Credit Donald Trump with this: He’s providing civics lessons to every American, particularly those who didn’t vote or haven’t been paying attenion.
As every good teacher knows, it’s best to make the lesson personal so that each student, no matter how disillusioned, distracted or smitten with the professor, gets it.
So for those who turned away from the election, who told themselves they couldn’t make a difference, that they didn’t want to be participate in a rigged system or choose between corrupt and less corrupt: Expect an immersive four-year course on how you might have been wrong.
For those who knew nothing about the Electoral College: You do now.
For those who question how the Electoral College preserves democracy: Sorry, that’s beyond the scope of this course.
For those who think the president’s cabinet is a group of good ole boys who get together with the president to smoke cigars and trade war stories: Well, you’re partly right, but the current bunch is hungry for new war stories. This section of the syllabus will employ a learn-as-you-get-burned approach.
For those who rely on Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and uncounted consumer protections: Expect pop quizzes as the Trump administration learns how a bill becomes a law. Extra credit for calculations of losses in household income and/or life.
For those who don’t understand how lobbyists advance the interests of foreign governments in Washington: Homework will involve Googling Bob Dole and Taiwan.
For those, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who claim that fake news has no impact on public debate or voter turnout, we’re going to conduct a lab experiment. Let’s make one of the best-known advocates of fake news, Michael Flynn, national security adviser and then see how he can turn that weapons-of-mass-destruction story into a Dick and Jane book. We might even name Laura Ingraham, another bullhorn for misinformation, as White House press secretary.
Throughout the course, the teacher will, however unintentionally, emphasize the importance of a well-informed electorate. So for those who get their news solely from Fox, Facebook and Twitter: Be sure to keep watching SNL and the late-night talk shows. It’s the only way the so-called mainstream media can reach you.