August 22, 2016

"When your mother comes from a certain location, you tend to like that location. I do feel Scottish..."

"... but don’t ask me to define that. There was something very strong from my mother.... I have a lot of money."

Said Donald Trump on his visit to the Outer Hebrides in 2008, quoted in the first chapter of "Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power," which comes out tomorrow. The first chapter is available at Amazon, where I am reading it. Be aware that the book was written by a team of writers put together by The Washington Post.
[Trump's mother Mary Anne MacLeod] grew up in this remote place speaking the local Gaelic dialect. Tong had been home to Mary’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, as well as countless cousins. The land around the home was known as a croft, a small farm typically worked by the mother, enabling the father to spend much of his time fishing. It was a spare existence, with many properties “indescribably filthy, with doors so low it is necessary to crawl in and out,” according to a local history. Families struggled to cobble together incomes through a combination of farming in the acidic soil and raising animals, fishing in the nearby bay and rivers, and collecting peat to be sold or used as fuel and seaweed to be used as fertilizer on the difficult land. It was all too common for men to sink with their sailing ships, a fate that in 1868 befell Mary’s thirty-four-year-old grandfather, Donald Smith, who had the same first name Mary gave decades later to her son, Donald Trump.

Mary was born in 1912 during the height of a boom in herring, the fatty fish that had become a delicacy throughout Europe. Many young residents worked the trade, gutting the fish or traveling with the fleets. Mary was a child during World War I, when the island’s fishing industry collapsed. Ten percent of the male population died. A wave of emigration took place as families searched for economic opportunity elsewhere. One Tong man was said to have done so well that when he returned for a visit, he arrived in a big American car with white tires and gave local children a ride.

Then, in 1918, one of the greatest businessmen of the era, Lord Leverhulme, known for his family’s Lever soap empire, paid 143,000 pounds to purchase the Isle of Lewis, on which Tong was located. He moved into the sprawling Lews Castle and announced a series of grand schemes, including the marketing of local fish at hundreds of retail shops across the United Kingdom. Most of all, he urged residents to trust him.

Amid this brief period of hope came another tragedy. On New Year’s Day 1919, a yacht carrying British soldiers went off course, hit rocks, and killed 174 men from Lewis, again diminishing the island’s male population. Soon, it became apparent that Leverhulme’s grand promises would not pan out, and the islanders rebelled. A group of Tong men invaded a farm owned by Leverhulme and staked claim to the land. By 1921, Leverhulme had halted development on Lewis and focused just on neighboring Harris, best known for the wool fabric called Harris Tweed. His business dealings elsewhere were struggling, especially in a global recession, and in 1923, Leverhulme’s dream of a Lewis utopia went bust. Leverhulme died two years later, and as Mary entered her teenaged years, hundreds of people fled the island.

The MacLeods took pride in the island’s sturdy stock; their family crest featured a bull’s head and the motto hold fast. But that became nearly impossible with the onset of the Great Depression in the fall of 1929; opportunities for a young woman to be anything other than a farmer or child-bearing collector of seaweed were scarce. So on February 17, 1930, after Black Tuesday and all the other blackness brought on by the Depression, Mary Anne MacLeod boarded the SS Transylvania, a three-funneled ship built four years earlier. The vessel spread 552 feet from stem to stern, 70 feet across the beam, and carried 1,432 passengers. Mary, an attractive young woman with fair skin and blue eyes, appears to have been on her own, filing on board between the McIntoshes and McGraths and McBrides. She called herself a “domestic,” a catchall for “maid” or whatever other labor she might find once she reached New York. She told immigration officials at Ellis Island that she planned to stay in Queens with her older sister, Catherine, who had married and just given birth to a baby boy. Mary declared that she planned to be a permanent resident, hoping to gain citizenship in her adopted land....
The next subject in the book is the Ku Klux Klan and its anti-immigrtation activities in the years immediately preceding Mary's voyage to New York. Excerpt:
The Democrats’ 1928 nominee, Al Smith, was pilloried by the KKK because he was Catholic, and he lost to Republican Herbert Hoover. By 1929, Congress passed legislation cutting the immigration quotas for many countries, including European nations such as Germany. Soon, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans would be expelled. Those from China, Japan, Africa, and Arabia were given little chance of gaining US citizenship. At the same time, Congress nearly doubled the quota for immigrants from much of the British Isles. Mary, coming from the preferred stock of British whites, would be welcomed at a time when the United States was closing its doors to many others.

