Donald Trump is functionally illiterate, and certainly lacks sufficient literacy standards for the office. Time and again he indicates that he is ignorant of important foreign policy documents, like the START treaty with Russia, limiting strategic nuclear weapons. Trump hadn’t heard about the treaty but told Putin he thought it was a bad idea. The START treaty, like many other issues, was debated in depth by people who cared about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and had good reasons for wanting to control them.
Trump had no idea what they were talking about. He just wanted to kill the treaty because Obama had negotiated it. The major reason for the treaty is to limit the possibility of nuclear war. Trump has no idea why that is important to do. He was apparently sleeping in a cave during the nuclear crises of the 1950s and 1960s, doesn’t know why the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, and is even ignorant of why there was a thing called the Cold War, because he is a strong admirer of Vladimir Putin and the Soviet System that he represents.
The USA is founded on simple principles that have been admired and copied all over the world for more than 200 years:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed (US Declaration of Independence, 1776.)
Trump does not understand how important these rights are, or how vital they have been in creating a world where human rights are respected, where women and children and those who are physically weaker than others can still expect to be treated fairly and live happy, fulfilled lives. He doesn’t understand it because he didn’t read about it in school or because he wasn’t paying attention. Certainly he had the opportunity to know these things.
Trump is like someone who was born yesterday. He has no clear vision of why the world is like it is or how men and women of good will have been trying to improve it since the Age of Enlightenment. He has been born into a world that is free and well-regulated by enlightened governments. He imagines that freedom has always existed apart from the governments in which it thrives. He believes so many false things that it would take many volumes to explain them all.
The question is, will Trump’s ignorance destroy the civilization that has been so carefully built by wise and industrious men and women? Just now, the answer to that question is open to doubt. So you see, it is absolutely essential that all of us who know the truth or even a small part of it should shout it from the mountaintops so that even Trump and his fellow oligarchs can hear it. As Martin Luther King said,
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Recently, Trump protested because a reporter said that Martin Luther King’s portrait had vanished from the Oval Office in the White House. Trump values that portrait, he says. Although he may value the portrait, he does not value what the portrait represents. King’s portrait remains in the White House but his ideas and his spirit have been carefully erased from government web pages.
Trump and his kind may succeed in erasing the words from the walls, but they will never succeed in erasing them from the hearts of men and women everywhere.