America’s A Shithole Now. Here’s Some Advice

From one shithole to another

“Nothing says re-elect the incumbent president like a photo op in front of rubble” Tim Hogan

The United States of America is a shithole now. Trust me, I’m from one and that’s what you are. What else do you call a country that’s poor, disease-ridden, and has a worthless passport? A shithole.

Who’s the shithole now?

I’m using the term shithole because it means something. In 2018, Trump referred to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) nations as shitholes. He asked “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He was referring to places like Haiti or El Salvador that were experiencing violence or natural disasters. Well, who’s experiencing violence and natural disasters now?

America today is a running pandemic disaster, entirely self-inflicted. While ‘third world’ nations like Sri Lanka and Mongolia have proved themselves rich in health, America has been revealed as poor and corrupt. America is a complete dumpster fire, entirely manmade.

At the same time, America is facing unending waves of police and paramilitary violence — beating, killing, and gassing protestors, unmarked vans abducting people off the street. This isn’t even happening in the third world anymore, we’re just looking at America like ‘woah, slow down’. Of course this is not new to America, America has been droning and torturing the world for years, abducting children at its borders, and professionally oppressing Muslims, migrants, and minorities for decades. But now it’s happening to everyone. Now you can see what your nation really is.

What really makes the shit sandwich is corruption. Today, America is deeply and obviously corrupt. The US Presidency is surrounded by rank nepotism and grift that would make the most arrogant dictator blush. Trump puts his idiot progeny in front of the rubber-stamp Republican Convention, whose only policy is to support Trump. Even the most brazen dictator crafts more of a fig leaf than this, and hides their most idiot children. Trump launders government money through hotels called TRUMP. Even the most obviously corrupt leader is not so obvious.

The US is so corrupt right now that their postal service doesn’t work, nor public health, nor any federal institution really. This isn’t your usual corruption, this is complete cannibalization of the state.

The result is a country with mass unemployment, civil unrest, food banks, rising homelessness, rampant disease, state and paramilitary thugs on the street. Imagine that it’s not white people for a second. What does this sound like to you?

This final piece is how the world perceives you. Shithole is an epithet coming from other people, no one decides it for themselves. I come from Sri Lanka, which only makes the news when we’re dying, usually with a white person explaining why. People definitely call us a shithole. America today is worse. America is a running disaster every day. People really don’t understand, but this is how an entire generation will know America. They will not know your great past, it’s already like an old drunk talking about how cool they were in high school. America will only be known as a disaster.

This is true shithole status. When disaster becomes your identity to the world. This is the worst because the sink lasts for decades. Americans really don’t understand, but this is their fate. The stigma lasts for generations. Believe me, I live in one. You probably still think of Sri Lanka as violent and poor, even though we’re more advanced than America or Europe right now (the latter proudly hiding behind the American dumpster fire).

So believe me when I tell you. America is the shithole now.

Some Advice

From one shithole to another, here’s some advice. Not advice really, these are just our experiences that Americans thinks themselves immune from, but you’re really not. It’s probably humanly impossible to listen because pride, but you can’t say you weren’t warned.

It gets worse before it gets better

It’s not going to get better in November. You can’t save yourselves with one election, especially one which is already corrupted. Even in older democracies like Sri Lanka we’ve never had an election as messed up as yours. We never sabotaged our own post office. This is new territory and you have to go through, it’s too late to turn around.

America today is one Reichstag Fire away from dictatorship. People don’t understand this but I guess the Germans didn’t either. Trump is campaigning on ‘Law & Order’, ie, full fascism, arrests and war on American cities. And he has upwards of 40% of support for this. Hitler only had 32% of the German Parliament, and then he just had to fan one fire to take over the whole thing. Your guy is already ruling by Executive Order now. You have no idea how close you are to the abyss. It’s entirely possible that you’ve already fallen in.

Even if, inshallah, America pulls back, you’re still dragging a 40% population that’s openly fascist now. They’re also armed, riled up, and massively, corporately misinformed by Facebook and Fox News. They’re not going away. The Republican Party is corrupt and still controls much of government. Federal courts are packed with zealots, racists and crazies. If you think the visible rot is bad, imagine what’s lurking underneath? If you think the CDC and Postal Service has been corrupted, that’s happened to every American institution. That doesn’t go away with one election.

In Sri Lanka racism and state violence turned into not one but three insurrections, plunging the country into over 30 years of civil war. At independence we were more advanced than Singapore, and then we ended up way behind. It gets worse before it gets better. Literally no one believes this of themselves, but it seems to happen to everybody. This is not going to be over in November. You guys are in for a long, rocky haul.

Get out

The most practical advice is to just leave. This is what nearly a million Sri Lankans did, and earlier was better. This happens in every ‘shithole’ country, hence the TPS status. I don’t know where Americans can go as you’re banned as COVID carriers now, but you need to seriously consider it. By the time this becomes obvious, it’s often too late.

This is really weird to say about America, but it is what it is. This is what people living in ‘shitholes’ have to do, and this is where you live now. Nobody listens to this advice, but you need to consider it. Pack some moveable goods. Be ready to leave. Get out.

Fight

And yet people do stay. Most do. And they have to fight. Again, earlier is better. If you wait till you’re fighting for your own life, it’s too late. Like Niemoller said, you need to stand up for other people before it gets too you. There was opposition to Hitler early, but later on it just disappeared. Literally. Those people disappeared. The lesson of World War II was to resist early. All we seem to have learned is that gas chambers are bad, but that anything short of that is fine.

Americans should be in the streets now, while it’s possible, because that freedom can rapidly disappear. And then it’s hard. Then you lose lots of people. You lose a generation. You end up with only the political cockroaches that survive and it takes decades to ever come back. So I’d say fight now, though it seems difficult. It only gets more impossible later.

Protect your institutions

Sri Lanka got out of shitholistan decades later in large part because our democratic institutions survived. We’ve had universal franchise longer than America and have somehow held functional elections throughout war, insurrection, and now COVID. This worries me because Americans have had the vote for less time, they naturally vote less, and their electoral system is structurally broken anyways (the popular winner doesn’t win). You have to preserve your elections because that’s the only thing that give future generations hope (not necessarily you) but at the same time thinking just in terms of elections ends up with sham elections. You need to be politicking all the time, at higher and higher risk.

Like I said, it gets worse before it gets better. If you’re not going to get your family out (totally understandable), then get ready for a long haul, and protect whatever you can.

Welcome To The Club

So Americans, welcome to the sad and sorry club. I won’t deny a lot of schadenfreude, as your empire has been a vile and pompous one, but I truly feel for you Americans as fellow human beings. It is the migrant, the Black and the poor that are crushed first and I’m in solidarity with you.

The only comfort, I think, is that the American edifice was always rotten. The boot has always been on someone’s neck, the corruption has always been robbing someone, the violence has already spread across the world. Now it’s all out in the open, in full collapse. And the whole thing does have to come down. In the last 20 years you’ve become a cancer of greed and violence across the globe, choking the very air. America was built like a brick house, but now it’s just a burning outhouse on a hill. Good riddance. And good luck.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

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