31 comments:

Original Mike said...

Trump is a MacLeod? That makes him nearly invincible. The only way Hillary can defeat him is to cut off his head!

David Begley said...

How does the book move from Trump's mother to the Klan? Trump Derangement Syndrome.

traditionalguy said...

Trump's movement is taking its leaders stubborn loyalty to a family that made Isle of Lewis families survive.These were Norwegian people, like Hans Christian Heg types that settled in Wisconsin and formed loyal movements.

It is all about feeling loyalty to the group that needs to win to survive. That is powerful when mixed in with the governing ways of the Kirch of John Knox. Stornoway is still the most Presbyterian place in Scotland. Those are the guys who invented local government authority that says the people rule over the King. It was Knox who fought and won against the Globalist Government of his day.

BDNYC said...

Mary benefited from racist immigration policies, which the KKK supported, therefore Mary supported the KKK, therefore Donald supports the KKK ... incredible. Were Herbert Hoover and Congress in thrall to the KKK? Also, Al Smith was a Catholic, so does that mean his political opponents were all anti-Catholic and pro-KKK?

BDNYC said...

And what about Trump's German side? If the mood of the nation turned anti-German at the time Mary immigrated, what does that say about Trump's family's experience? Were they treated badly or unfairly by anyone?

Would Catholic Al Smith have defeated an ethnic German in the election?

David Begley said...

Trump's mother immigrated legally. So what's the book's point?

Drives me nuts how the Left never distinguishes between legal and illegal immigration. Big difference.

Yes we are a country of immigrants. Legal immigrants.

n.n said...

Class diversity schemes. Anti-native policies. Abortion chambers. Planned Parenthood. It could be the KKK. It was the Nazis. It is the Democrats.

traditionalguy said...

Trump's best quality is winning. Anyone can lose. But winners are told quickly they are arrogant for expressing themselves as winners and using the attitude that they are as good as anybody and can beat anybody.

That is the opposite of the Catholic pious attitude that humbly confesses to be worthless sinners many times a day.

Hiring Trump would be like hiring Steve Spurrier for your football program. Hold on tight, because winning to the point of arrogancy that demeans opponents is on the way.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I forget how the anecdote goes, but the punch line is something like: That's all very nice, son, but there's a reason why we left the old country.

Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"Hiring Trump would be like hiring Steve Spurrier for your football program. Hold on tight, because winning to the point of arrogancy that demeans opponents is on the way."

Well, unless you're the Washington Redskins or the South Carolina Gamecocks. Then you don't get so much of the winning, certainly not too any point of arrogance.

mockturtle said...

If Hillary wins, they won't have Trump to kick around any more.

traditionalguy said...

@ Bobby...Nobody wins much of the time at The Redskins and the Gamecocks, but Steve Spurrier came closer than the rest did since Joe Gibbs.

Spurrier made his share of enemies for publicly enjoying beating opponents. My point is that is part of Trump's package.

Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"Steve Spurrier came closer than the rest did since Joe Gibbs."

Okay, apparently you've got a bad memory or are not much of a football fan, and you clearly don't fact-check your own statements. For the record, Steve Spurrier went 12-20 (.375) with the Redskins; that's not better than Norv Turner (.454) or Marty Schottenheimer (.500), and it's exactly even with Mike Shanahan (.375).

My point is it's hard to say someone "win(s) to the point of arrogance" when they're not even winning (Redskins) or just barely breaking even (South Carolina). If you wanted to go with a football coach who "wins to the point of arrogance," I'd say just go with Nick Saban or even Urban Meyer... But then they're both Roman Catholic, so they'd directly contradict your earlier point about how "the Catholic pious attitude that humbly confesses to be worthless sinners many times a day" doesn't produce the winning attitude of Spurrier.

I'm sure Alabama and Ohio State fans wish every night that Saban and Meyer could win like Spurrier.

Mick said...

No matter where Trump's mother "came from", she was a US Citizen when Donald Trump was born-- i.e Donald Trump is a natural born Citizen.

