Too many Americans fail to think, question
John Milton once wrote “reason is but choosing.” Reason is the basis for sound judgment or wisdom. In the Book of Job, Chapter 28, wisdom is associated with a place, a path and a search. In language, the question mark or the act of questioning itself is the search, path and place where human wisdom or truth can be found.
If a person believes something as truth because his pastor, his president, the National Rifle Association or Fox News says so, and there is no search of other reasons or perspectives, this is at variance with wisdom. Questioning is absent, while conformity and blind faith are embraced. This is the new norm for many of President Trump’s supporters.
A problem also arises when one questions excessively for the sake of asking questions; this leads to paralysis or inaction. Shakespeare, through Hamlet, makes the definitive statement about equivocation, hesitation and paralysis by using the question mark nearly 400 times. This, at least in part, leads to the fall of Denmark.
While Hamlet’s questions were based on thought and internal deliberation, the same cannot be said of Trump. He changes his attitude repeatedly, without the burden of internal questioning, reason or thought. Trump has taken the Groucho Marx lyric, “Your proposition may be good, but let’s get one thing understood; whatever it is, I’m against it,” to new levels of absurdity.
From gun control to the border wall and all issues in between, we have a president who rejects deliberation, dialogue and science (see climate change). Despite this, Washington Republicans as well as the Republican base support him.
There is an old saying that, “Ignorance serves dictatorships well.” We aren’t a dictatorship and we all need to realize that discouraging thought and questions destabilizes this democracy.
We should all try to freely and fearlessly reason with Trump and Washington Republican leaders, but they have chosen to abdicate reasoning for themselves a long time ago.