PARAGRAPH: Donald Trump and the Education of America
The 21st century urges us to reconceptualize the meaning of education. Laugh if you must at Donald Trump's foibles and his signature, signifying hair. Sleep in anger as you dream of his mini-lectures and his offensive utterances. Applaud, with appropriate trembling and fear, his bold articulations of the twisted ideas and values you hide in the privacy of your mind. Or, if you have a different mind, flush his utterances down the toilet of imagination. From whatever angle you behold Trump, you have to admit that he is the contemporary and negative equivalent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a negative humanist. He is having no little success in exploding and refashioning the American mind and the education of America. He is teaching us that education is not confined to civil exchanges in spaces of academic pluralism. On the contrary, education is what occurs in the public sphere of the American body politic or polis. The Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and ideological blogs are the living textbooks we study. We exercise our vernacular pieties and vulgarities with democratic fervor. Education is the conversation where people actually bleed as they teach and learn prejudice and counter-prejudice. The conversation is driven more by emotion than reason; it is most assuredly a war among conservative, centrist, and liberal passions; the combat zone is an abject space where envy, hatred, dubious assertions about what God said or did not say, and maximum distrust flourish like powerful weeds. In the education of America, the message is the medium and Donald Trump is neither a trope nor a metaphor. He is a tenured professor. Never forget that, for if you do you become a candidate for your own enslavement.