×

Forum, July 18: Trump is channeling a familiar xenophobia


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trump is channelinga familiar xenophobia

President Donald Trump has now told four U.S. congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

As usual, he mangles the facts. All but one of the four, Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, (who comes from Somalia), were born here. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, was born in the Bronx to parents descended from Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory whose acute problems Trump has done virtually nothing to help fix; Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, was born in Detroit to immigrants from Palestine, which he has likewise done nothing to help; and Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, is an African American woman born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. Besides ignoring these facts, Trump has no idea that he is channeling the kind of xenophobia that broke out against his own forbears during World War I, when we were fighting Germany.

Trump is the grandson of German Lutheran immigrants, and his father, Fred, was actually conceived in Bavaria before Fred’s parents landed in New York on July 10, 1905. On June 14, 1917, when Fred was 11, President Woodrow Wilson declared: “The military masters of Germany have filled our unsuspecting communities with vicious spies and conspirators and have sought to corrupt the opinion of our people ... (and) to undermine the Government with false professions of loyalty to its principles.” Wilson thus launched a wave of anti-German hysteria that reached its ugly peak on April 3, 1918, when an enraged mob in Collinsville, Ohio, lynched a German coal miner named Robert Prager, who was suspected of ties to German agents supposedly bent, according to rumor, on blowing up the mine where he worked. There was no more truth to the rumor — or to Wilson’s extravagant charge — than there is to Trump’s revolting sneer.

JAMES HEFFERNAN

Hanover

Times change, butexplanations are needed

Your recent editorial brings up a concern of interest to Thetford and the whole Upper Valley (“Latham Library trustees need to explain their strategic vision — and their decision to fire longtime librarian,” July 11). For what reason is librarian Peter Blodgett to be fired by the trustees of Latham Memorial Library without explanation, even at a recent meeting at which many of Blodgett’s supporters spoke?

Times do change. For example, Thetford has decided to hire a town manager. But matters like these do need some specifically clear explanations.

I have known Blodgett for a long time and am very grateful to him. My husband, from Nebraska, and I settled in Thetford because he was happiest in the country, even though he was a professor of classics at Dartmouth. Our four children graduated happily from Thetford Academy, went onto college and careers. Matt Wiencke, my husband, served as moderator in Thetford for many years. And I was a teacher at TA and occasionally at Dartmouth.

We have loved this town very much. I hope that whose who make future changes in Thetford will keep all these many factors constantly in mind.

MARTHA HEATH WIENCKE

Hanover

Thanks for a great read

I was visiting relatives in Croydon and grabbed an issue of your newspaper. I have to have a paper with my coffee in the morning, and in my travels I have read many.

I just want to say your newspaper is one of the best. Tight, well-presented articles and diversified topics. Thanks for a great read to accompany my coffee.

JOYCE TURGEON

Douglassville, Pa.