Hollow Men and American Idiots: How to Avoid Electing Another Trump

Why is it that we require employees at even the lowest levels of civil service to take an exam to qualify for their jobs, but the President of the United States, the leader of the free world (well, not anymore), doesn’t have to?

Sure, debates and campaign speeches are a kind of test. And the press is supposed to help us with vetting too. But we all know how well that worked last time around, right? Trump lurched his way across American on a campaign platform of name-calling, bullying, and jingoisms, a platform so rickety that it should have toppled under the weight of his immense and heaving stupidity, yet America let him get away with it. And the press, caught up in the spectacle of the far-fetched possibility of a prospective President Buffoon, didn’t bother to ask him the hard questions.

This left us with the dumbest President we’ve ever had.  Maybe even the dumbest candidate running for any political office in American history, which is saying a lot, since this auspicious group also includes Sarah Palin.

Trump is utterly devoid of the knowledge we’ve always taken for granted that anyone elected president should possess. This might be acceptable if Trump were the kind of guy willing to put in the time to acquire at least a basic understanding of United States government. But no, he’s completely lacking in intellectual curiosity; any sense of responsibility toward the American people; and the mental acuity and attention span necessary to do the complex reading, thinking, and analysis his office demands.

Even that might be acceptable if he were the kind of guy who surrounded himself with respected advisors with the depth of knowledge and experience required to guide an administration. Hmm. Let’s see. Ivanka? Jared? Kellyanne? Spicer? Priebus? Flynn? Price? Miller? Bannon? DeVos? Carson? Gorka? Tillerson? Pruitt? Perry?

Nope. There’s no one with a shred of honesty, conscience, or humanity steering this crazy train, and it’s goin’ off the rails. Christians, don’t count on Jesus to take the wheel either: Mammon already grabbed it, body-slamming Jesus like a busybody reporter with broken glasses.

Trump has access to all of America’s – even the world’s – experts in their respective fields (and most of them aren’t even Nazis, Evangelicals, or oil tycoons), yet he willfully remains in the dark about almost everything that matters to humanity.  He holes himself up in whichever domicile we’re paying $1,000,000 in security for on that particular day, lounging in a bathrobe, eating ketchup-covered steak and as many scoops of ice cream as he wants, while what’s left of his addled brain is warped by Fox News, Breitbart, and Alex Jones.


He knows nothing about history, political science, economics, geography, or world cultures (except their beauty pageants, patents, and probably their underage prostitutes). His only talent, it seems, is finding new ways to astound us with his sheer stupidity.

And what do we even know about Trump aside from the fact that he likes money and models? Seriously, whether you’re a liberal or conservative, think right now about the things that make you happy, or that occupy your time: raising kids, going to work, caring for pets, working on home improvement projects, binge-watching Netflix, enjoying a few beers, creating art, cooking, writing, gardening, playing sports, watching sports, traveling, working out, playing games, surfing the Internet, hunting and fishing, camping, reading, bicycling, hiking, swimming, listening to music, playing music…

As far as America can tell (and it’s not like he’s shunned the spotlight), Trump doesn’t care about any of it.

He’s Eliot’s hollow man, headpiece filled with straw, shoving cake in his gaping maw.

Let’s stop pretending he’s some kind of business strategy genius. He’s a spoiled rich kid who inherited his fortune and then relied on cheating and bullying to keep it. He’s never been held responsible for any of the damn damage he’s done.

And to think a simple test could have prevented it all from happening. From even starting. But in the end, this is all on the Republicans (specifically Ryan, McConnell, and Sessions) who were close enough to Trump to know exactly what they were getting (Russian interference and all), yet chose to prop up the hollow man anyway.

Forgetting, for a minute, the overwhelming evidence of Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, and Trump’s vast conflicts of interest, think about all of the stupid things he’s said and done  – many of them before he was elected.  He’s made mistake after mistake about the sorts of topics we demand immigrants know in order to become citizens, knowledge even elementary school kids have proudly mastered.

