Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Teaching Geography to Donald Trump

I know people like to blame public schools for the problems of the nation. Kids can’t multiply. Can’t read.

Can’t whittle.

I’ve argued before that this story of failing public schools is a myth. But for now, we can put the matter aside.

When it comes to Donald Trump and geography, he’s a product of private schools. So don’t blame the public schools. 

I taught American history, myself, and always stressed to students that there are two sides (or more) to any story. So I understand why some people like the message Mr. Trump is trying to sell. 

I even agree in part. I agree that the War in Iraq was a huge mistake. 

I agree the GOP establishment has ignored the needs and concerns of the average American worker. 

I agree there’s way too much money in politics. In fact, for all those reasons, I’ve been voting for Democrats, almost exclusively, since 2004. 

Still, I would never vote for Mr. Trump in the proverbial million years. Let’s start with the matter of geography, first. Mr. Trump, this is Indiana:

Indiana is lodged between Ohio and Illinois. If you get in a limo and have your chauffeur head west from New York City you will find it in 650 miles.

Anyway, Indiana is, for all intents and purposes, part of the United States. You would have to drive many more miles, and turn southwest, to hit Mexico. And did you know not all Mexicans are rapists? You did not? 

Well, it’s true.

Mexico is a foreign country. Indiana is what we here in the Midwest refer to as “a state.” I was born and raised in Ohio, Mr. Trump. So I am a “Buckeye.” Since I was born in Ohio, I am a citizen of the United States. Remember John Kasich? One of those guys who ran against you for the GOP nomination for president? He’s our governor. And since I was born in this country I am an American.

True, my ancestors were Irish. Back in the day, did you know many native-born Americans didn’t like my ancestors—didn’t like their religion, not one bit. (It reminds me of your position in regard to Muslims; but that is a question for later.) The Irish were loyal to the Pope, their enemies claimed, not the U. S. Constitution.  “No Irish need apply,” job advertisements read. There were violent protests too. A Catholic church in Boston was blown to bits. A priest in Maine was tarred and feathered. In 1855 an anti-immigrant riot in Louisville, Kentucky, aimed at Irish and Germans, left 22 dead.

That’s another topic we need to talk about, sir, with both you and many of your followers: the right to protest. 

Did you know that that right is protected by the First Amendment?

Yes, there are more amendments than you seem to realize. There’s the First. Then there’s the Second, the one you seem (lately, at least) to dearly love. The Fifth is cool, too; the Fourteenth, and so forth.

No one cares about the Twelfth anymore. So you can ignore that one, I would think.

Anyway, the right to protest—against you, against Mrs. Clinton, against any of our leaders—it’s all good, unless violence is involved.

I can hold up a sign reading:

I cannot, however, use said sign to bash your supporters on the head. The people who attacked your fans in San Jose, California were clearly wrong. I hope many of them get arrested and spend Election Day in jail.

Maybe they can vote absentee.

One reason I could never vote for you is your support of violence to suppress peaceful protest. Yes, some of the people who have disrupted your rallies are annoying; and, yes, you have every right to be heard. But when that guy sucker-punched a black man being led out of one of your rallies and later said, “Next time time, maybe we’ll have to kill him”—and you said you might pay his legal bills?

I thought I sniffed a whiff of fascism.

By the way, Mr. Trump, I would urge you to be a bit more skillful and not get your “ism’s” confused. You are correct when you identify Senator Sanders as a “socialist.” He believes in socialism.

Unfortunately, you labeled him a “communist.” Communism is not the same as socialism. You can have one of your aides look it up. In fact, communist leaders have often jailed or executed socialists.

Hitler did, too.

I know. It gets confusing at times—especially when the Nazi Party was, in name, at least, a socialist party.

Not really the same.

We’ll get back to geography in a moment, sir. I know you’re a busy man, what with all that Tweeting you do.

But you also worry me when you talk about using waterboarding and worse and toss out the idea of “torture” in cavalier fashion. You know who was good at torture? Well, Hitler. The Spanish during the Inquisition. Saddam. (Remember when you said he was good at getting rid of terrorists? He was actually really good at getting rid of anyone he did not like.) You can get people to admit anything if you torture them enough. Torture Senator Cruz and that poor schlub would admit to being a member of ISIS. So: check out the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments when you have a moment.

The U. S. Constitution takes a strong stand against “cruel and unusual punishments,” I can assure you that.

And you know the Muslims—that entire people you so happily vilify? Remember that First Amendment I mentioned? It’s right there, in front of the Second. Well, it guarantees freedom of religion for all! 

