The Dumbing Down Effect of Donald Trump


I really do not want to see this guy ever again after Nov. 8. He did so much harm to American politics. Throughout this election campaign, I didn’t criticize this guy vocally, not because I am okay with his views (no way!) but because I felt that he sets such a low bar that criticizing him does not express my political thought. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that we should have left him alone. I do believe that he should be called out and criticized for his racist, sexist, and hateful statements (we will be really fucked up if he isn’t), and I appreciate everyone who took his or her time to criticize him. But all the time we spend to criticize Trump is the time we could have spent to discuss ideas above the bare minimum. For example, if we are discussing how to be a good person, it is not enough to say that we should not commit crimes. Not committing crimes is a bare minimum requirement, and on top of that, we need to add such  virtues as kindness, respect, responsibilities, etc. I resent Trump for pulling down our discussion during the 2016 election cycle to the level of mud, dirt, and scum.

Watching the last presidential debate last night, I thought about another way Trump harms the American public: he really threatens the American voting population’s critical thinking abilities. It is my experience that in the classroom, it is always harder to have students criticize the status quo than explaining to them the working of the current system. In other words, when I say, “it is simply the way it works,” most students accept it. Difficulties begin when I have them criticize what’s wrong with it. Then they really have to think hard. And a lot of them are not up for it. Here is a similar example. Most students accept the idea of liberty. They say,”yeah, I should be able to do whatever I want to do without worrying about that dude down the street.” They understand it. They accept the concept of liberty in 2 minutes. But the concept of equality? Whew. The students begin to protest. “Why should I consider that dude down the street? I don’t know him. And I sacrifice what I want to do for that guy? Why?” To answer these questions, they should study first the ideas of communities and human dignity and the causes of uneven distribution of resources. Hard stuff. Stuff you won’t get until you really try to think carefully and seriously.

It is human nature to avoid hard core critical thinking. We all prefer chilling over a glass of wine. I do. And it is exactly this human penchant of wine over serious thinking that Trump exploits and tries to use to his advantage. Listen to him carefully. I hate his sentence structures. “Look, folks, what she suggests (vague reference. What, exactly? She said many different things. Which one are you exactly referring to?) will take us to a disaster (okay. Complete your sentence. Disaster because of what? And define your term. Disaster in what ways?). Believe me, it will be a disaster, DISASTER (unnecessary repetition?). But don’t worry, we will win big (any idea that technically, this grammar is wrong?)” In this sentence structures appropriate for 3rd graders, he pours simplistic thought that takes away the burden of critical thinking. Yes, it is true that a lot of jobs in America are relocated to China, Mexico, and any country with cheap labor. Now, why did this happen and what could we do? Hellish difficult questions to answer. But why bother to answer them? Trump says, “I will bring the jobs back.” Easy and simply. No more question. Case closed. Or he leads his audience into thinking so.

It is okay that he is an idiot, but I get angry when he tries to make all of us idiots. Trump, please be gone from the public view after Nov.8th. Enjoy your life in Trump Towers. But please don’t bring us down to the level of your idiocy. Thank you.