According to his supporters and him, he has accomplished more than any other recent President. So what is it?
As an occasional critic of Donald Trump’s in my Medium posts, I have become the focus of attacks by MAGA supporters. In general, the attacks don’t bother me. Sometimes I respond, but I find that when I’m able to answer the question raised by a MAGAer, they simply change the question. Pinning them down on one issue is like trying to nail Jello to the wall.
One defense of Trump that gets frequently raised is that he has accomplished more than any President in history. I must admit that I’m skeptical. One thing he has accomplished is to attack verbally and via Twitter the mainstream media, disabled people, women, Gold Star families, and, of direct relevance to me, PhDs. In fact, one recent response to a post of mine expressed relief that Trump had control of the country rather than those PhDs.
To be certain, you are unlikely to find any PhDs in the Trump administration. True scholars would chafe at the expectation that they behave as the sycophants Trump expects among his staff. Despite this, I must insist that PhDs are not inherently the enemy of MAGA. We are trained to be skeptical of claims until they can be proven to us with evidence.
In fact, PhDs can never be truly certain of anything. Gravity, for example, is a theory with a lot of support. However, when Einstein came along, he completely changed the way gravity had been understood for hundreds of years since Newton. As a result, scientists need to always be open to new theories that better fit the facts or, in the alternative, facts that refute an earlier theory.
This is, in part, how climate deniers have succeeded in creating doubt about what is almost as much of a scientific certainty as gravity. However, despite the weight of the scientific evidence, there must always remain room for skepticism. After all, challenging existing theories is how science moves forward.
By the same token, at a certain point we must accept the theory that has the support of the great weight of the evidence. Germ theory is still a theory. I don’t see many climate deniers turning down antibiotics when they’re sick, though.
So as a PhD, I am willing to leave room to be convinced. From what I can see, Trump’s only accomplishment is the tax reform that I believe was nothing more than a deficit-busting give-away to the rich. But I’ll at least give him that. Otherwise, what else has he accomplished? North Korea still has nukes, there is no wall, and the stock market is down. If you’re a Trump supporter, convince me. What substantively has he actually accomplished in your view? I really want to know what you think about this, so I will be looking for some thoughtful responses. But as of now, count me skeptical.
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