"More often than not, are nearly as wrong-headed as the president. You’re so self-satisfied that your hearts are in the right place that you kind of forget to use your heads"
Make them stop!
It’s summer. The lazy, hazy, crazy days Nat King Cole sang about. I should be writing something whimsical about sunsets or sandcastles.
But no! Erin Burnett had to go and turn her CNN chat show into an English classroom.
She asked a Trump administration flunky for his interpretation of Emma Lazarus’ Statue of Liberty poem “The New Colossus.” Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli believes the poem needs a tweak.
“Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” said Cuccinelli, who has spoken proudly of his Irish as well as Italian roots.
Cuccinelli later added, “That poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.”
Let the merry go round begin!
Of course, it is hypocritical that a knucklehead with an Ellis Island name like Cuccinelli would make a living passing judgments on immigrants.
But guess what, Trump haters? You guys, more often than not, are nearly as wrong-headed as the president. You’re so self-satisfied that your hearts are in the right place that you kind of forget to use your heads.
Senor Leprechaun -- Beto O’Rourke, if you prefer -- tweeted for many when he said, "This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people.”
You can accuse Cuccinelli of many things. But I don’t think racism quite applies, because, first and foremost, coherence does not apply!
I have no clue what the hell Cuccinelli is babbling on about. Referring back to people coming from Europe? What the hell does that even mean?
But okay, any reference to Europe is too tempting a dose of catnip for certain kinds of Twitter users. And so, the president’s critics were content, yet again, to hammer home the talking point that this is a white supremacist administration.
In doing so (yet again), they passed up an opportunity to pose a much more consequential question: Why do so many assimilated grandchildren of yesterday’s immigrants support a president who uses language very similar to the anti-Irish, anti-Italian, anti-Semitic power brokers who wanted to -- and in 1924, finally did -- build a wall that may well have kept a whole other branch of the Cuccinelli family out of America?
Why does this guy have so many supporters whose names read like the manifest list of an Ellis Island immigrant ship? Names like Cuccinelli. And Hannity. And Kushner, Giuliani, Conway, Scaramucci, Kelly, and Rosenstein.
But no! They’re good coasting on the skateboard of white supremacy. Which may well be true on most occasions.
But in this particular instance, is not only inaccurate but actually -- wait for it -- shows the president’s own critics to be kind of racist.
Think about it. They heard the word “Europe” and immediately assumed this president favors white folks rather than immigrants from, say, Central America or Asia.
But look at Cuccinelli’s own garbled words. Maybe that’s what he meant to say, but it’s certainly not what he said.
None of which matters because as Daniel Okrent’s recent best-selling book The Guarded Gate made clear, “Europe” was no code word for superior culture back in Ellis Island days. Italy, Ireland. Poland. These were the “sh**hole countries” of their day.
And many argued that “all these people elbowing their way onto Ellis Island and from there into this threatened nation, all these invaders...not only were they not American, they weren’t even white,” as Okrent writes.
This is what Trump haters should be pointing out. But no. They took the bait.
And in doing so, they, too, unintentionally reinforced the assumption that there is something somehow superior about Europeans.
Well done. Now, please. Leave me to play with my sandcastle.