I returned from a particularly successful and satisfying trip to Pakistan to discover that little had changed in my homeland.
If anything, Thanksgiving week had brought a deeper intensity to the troublesome issues that were roiling the news cycle before I left: the Mueller investigation offered new layers of intrigue and examples of unmitigated greed, corruption and double dealing; a new crisis in the Sea of Azov inflamed tension between Ukraine and Russia and threatened to escalate into a much wider conflict, the crisis at the Southern border flared back into the headlines, a White House study on the economic impact of climate change raised more urgent alarms than past reports.
Scary stuff. But what I found most frightening of all lay in the transcript of President Trump’s interview to the Washington Post. It is one thing to see the President respond to questions on television. Your eyes can wander to the broader setting, his body language, reactions by those in the room. It is quite another thing to read his ramblings, study his syntax, follow his flow, examine his illustrations and try to connect the dots in his thought patterns. I offer his response to questions of climate change as Exhibit A:

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.

“You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including many other places, the air is incredibly dirty, and when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small [Trump said in an apparent reference to pollution around the globe] and it blows over and it sails over. I mean we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows and we say, ‘Where does this come from?’ And it takes many people, to start off with.

“[then, in reference to some scientific theories in the mid-1970’s] If you go back and if you look at articles, they talk about global freezing. They talk about at some point, the planet is going to freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion.

“[And, pivoting to the recent California forest fires] And it’s a massive problem in California. fire in California, where I was, if you looked at the floor, the floor of the fire, they have trees that were fallen. They did no forest management, no forest maintenance, and you can light — you can take a match like this and light a tree trunk when that thing is laying there for more than 14 or 15 months. And it’s a massive problem in California.”

We await news of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires where the same US President who uttered these thoughts is about to meet with global leaders. I leave it to you to decide the level of concern this thought evokes in you–not only for our country, but for the entire world.

6 thoughts on “Words, Context, Logic Matter

  1. I can hardly wait for the news from the G-20 Summit and reaction to the above from other leaders of the world.

  2. “I mean we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows and we say, ‘Where does this come from?’ And it takes many people, to start off with.”

    Is it high level of thinking?

  3. He really needs to be controlled by Congress, but it is apparent that he is controlling Congress. I believe Mr. Trump is why our founding fathers set up the type of oversight that is now struggling to function. This is a man who could be in office for the next six years.

  4. Terrifying to have a “leader of the free world” who is utterly uninformed, untethered from facts, who does not read anything, who has no sense of history or gobal context and believes he has a big brain and an even more intelligent gut.

    More terrifying is his being enabled by fearful career politicians whose jobs he imperils as a #MEDIATEDREALITYPRESIDENT (translation: manipulating perceptions via his media-driven persona – i.e., The Apprentice/Twitter) all of which is further fueled by adoring fans who, despite his constant lies, continue to feed his insatiable ego (translation: pick any Trump Rally).

    All the ingredients necessary to give rise an authoritarian bully who is today’s biggest threat to Democracy.

    Remind you of any other infamous historical figure?

  5. That interview frighten me because it shows that there is not much depth and understanding of the many challenging we are facing as world. Trump is the leader of the most powerful country in the free world and his intellectual curiosity leaves a lot to be desired.
    I am still confused and surprised that an inform citizenry could elect a leader of caliber.

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