Samantha Bee here is being funny–and yet her theory is troublesome because so plausible. Maybe Trump can’t read. Or, at least, not well. Are we really about to elect–in the 21st century, and to the highest office in the land–a borderline illiterate? That may be the case.
Think about what it means to entrust a mercurial and temperamental authoritarian, who also happens to be substantially illiterate, with America’s nuclear biscuit. It sounds like the scenario for a dark comedy; something that would never actually happen in real life because, well, we all know it’s simply too absurd.
But now it’s on the cusp of happening. And so it’s not funny at all. Not at all. Ur-Fascism, led by someone who doesn’t read, is about to triumph in the land (or in what was once the land) of Jefferson and Lincoln–two inveterate readers.
For over two centuries this country has been, until this year, the most reliable bastion for the Anglo-French Enlightenment in the world. It was this, in part, because it treated the life of the mind–reading and reason–like they mattered; indeed, as if they were of first importance. Laugh at the clip below–then weep. Something is deeply, deeply wrong with us collectively, that the majority appear to want a satyr to rule over them; that we have let things reach such a dangerous inflection point–and with so little active and sustained resistance from moderates and liberals.