Should we blame Donald Trump?

What is most to blame for the havoc that Donald Trump has wracked on the electoral scene?

Most to blame for the fact that this ignorant and, probably because he knows so little about anything, lying man is now the Republican Party’s candidate for president of the United States? What is to blame for his coming onto the national scene and dominating this year’s presidential election politics?

Perhaps first to blame is the Republican Party itself which by promoting a extraordinarily weak field of candidates thereby made it possible for the loudest and bulliest among them to easily overpower and push the others into the background. And at this moment the blame is falling onto the Party and the Party is being pulled apart, perhaps never again to be whole. Furthermore not until it was too late to change things did the Party realize what was happening, that they had somehow permitted a total ignoramus to become their Party’s choice of candidate for the presidency.

The other 16 candidates are also much to blame. Instead of recognizing the ignorant bully among them and one of them, and turning from him, and instead choosing the strongest among themselves, say a Bush of Kasich, to successfully compete they went on insisting, each one of them, on continuing in the race, thereby splitting the voters into tiny pieces of the pie and permitting that the largest piece go to Trump himself.

But neither of these explanations is satisfactory. Without a doubt the man we watched in the debates did seem to many of us to be a totally unthinking and unfeeling idiot, a know nothing. For over and over again he revealed just how little he knew of history, of politics, of governing, of science, of literature, of the real greatness of man. How little or nothing he even knew of the real issues and problems confronting the country right now, and therefore how incapable he was to speak about them intelligently. His preparation for the debates now seems to have been nothing more than the 8th. grade education he did probably have some 60 years ago in the past.

We might say then that Trump himself is alone to blame. But no, that. wouldn’t be fair, to blame him for his ignorance. Sure we could blame ourselves for not recognizing his abysmal ignorance early on, something the Republican Party is probably doing right now, blaming themselves.

But then Trump has done nothing wrong for being what he is, and is not to be blamed for what he is. And he is by no means alone in his ignorance. There are certainly many like him, all our creations in fact, or rather the country’s creations, the products of our system of education, which allows, which allowed him and the millions of his apparent followers, to finish school and remain pretty much in the state of ignorance in which they began.

So the blame has to be on an educational system that has allowed tens of millions of Americans to graduate from our schools, and probably even from a good many colleges and universities, without having learned to think for themselves, without having acquired an ability to judge the worth and the value of things, without having become familiar with the greatest humanitarian, scientific, and artistic achievements of men like us.

Can we really expect to remain “ignorant, and free and in a state of civilization”? If we can, and if today there are those who expect something good to come from the candidacy of Donald Trump, we and they are “expecting what never was and never will be.” For if we are to guard against ignorance, and remain free and civilized, it is our responsibility  at a minimum to be well informed. That which Trump and his legions of followers don’t seem to understaand.

Bigotry, that which Trump is often accused of, is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; …education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. [At best] we are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Would that Trump and his ilk had had even an inkling of what Thomas Jefferson meant in this letter to John Adams.

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