Even Muslims! I know you and many of your most brilliant supporters might find that hard to believe; but it’s true.

In fact, did you realize that under the U. S. Constitution no religious test for office can ever be required?

Those Founding Fathers! What wisdom they showed. Sure. They were dicey when it came to equal rights for blacks and women—but on religion, they were great. Anyway, that means if President Obama was a Muslimand for some reason many of your supporters insist he ishe’d be qualified to run for and hold any office in this land.

And while I’m on that topic, do you remember when Fox News tarred Obama for membership in the church of Reverend Wright? (Say what you want about Reverend Wright; but he was indubitably minister of the Trinity United Church of Christ—and Mr. Obama was clearly going to a Christian church—and so he couldn’t be a Muslim—and it would be stupid to think he was—and it wouldn’t matter, legally or morally, if he was—not if he swore to uphold the U. S. Constitution—which he didand which is all the Founding Fathers ever required.) Anyway, I know all of this may befuddle your adherents and I know a steady diet of Fox News won’t help. But here’s another nugget of history for you to nibble. You can’t be a Muslim and a communist—although many on the crazy right have claimed Mr. Obama is both. You see, communists hate all religions. Jews? Hate them. Episcopalians? Hate them too.

Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs?

Yep. All of them.

So. Back to geography, where we started. Remember President Obama, his birth certificate and all?

Guess what! Hawaii is not part of Kenya! 

Hawaii is a state!

And, even if President Obama had been born in Kenya he could still take a seat in the Oval Office. The citizenship of a child is based on the citizenship of his or her parents. For example, a child born to a member of the U. S. military—say a 28-year-old recently returned from her tour with the U. S. Air Force in Afghanistan, now stationed in Ramstein, Germany—would be an American citizen even if delivered on that base. Even if that soldier was a Muslim, as many in our armed forces are.

Born on an ocean liner in the middle of the Pacific? Same deal. Born on an airplane flying over Kenya. Or Hawaii. Or outer space. Still the same. The child’s parent/parents’ citizenship determines their citizenship. So: I’m a citizen. You’re a citizen. Mrs. Trump—I mean the third and current Mrs. Trump—was able to become a citizen after she waited a few years. My Irish ancestors, good Catholics all, and good Americans in the end, were allowed to become citizens, too.

This is a great nation in that regard. You might have noticed that statue in the harbor. Statue of Liberty, it’s called.

Did you know people have been willing to die for our freedoms for 250 years? So, we come full circle to that “Mexican” judge you breezily insulted. What a funny un-American name: Gonzalo Curiel. He’s probably a rapist.

Ha, ha. I’m messing with you, sir.

Actually, because he was born in Indiana, he’s an American. Just like you. Just like President Obama.


Oh yeah, did you know, in 1970, Raul, the judge’s brother, served a tour in Vietnam? Have you ever been to Vietnam? As I understand it, you have not. You missed your chance to make the military great, back when you could have done your part. 

I think your feet hurt or something.

Yeah, you can be a good American even if you have Mexican roots, or if, like Senator John McCain, you were born in the Panama Canal Zone.

You know Senator McCain, the man you said was not a hero? When your feet hurt too much to serve your country, his entire body was hurting because he was being tortured in a North Vietnam prison.

That word, again. Torture. Only countries run by scum use torture today.

Go figure, Mr. Trump. 

I hope you learned a little, sir, by reading this. You seem a little fuzzy when it comes to American values, if you ask me.


(Mr. Trump was the leader of the birther movement for many years; but now he finally understands: Hawaii is part of America.


  1. Excellent! But I'm not sure Trump reads. After all, he says he doesn't use a teleprompter for his unscripted speeches because he has a great brain. But I do suspect he might have the complex vocal aspect of Tourette Syndrome.

  2. If you are really a "conservative" then you need to start backing Donald Trump. He may not totally fit the conservative view bt he is definitely a better fit than Hilary Clinton. Wake up and look at reality!!!!

    1. The reality is pretty ugly for the GOP these days. Trump also seems inclined to limit freedom of the press.

    2. Anyone, and I do mean ANYONE backing Trump, is suffering from severe stupidity, which is not curable. (Ignorance can be cured, but not pure stupidity.) Mitt Romney is right; a man (or woman) with integrity cannot vote for Trump. Do a write-in. Or vote Libertarian. Or, if you are from NV, vote, none of the above. By the way, my dog, Butchie, is running for president, and he is definitely better than Trump. (My dog speaks 'woof-woof' however, not English.) But, he is in training....gh