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Does Donald Trump have a learning disability?

Does Donald Trump have a learning disability? I have been considering this as a blog post ever since Trump entered the White House. I am not the first to ask this question. Even his own staff have questioned Trump’s reading ability as described in this article in the Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-mental-health-michael-wolff-learning-disabilities-dementia-adhd-read-semi-literate-fire-a8146176.html

I have been reluctant to write this post due to the stigma around learning disabilities. I know that stigma, having two daughters with diagnosed learning disabilities. I have wondered if I have an undiagnosed learning disability myself. Although I have come to enjoy reading, I struggled with reading and writing in school. After being held back in second grade, a summer school course in phonics helped a lot. I am still a slow reader, but I have gotten better. I am best with newspapers, magazines, and books with simple vocabulary, generally at an 8th grade level. Computers have helped me to write and organize my thoughts. I know that dyslexia and learning disabilities are different from intelligence. People still confuse the two. Trump has even responded to such concerns as an attack on his intelligence, tweeting he is “like, really smart.”

In addition to learning about his lack of interest in books, we learn more about Trump’s writing in his tweets. There are he misspellings and strange grammar. Most recently, he tweeted this: “James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order of generate a Special Council?” He uses the same spelling for counsel in the second half of the tweet.

Special Council

That led Yashar Ali of New York Magazine to tweet “Not a big fan of making fun of someone’s spelling issues or using it to determine how smart they are. All of my dyslexic friends and family members have a really hard time with spelling but also happen to be the smartest/most creative people I know. I’d say…focus on the content”. In response, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog wrote, “Yes, but that’s because they’re dyslexic. Trump isn’t.” And in response to my questioning, Aravosis wrote, “I’m not sure he isn’t dying of syphillis. But I”m certainly not going to start showing him pity for things we’re all just making up out of thin air.”

Aravosis

I admit I do not know, anymore than anyone else, if Trump is learning disabled, and I am not using that as an excuse to pity him. I will only refer to a bumpersticker I once saw in my Berkeley neighborhood. (BTW Berkeley, CA is considered the birthplace of the disability rights movement, going back to when Ed Roberts studied at the University of California.) The bumpersticker read, “Attitudes are the real disabilities.” If that is the case, then Trump’s real disability is not his struggle with reading, but his refusal to deal with it.

The State of New York has had two governors that were unable to read. The most recent was David Paterson, who is unable to read due to physical disability. Before him Nelson Rockefeller was not only a governor, but a vice president and presidential candidate. Rockefeller was dyslexic. About his struggle with reading, Rockefeller gave this advice:

Accept the fact that you have a problem—don’t just try to hide it.

Refuse to feel sorry for yourself.

Realize that you don’t have an excuse—you have a challenge.

Face the challenge.

Work harder and learn mental discipline—the capacity for total concentration—and

Never Quit.

http://www.memphisdyslexia.org/articles/rockefeller.html 

Trump has a lot of issues that I have previously posted to this blog. They are all reasons why Trump is completely unfit to hold the office of president. If he does have a disability and is unwilling to accept it, this is an indication of a bigger issue with Trump and his self image. Remember that Trump the candidate ridiculed a reporter with a physical disability. I am sure that Trump considers disability a weakness, and he does not want to appear weak. It is entirely consistent with how he projects himself to the world. He builds himself up by knocking others down. He can’t take a joke at his own expense and is unable to laugh at himself. He never apologizes or admits he is wrong. He seems obsessed with his masculinity. Trump considers any attack that reveals him to be weak to be an attack his masculinity.

Trump may be intelligent, but he has shown himself to be mentally lazy. Not only does Trump not read, he doesn’t listen either. Worse still, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know, and he has no interest in learning.

I don’t want to sound ageist, but it is true that, as we get older, we become less likely to change. Trump is 71. If he is disabled and his real disability is his attitude, I doubt that is going to change.

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April 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Earth Day. Tweet for the Climate

On Earth Day of 2012 I decided to tweet at least once per day on the issue of climate change. I committed myself to do that until the November election. I was able to keep that commitment, though I did include retweets in that count. My decision was based on the concern that climate change was again being ignored by the candidates and the media. Questions about the climate crisis were being left out of debates. I wanted to do something that would start that conversation on the climate and hoped that people who read my climate tweets would bring these questions directly to the candidates who were asking for their votes. I have no illusions that it made much of a difference, but it was still worth doing. At least, it was better than doing nothing. That is why I am doing it again.

It is Earth Day again on another election year. Activists are concerned about the potential turnout for the November election. The Democratic Party’s hopes for regaining the House are fading, and they face the real possibility of losing the Senate. For people concerned about the climate, this is very troubling. Democrats have been willing to address the issue, while Republicans have been in denial that humans are responsible for global warming. Republicans want to focus on repealing Obamacare and cutting government spending. Democrats are nervous about advocating anything that looks like a tax increase. The most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate are from conservative states that rely on fossil fuels for their economy, such as Alaska and Louisiana. The prospect of passing meaningful legislation does not look good for the near future.

Meanwhile, the media continues to focus who will be running for president in 2016. The speculation started as soon as the 2012 election was over. If stories on Benghazi and the closing of the George Washington Bridge have received so much press attention, it is because of their connection to potential presidential candidates. It becomes too easy to forget there is a national election this year with every House seat and one third of the Senate seats on the ballot. The winners of those races will be determining what legislation gets passed or doesn’t get passed during the next two years.

Climate legislation is caught up in the current polarization of our political parties. Once upon a time, we had liberal and moderate wings in both parties. Today, we are dependent on super majorities for one party to get any legislation passed, being unable to receive even one vote from the minority party. As we celebrate passage of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we are reminded that it took both Democrats and Republicans to get that bill to Lyndon Johnson’s desk. Conservative Democrats in the South wouldn’t support it, so it passed with the support of liberal and moderate Republicans.

When Earth Day was created in 1970, it was celebrated by both Republicans and Democrats. Can we get that bipartisan support for climate legislation today? I believe we can if there is enough of us willing to do something, anything to focus the attention of both the candidates and the media. So starting today, I will be tweeting at least once per pay for the climate. I invite everyone reading this to tweet, as well. If you are really inspired, you can join a group of concerned activists on the Climate March. They started in Long Beach on March 1 and expect to reach Washington, DC in November. Along the way, they are talking to anyone they can about our need to reduce carbon emissions. Right now, they are in Arizona, headed to the New Mexico border. You can follow them on Twitter @ClimateMarch and visit them at climatemarch.org.

The most important part is getting people to vote. Find candidates who are willing to address the climate issue. Support those candidates with your dollars and your vote. Get the word out to everyone you know that their votes count and make sure they show up at the polls in November. I plan to use the hashtag #climatetweet. I don’t know if we can get that to trend on Twitter, but we can try.

Happy Earth Day

  

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment