In the wake of yesterday’s tragic truck attack in New York City, Donald Trump reacted in his usual panicked and hyperemotional language. He wasted no time tweeting about what orders he had issued and playing on xenophobic fears that resonate with his minority base of America’s most ignorant fan club. He shouts across the twitterverse in base and simplistic phrases to stir reactionary responses.
Ultimately, Trump’s drum beating leads to political dead ends and intellectually challenged and dysfunctional policies. Trump is a master at hiding his inability and his cluelessness behind a façade of outrage. The more he protests and the longer he continues to beat his chest, the less prepared he is to accomplish any progress.
We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Linguists have been studying Trump’s speech patterns and vocabulary since his blustery speeches on the campaign trail two years ago. The fundamentally disappointing aspect of everything that Trump says is that it is predominantly adolescent. Some experts have suggested that the adolescent label is too generous because Trump often speaks with the communications abilities of a third-grader.
Trump enjoys blowing his own horn and relating generalized stories of how smart he is, that he has the “best” words, or how many achievements he has accomplished. Unfortunately, Trump missed the class on expository writing and convincing arguments that is typically taught between the third and fifth grades. His speeches and tweets lack the very basic building blocks of intelligent communication: supporting facts and specifics.
In a variety of comments to the press, Trump has assured the American public of how busy he is by referencing “many meetings.” There is never a qualifying statement of what meeting, where, with whom, or the topic of his enigmatic and clandestine associations. It is not only the 1,350 (or so) lies, falsifications, and misleading statements that Trump has uttered or tweeted since January that compromises his effectiveness as a communicator. His inability to refer to real times, dates, places, people — concrete facts — leave him want for reliability.
However, Trump’s primary audience, the blind faithful and low educated do not respond to educated and well-informed information. They are a herd of Nietzsche’s sheep that follow because of their inherent weakness and inability to form their own coherent opinions and worldviews. Trump is their savior who speaks to their basest emotions.
Trump’s schoolyard style is demonstrated in yesterday’s tweets following the tragedy in New York City. He employs one-word demonstratives and commands. He relies on terror — not allowing ISIS to return — to appeal to those Americans who do not know that walls and travel bans cannot stop terrorism. He falsely claims that the terror organization has been defeated and that xenophobic policies are the sure way to maintain national safety.
For years, the Royal Ulster Constabulary policed Northern Ireland with iron-fisted policies designed to suppress opposition, control domestic terror, and enforce the rule of the Crown. From 1922 to 2001, Northern Ireland was dotted with checkpoints, armored vehicles, and the paramilitary RUC version of “extreme vetting.” There were still bombings, terror attacks, and violence.
None of Trump’s demands for bans and walls will prevent domestic attacks. From Stephen Paddock to Timothy McVeigh, no amount of homeland security will end instances of terror in America. It is likely that Trump’s policies will merely result in distraction and possibly vigilantism to exacerbate the issues.
America does not need extreme vetting of immigrants, visitors, or bans. As a nation, the vetting must be done at a more critical level — the political level. In the past twenty-four hours, the nation has seen the arrest of three men with long episodes of felonious criminal activity that were integral and close to Trump’s rise to power. They were “great” men according to Trump’s assurances when he installed them. Moreover, in the past ten months, we have seen a deranged dotard try to seize the nation and exercise the most wide spread domestic terror attack.
Authorities do not need to meet potential threats at America’s front door with extreme vetting. They need to guard the back door where unfit political leaders like Donald Trump try to sneak in and steal America’s values, constitution, and democratic way of life. America needs a policy that says third-graders are not qualified to lead a nation whose majority is comprised of intelligent, educated, and well-spoken citizens.