This article is typical of the Relativism that the media and Left constantly engage in. Obama's father "came from" Kenya, but he was never a US Citizen, and therefore the Usurper Hussein Obama is not an eligible natural born Citizen.

Trump's relatives and other Europeans immigrated LEGALLY. Why is it so hard for the left to make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration? It is because absolute truth is anathema to them-- everything is relative, nothing is absolute. Without absolute truth there can be NO LOGIC, as logic is an equation based on an absolute truth (IF THIS IS THE TRUTH, THEN THAT). It is a sickness.

Trump Landslide. The Usueful idiots in the media are attempting to discourage enough Trump voters to make the election close enough for them to fix it. As of now Trump is wiping the floor with the Crooked Old Lady, 65%- 35% easily. It cannot be fixed when Trump is winning like that-- thus they attack day after day. The media and the left (and the establishment "right") are apoplectic. They are desperate.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

There was a nice British program a few years ago where a guy set up his own croft (using the bones of a very old building) and tried to make it as a self-sufficient farmer (buying sheep, etc along the way). He was right next to the ocean; the scenery was wonderful. It wasn't BBC, I think Sky channel maybe (I had to DL from the web--I think a few episodes were on YouTube). Anyway the gist was that even today it's a tough life...and back then it was even harder.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bobby said...Well, unless you're the Washington Redskins or the South Carolina Gamecocks. Then you don't get so much of the winning, certainly not too any point of arrogance.

As a UGA fan...he won too much.

William said...

She gave up a career as a child bearing sea weed collector in order to move to America and become the wife of a millionaire real estate developer. I'm sure that that's not a decision she regrets. I've had any number of jobs that suck, but sea weed collecting tops all. I bet child bearing sea weed collectors greeted the onset of labor pains as a welcome respite from the tedium of sea weed collecting. I'm all for the dignity of labor, but it's hard to find fulfillment collecting sea weed. America is a land where no one has to collect sea weed in order to survive.

Bobby said...

Hoodlum Doodlum,

"As a UGA fan...he won too much."

And I'm sure an avid Georgia fan would say one Gamcock win over the Bulldogs is already too many wins, but for the record, Spurrier's Gamecocks went 5-6 against UGA, winning in 07, 10, 11, 12 and 14, and losing in 05, 06, 08, 09, 13, 15. During those 11 seasons, UGA finished higher in the SEC East 9 times, with the Gamecocks beating them out twice (2010, 2013). You'd be much better served being directing your ire at Urban Meyer, who you might remember went 5-1 against UGA.

readering said...

The interesting part of the story is that Trump's mother grew up in what we'd think of as a rather primitive society, with a first language other than English. Yet obviously she assimilated well and her son grew up in an entirely different milieu. But methinks she didn't talk to him much about her life in the old country since he shows so little empathy for that kind of life.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bobby - Oh for sure, Urban's much worse and we're better than the 'Cocks...but it's more of a "losing to Spurrier" problem--like you said, once is too many times!

Bad Lieutenant said...

I'm pretty sure the words were uttered: son, don't be a crofter!

The thing is, in Mary's world, people didn't run around croftjacking and shooting up seaweed extract. People joined the army and not for any career training or GI Bill. Half the Isle of Lewis wasn't eating government cheese.

And for damn sure, it was the ethos that the Lord helps those who help themselves, not the welfare state. Mary didn't wait for a man or a government to save her, she got her own fire-haired ass on a boat to look for work!

IOW, readering, what would you know?

mockturtle said...

it was the ethos that the Lord helps those who help themselves,

As you probably know, the aphorism is from Aesop, "The gods help those who help themselves".

traditionalguy said...

Boy! Spurrier retired , but he is still making them angry. An under .500 record is a losing record. It matters not how far it is under .500. And how many Heisman Trophies did Saban and Meyer personally win?

Steve disrespected his opponents strategically. And it is still working.



Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"Boy! Spurrier retired , but he is still making them angry. An under .500 record is a losing record. It matters not how far it is under .500. And how many Heisman Trophies did Saban and Meyer personally win?

Steve disrespected his opponents strategically. And it is still working.
"

Haha, nice try- I went to West Point and Stanford and my NFL team are the Raiders, three football programs with traditions Other-Than-Winning! I've never rooted for a team that played Spurrier, so he's never made me feel disrespected in any way, shape or form, whether he wins or loses.

