A local college instructor told me about the rhetoric class she taught this fall. She had her students watch the presidential debates. “Watching those debates is usually very useful for students. [The debates] illustrate rhetorical tools and logical fallacies.” This year was quite different. Students saw Trump fail to use even the most basic principles of argument while barely stringing together a coherent thought. After he won the election, the students stopped working. “Nothing you’ve taught us matters,” they told the instructor. Logic no longer applies. True and false are subjective. 2+2=5.
In other words, the students have lost faith in their education as well as in our democratic system.
I’ve been dealing with it the only way I know how: research. It’s the most reasonable way to predict the future, especially now that ours appears to be out of our hands. There’s little precedence, however, for this precise situation. While corruption has existed among humans since the dawn of our species, the Era of Information (that is to say, the Present) is virtually unprecedented. We can compare it to the invention of writing, the printing press, radio, and television, but it’s so much more prevalent in our daily lives that any of those things have ever been.
This is the problem. There is so much information that cherrypicking is necessary. We can’t possibly absorb all of it, and people are more inclined to read articles that correspond to their way of thinking. People love to be right! They love to be vindicated and told that their way of life is the most valid.
So there’s one other thing I’m trying. I can’t believe it’s come to this, but I’m freaking tweeting like a maniac.
We know Trump doesn’t read anything other than Breitbart. We know he can’t stop tweeting to save his stupid life. So I’ve started tweeting articles at him.
Signing the petitions and protesting and sending money to organizations that fight his administration are all excellent, and I’m doing that as well. With his inauguration six weeks away, however, I’m willing to do everything I can to make my dissension clear, even if it’s spending half an hour every day tweeting a bunch of articles at a chump trumpet. And then blogging about it.
Also, it’s pretty satisfying. Tweeting at Trump is about as close as I’ll probably ever get to insulting him to his face, even if he gets so many tweets that he likely won’t see mine. However, I encourage everyone to tweet articles to @realdonaldtrump. He’s bound to spot a couple of them, and just think about how funny he looks when he cries. His head gets all red and sweaty, and then he stammers out some lame comeback that makes everyone around him experience shame by proxy.
This hour, I’ve found the adjectives “lazy,” “fascist,” and “tragedy” to describe @realdonaldtrump. This may be my new lunchtime activity.
— M. N. Hanson (@mnhanson) December 9, 2016
In the meantime, I continue to be an Absurdist. It’s all I have left.