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Carol Williams: You can't leave fast enough (Opinion)

Among the 194 recognized countries in the world, there is a hierarchy of which are considered industrialized, emerging or (according to some) “s***holes.” These classifications are fluid, because factors like war, famine and economic instability can cause total catastrophe to a once-developed nation.

For example, the African country of Somalia was once a thriving trade center, not the “crime-infested place” it is referred to as now. Puerto Rico, before being pillaged by the Spanish, was a tropical island inhabited by tribes of hunter-gatherers, not “broken,” as was recently described. Palestine is still considered the Holy Land of three major religions.

But one country, the Germany of 1914-1945, represents the gold standard of “complete and total catastrophe.” Guilty of war crimes beyond calculation, genocide on a scale never before seen, creator of weapons for the destruction of masses, manipulating its economy and currency to finance global domination, and ruined after single-handedly provoking two global wars — it earned the description of “the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world; totally broken and crime infested place.”

So it depends on what era we use when describing a country that has sunk so low that its expatriates should return to “help fix” the place where they, or their parents and grandparents, came from.

In the Germany of 1885, the age of conscription into the army was 16. Leaving the country before fulfilling that obligation cost a man his German citizenship. But it was easy to quietly board a ship to America, where there was no military service required of him and plenty of opportunities to buy land and operate a brothel catering to the Gold Rush miners in the Pacific Northwest. America had nearly open borders at that time, and no one checked to see if the home country considered an emigration illegal, or if they were “sending us their best.”

The drawback for this particular man was returning to marry his girl back in Bavaria. A “Royal Decree for Exile” was enforced by the German government and gave him eight weeks to leave. He could never regain citizenship in Germany, due to the crime he committed, according to documents uncovered by Gwenda Blair, a journalism professor at Columbia University. Lucky for him, the United States granted him citizenship after a mere five years, few questions asked.

By the way, his name on his immigration papers was “Frederick Trump,” grandfather of the 45th president of the United States.

Today, most applicants with a criminal history would be rejected for a Green Card, which also screens for any involvement in prostitution. Since Frederick committed the draft-dodging crime when he was 18, it might not have counted against him. But by today’s standards, had he told the truth about his brothel in the Canadian Yukon, he would have been ineligible for immigration to the U.S. His only alternative would have been to sneak over an unsecured border, and hope that he, and his American-born children, would escape deportation.

He was, under German law, an illegal emigrant, and would now be, under applied current U.S. law, ineligible for immigration.

Grandfather Trump, watching Germany digress into the Great War, never considered going back to “help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which he came.” The chant of “send him back” was never shouted at him, because he denied being German.

After the Second World War, that same “corrupt and totally inept” country surrendered in 1945, having no “functioning government at all,” and was bailed out with American dollars through the Marshall Plan. The United States and its Allies told the people of Germany “how their government was to be run.” They probably should have done it “loudly and viciously,” but instead they did it with dignity in a courtroom in Nuremberg.

Those interventions — not expats who went back to “help fix” their country — restored its industrialized economy, democratic government, and respect among the nations of the world. Germany now admits more refugees and asylum-seekers that we do, according to the Cato Institute.

But for the Trump family, war is business, not a personal risk or moral principal. None of them ever served in the U.S. military. The company his son Fred created — which Eisenhower himself ordered to be investigated for “war profiteering” during the construction of housing for WWII veterans — is the same company his grandson and great-grandsons continue to profit from today. They take pride in paying, in secret, as few taxes as possible, because that’s “smart.” Why wouldn’t they love America?

If current immigration policies were ever made retroactive to 1885 to include deporting the descendants of the “illegals” of that era, a majority of this country might tell the president “you can’t leave fast enough.”

And the candidate who constantly whined that America wasn’t great anymore should remember that his tweets, slurs, accusations and insults toward others apply to him, just as well; especially the one where he says, “if you don’t like it, leave. Nancy Pelosi would be happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Carol Williams lives in Berkeley County and is a U.S. Army veteran and former ER nurse.

Funerals Today, Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Armstead, David - Noon, Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.

Crawford, Charles - 7:30 p.m., Andrews' residence, Belleaire at Devonshire, Scott Depot.

Duff, Catherine Ann - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Jarrett, Shirley - 1 p.m., Mt. Juliet United Methodist Church, Belle.

Lawrentz, Deo Mansfried - 11 a.m., Koontz Cemetery, Clendenin.

McGraw, Judy Fay - 2 p.m., Jodie Missionary Baptist Church, Jodie.

Mullins, Alice Ellen (Blessing) - Noon, Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Staats, Anthony Vernon “Tony” - 1 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.