Here are just a few of them:

At a CNN Town Hall in March 2016, Trump couldn’t answer the question “What are the top three functions of the United States government?” https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/opinion-blog/articles/2016-03-31/donald-trump-doesnt-understand-the-us-political-system-or-government Like all war-mongers-for-profit, the only word he could pull out of the primordial ooze of his brain was “defense.”

In a Fox News interview in 2016, he called the EPA the “Department of Environmental,” saying, “I mean, the DEP is killing us environmentally, it’s just killing our businesses.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heuifqzSpBs

He has admitted that he knew nothing about NATO on the campaign trail, but continued to promote the idea that it was “obsolete” anyway. http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/04/25/what-trump-didnt-know/.

He doesn’t seem to know anything about Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/frederick-douglass-trump/515292/  or Susan B. Anthony https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/03/29/trump-speech-asks-about-susan-b-anthony/99801030/; and seems only recently to have discovered that Lincoln was a Republican.  http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/03/donald-trump-abraham-lincoln-seth-meyers-late-night

He has apparently never read the Constitution, and has no idea how many articles there are: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/donald-trump-has-never-read-constitution

He respects Andrew Jackson above all other presidents (which is problematic in itself) and outrageously claimed that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/opinion/trump-andrew-jackson-and-ourselves.html

He allegedly called Mike Flynn at 3 a.m. to ask him if a strong or weak dollar was better for America. http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-called-mike-flynn-about-us-dollar-at-3-am-2017-2  (You’d think a “business tycoon” would know this one, right?)

Visiting Israel, he told President Reuven Rivlin that he “just got back from the Middle East.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-23/trump-in-israel-just-got-back-from-the-middle-east/8549420

He attacked the Paris climate agreement by saying he wanted to protect Pittsburgh, not Paris, when anyone with a basic public school education knows that accords and treaties are named after the place where they’re signed. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/1/15726656/pittsburgh-mayor-trump-paris

And if all that isn’t enough, look at this database of his writing errors: http://www.amny.com/news/donald-trump-grammar-syntax-errors-times-when-the-english-language-took-a-hit-1.12471317. Dude couldn’t pass a New York State Regents Exam in English, let alone a Grade 4 Common Core English Language Arts Test.

And Bible thumpers, just in case you feel left out of this discussion, remember when Trump said “Two Corinthians” in a speech at Liberty University? http://www.npr.org/2016/01/18/463528847/citing-two-corinthians-trump-struggles-to-make-the-sale-to-evangelicals.  It’s like the beginning of a bad joke: Two Corinthians walk into a bar . . .

Except the joke’s on America.

Gotta hand it to him, though, he’s nothing if not devout.

But really, what else should we expect from a douchebag who created a fake university and cheated students out of their life savings to pay for tuition? A guy who packed his administration full of plagiarists? A guy who cleared the bookshelves in the Old State Department Library so that he could display only his own books that he didn’t even write?

The fact is, there was a time in our history when all this stuff was considered common knowledge. When knowing about The Constitution, world history, and being able to find Iraq (or Persia) on a map were things anyone would be expected to know. Yes, anyone: Even your great-grandpappy in the KKK who never made it to high school.

There was a time when knowing things didn’t make you an elitist, a libtard, or a kid who has been indoctrinated by a humanities professor with the “evil” agenda of illustrating the similarities between Christianity and Islam.

Okay, so maybe asking presidential candidates to take a competency test is unrealistic, but I think we can all agree that we need to do better next time. Every prospective presidential candidate (maybe every prospective candidate for any office) needs to be able to prove he/she has an understanding of U.S. government and history, world history, world religions, economics, geography, technology, and climate change. They need to be put on the spot. Quizzed. The people, party, and press can’t let them off the hook.

And this is a minimum. Personally, I expect much more.  And maybe, in the end, that’s what separates liberals from conservatives these days: We want our candidates to be much smarter than us and they want their candidates to be just like them.

We cannot afford to elect another hollow man, an American Idiot with his finger on the nuclear button.

Because that’s the way the world ends. Not with a whimper, but a bang.

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