I refuted what you originally said: "Hiring Trump would be like hiring Steve Spurrier for your football program. Hold on tight, because winning to the point of arrogancy that demeans opponents is on the way" was demonstrably not the case during his tenure with the Redskins or the Gamecocks. Now you're moving the goalposts by saying Spurrier's losing record with the Redskins is no worse than Turner or Schottenheimer (which, even if that were true, still does not mean that he brings "winning to the point of arrogance"), or that his winning a Heisman Trophy somehow relates to him being more of a winning coach than Saban or Meyer-- like, you do know they give the Heisman out to players, not coaches, right?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Mockturtle, the line rattling around in my head was, I thought, a piece of Poor Richard's Almanack, but as you say, the theme runs earlier than that. I'm thinking a Scotswoman in that time and place was more about "the Lord" than "the gods," but I could misjudge her exposure to the classics.

Any gate, I'm guessing, only guessing, that she didn't tell her son that his society must let in potentially unlimited diseased illiterates with no redeeming features other than their suitability for peonage, and then carry them through life while asking nothing of them, because his society is fundamentally flawed and has no right to defend its own interests.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Bobby, you are arguing with a redheaded southern lawyer. IOW, you get dirty and the pig likes it. Don't confuse him with the facts. When you say that he is an admitted, not to say boastful, NAPOLEON!!!! groupie, you have said it all about traditionalguy, I'm afraid.

traditionalguy said...

Thank you very much.

traditionalguy said...

As for winning the Heisman Trophy as a winning QB, that is
Steve's personal claim to being a winner that good leaders can
communicate to 60 football players so their team can believe in the goal too.

But you are correct that Steve was never allowed to be a player-coach. The other coaches would have been jealous and complained to the NCAA. Those are the guys who answer to Ohio
State and give its # 6 playoff position TCUs # 3 because they like money and power too much.



Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"As for winning the Heisman Trophy as a winning QB, that is
Steve's personal claim to being a winner that good leaders can
communicate to 60 football players so their team can believe in the goal too.
"

You seem to have a hard time staying focused.

Yes, I'm sure I would make the same claim if I were a Heisman Trophy winning player turned coach, as I'm sure it couldn't hurt and would have to help in getting recruits to commit to my program, and I'm sure it has to have helped him build his programs at every stop.

Nonetheless, that has nothing to do with your demonstrably false claim that "Hiring Trump would be like hiring Steve Spurrier for your football program. Hold on tight, because winning to the point of arrogancy that demeans opponents is on the way." With his Heisman Trophy and a very successful run at the helm of Florida, Spurrier was nonetheless unable to win regularly- much less "to the point of arrogancy"- during his tenure with the Washington Redskins or the South Carolina Gamecocks. That is, if you were a Redskins fan in 2003 or a Gamecocks fan in 2005, perhaps you may very well have had the expectation that "winning to the point of arrogancy that demeans opponents is on the way," and you might even have been justified in expecting it. But you would have been disappointed. That degree of winning was not on the way and never materialized. Spurrier failed to create that kind of winning in either DC or Columbia. Your attempts to shift the conversation to 'well, other Redskins coaches were losers, too' or 'But as a player, Spurrier won the Hesiman Trophy and Saban and Meyer did not' or that the College Football Selection Committee loves its money and power- while quite true- are nonetheless irrelevant to your demonstrably false point: Spurrier did not bring "winning to the point of arrogancy" to the Redskins or the Gamecocks. That never materialized, regardless of how many valid points you make about entirely-unrelated subject matter.

traditionalguy said...

Bobby...I surrender. But you have been warned.

jaed said...

For no particular reason, this caught my eye:

She called herself a “domestic,” a catchall for “maid” or whatever other labor she might find once she reached New York.

and made me wonder: Are the authors really so ignorant that they don't know "domestic", as an occupation, is short for "domestic servant"? And that it's not a "catchall" for "whatever other labor she might find"? It's a specific occupation - one that is much less familiar than it used to be, true, but they're writing about a time and place in which it was probably the most common occupation for a young woman.

And they seem not to recognize the term, judging by the vagueness and off-kilter quality of their attempt at explanation.

(Didn't books used to have editors? People who would catch this kind of thing?)