“The limits of my language, means the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Immigrants in every corner of the globe know one thing to be universally true. Your value in a society is largely dependent on your mastery of the language. Without fluency of tongue, foreigners in any nation find it difficult to communicate and subsequently to assimilate. These language barriers create cultural isolation potentially leading to economic hardship. For many immigrants, like my own family, the obstacle of mastering a new language is paramount to their future success. I have watched as my mother, who moved to this country at nearly 30 years old, worked to improve her English over the course of my life; from a harsh accent and barely passable pronunciation to complete fluency and professional literacy. The same is true for my father, my aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and family friends. Millions of immigrants come to this and other western nations and learn the language, some better than others. Is it not reasonable then to assume, given his harsh rhetoric against immigrants, that Donald Trump, president of the United States of America and leader of the free world, should at least demonstrate fluency of the English language? It seems not.
Mr. Trump’s struggles with his native tongue are a matter of national embarrassment. For a man who speaks constantly of American exceptionalism, his lack of eloquence is overshadowed only by his nonlinear and illogical trains of thought. At worst, his speech can devolve into an incomprehensible, childlike babble. At the very best, you are listening to a man who is incapable of using elevated speech, whose Rolodex of adjectives and adverbs is on par with a 7th grade reading level. I promise you this is not hyperbole. I am not applying liberal overreaction to a minor transgression. Simply read his direct quotes and it becomes painfully obvious that he is not an intelligent man.
“Iraq and Iran were very similar militarily, and they’d fight, fight, fight, and then they’d rest. They’d fight, fight, fight, and then Saddam Hussein would do the gas, and somebody else would do something else, and they’d rest.”
“For evangelicals, for the Christians, for the everybody, for everybody of religion, this will be, may be, the most important election that our country has ever had.”
“They don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t – they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good.”
“You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like, lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”
These four quotes are a small sample of the hundreds, perhaps now thousands, of Donald’s confusing and head scratching diction. Much speculation has been made into why, then candidate, now president Trumps’ speeches, tweets, and interviews come off so uneducated. Some have gone as far as to diagnose the man with early onset dementia, pointing to some of his more confusing rants and overuse of simple adjectives. I don’t buy it. Claiming the president has dementia is a poor attempt at rationalizing how so many Americans could buy into the rhetoric of a juvenile and uneducated man. In fact it would be more concerning to me if millions of my fellow country men would have voted for a clearly mentally ill candidate. In my opinion, the president is not mentally ill, he is criminally uneducated. Not only in terms of policy, governance, and diplomacy, but in more general subjects such as history, literature, and speech. Trump is a caricature of the culture he so proudly represents; macho, sexually aggressive, anti-intellectual, confrontational, and insecure. And that is the heart of the problem.
Trump’s language, in and of itself, does not make him a bad president, nor a bad man. I know good men who speak in simple sentences and use poor grammar, and I know men of questionable integrity who speak with intelligence and wit. However, his choice of words and his lack of tact are indicative of a narrow world view and a shallow mind. Two characteristics that, if possessed by the leader of the free world, should strike fear into the hearts of intelligent men. Regardless of one’s political ideology, it should be of concern to us all that our president cannot form one single intelligent sentence. After all, great men and women lead with language. They inspire action and change the world with their words, not with financial accomplishments and self promotion. That is where Donald fails as a leader. So far his presidency has been marked by scandal and by a failure to achieve campaign promises. He blames Democrats, the liberal media, and a wide reaching conspiracy against his presidency, when in fact his failures are his own. Trump has positioned himself in multiple corners by making wild and poorly conceived promises, a symptom of his lack of intelligence. A perfect example of one such blunder is his infamous border wall. Regardless of political beliefs, this wall is a logistical impossibility. Such a project would take more than a decade, cost billions of tax payer dollars, cross through private property, national parks, over mountains, and through some of the country’s harshest dessert. In the end, the project would be a functional disaster, with immigrants and cartels able to cross the border using underground tunnels, climbing equipment, or by air. Trump’s opponents have mentioned as much in countless rebuffs and public statements, to no avail. If Trump were a man who thinks, then speaks, who makes strategic and calculated moves, he would have known these simple truths before spouting an impossible promise. But alas he is not.
The Donald Trump we know is a man of many, many words, and very little substance. His speeches and tweets are a constant reminder to the world, that we are being led by a man who is as bigoted and small minded as he is boorish and unqualified. Language is a tool, and the sharper the tool the more capable the man. Donald’s tools amount to little more than sticks and dull rocks, and he is attempting to lead the strongest and most powerful nation on earth with them. Good luck to him, good luck to us all.