And Shanghai was about as good as it got. If you went into the countryside, peasants were living in hovels. For bathrooms, they used cramped stone public outhouses where the stench of urine and yes, sh*t, was so overpowering one had to take long deep breaths before entering, and then hope to be able to hold it until one was done and could escape into the open air.
There are still plenty of places in China, a huge country of 1.4 billion people, that might qualify, in the president's colorful language, as "shitholes," but most are much better. Shanghai, meanwhile, in the intervening 25 years since I left, is a modern metropolis. Most of the bikes have vanished, replaced not just by cars and motor-scooters, but by a modern 400-mile subway system as large as New York City's, and even a mag-lev train from the city's center to a gleaming new international airport, which whisks passengers at a speed of 225 mph so smoothly you don't know you're moving unless you look at the blurred landscape out the windows.
High-speed rail lines whisk people from Shanghai to other similarly modern cities like Beijing and Guangzhou at speeds in excess of 150 mph, making it faster to go by rail from city center to city center than to take a plane.
The truth is, Mr. President, viewed from Shanghai today, America really looks a lot like a "shithole country." It certianly looks that way from the perspective of a lot of places I've been: Germany, Austria, Finland, Japan and even little Taiwan for example. And despite all your talk about a huge infrastructure program, you haven't done squat to improve things.
This is a country that has ignored its cities, allowing them to sink into decay and squalor. It has also forgotten its rural regions. And that's not the fault of the people who live there. It's because a corrupt political system at all levels -- federal, state and local -- has defunded them, leaving them jobless, homeless, and with decrepit infrastructure. I'm sure you'll blame the local people, but truth to tell, those are in many cases the very (white) people you call "the forgotten Americans."
You told them you were going to ride to their assistance as president, but you've done the opposite. Most of them are so poor they depend on our crappy Medicaid program for their health care and you and your Republican enablers in Congress are cutting that drastically, which will leave them without health care. Meanwhile, their towns are going bust trying to come up with funds to repair aging water systems, worn-out roads and underfunded, overcrowded schools. You're doing nothing about that. Their homes are often trailers because they can't afford a real house.
A whole generation of Americans is entering adulthood a collective $1.3 trillion in debt because there's no system of true public higher education. Instead so-called public colleges and universities today cost almost as much to attend as private institutions. Why? Because rich jerks like you don't think that educating Americans is the government's job, and having an educated public is not in the national interest.
America isn't entirely a "shithole," because our wealthy, like you, and even the upper middle class, can hide from all the sh*t around them caused by government tax and spending policies that favor them over the broader mass of the population by staying safely in their gated housing communities built in economically segregated jurisdictions. But that leaves the rest of the country going to the dogs while those in the gated and segregated communities like you don't give a sh*t.
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