspired to get going on a multipart series just yet. That is, not until I woke up this morning to the sound of my husband, Chris, groaning. In slippered feet, I pattered downstairs to find him in our still-dark kitchen staring at his iPad, his face illuminated from below like a villain in a Vincent Price movie.
“What is it?” I asked, nervous to know the answer. It isn’t like Chris to start the day on such a sour-sounding note.
“Ohhh … it’s Trump,” he grumbled. This from a man who refuses to ruin his mornings reading headlines about our country’s, ahem, leader of the free world. Lately, the screeching from all sides of the political aisle have left us both feeling overwhelmed and helpless. So much so that lately we’ve adopted an ostrich-like approach to the news. Chris has even taken to reading the Chicago Tribune, which he still does daily on his iPad, from back to front to avoid starting with the worst of the wince-inducing POTUS faux pas. He likes to ease into the day with a healthy dose of comics instead.
But this morning was different. Before the sun had even risen on our little hidey-hole out here at the forty-ninth parallel, Chris was ambushed while trying to multitask coffee-making with newspaper-downloading. Next to the mug waiting to be filled with fuel glowed a headline that popped up from the front page: “Sen. Dick Durbin: President Trump used ‘hate-filled, vile and racist’ language in immigration meeting.”
“What could he possibly say that’s any more ridiculous than what he’s already said,” I asked.
“I’ll tell you what,” Chris answered. “He’s calling Haiti and African countries shitholes.”
Well, I don’t need to bore us all with my thoughts on that assessment. What can anyone say? Trump is like that drunk, racist uncle with Tourette’s syndrome that shows up once a year at family gatherings and no one wants to talk to him, let alone claim relation to him.
Instead, I’d like to see the silver lining of this situation and thank President Trump. That’s right. Thank you, President Trump. Because now I finally do feel inspired to write about that six-country tour of Africa. I’d like all the world to know right away that, while we saw many mudholes, bungholes, bird holes, swimming holes, watering holes, buttonholes, feed-holes, knot-holes, postholes, potholes, portholes, and even pie-holes, we did not see any shitholes—at least none that compared with the one we saw when we returned home to you and your mouth.
And to the beautiful people of Haiti and the countries of Africa, I would like to say, “Please excuse our uncle. He hasn’t had any home training.”