I’m going to take a page from Michelle Obama and “go high.” I would like to thank Donald Trump (and I write this without a trace of sarcasm) for making me think longer and harder about what it means to be an American than I have ever thought before.
Thank you for making me go back to the history books to learn and relearn more about the founding of our nation… Thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach my dual-citizen children about the American story and the electoral process as well as why the founding fathers, fallible as they were—real people with real problems—were so prescient and wise in how they shaped the early days of the nation. Thank you for making me review and renew what it means to be an individual American citizen as well as a global American citizen. Thank you for reminding me why it’s so essential to have a good education and to keep learning long after I’m out of school. Thank you for reminding me to be more critical of the media and also more appreciative of the hard-working journalists out there and why it’s critical to consume a wide range of newspapers and news shows, including the international press. Thank you for renewing my appreciation of brilliant satire. Thank you for making me think about what the role of a national leader really is and what qualities are imperative to perform the job well. Thank you for reminding me how precious my right to vote is, so that my voice can be heard.
Those are the words of a friend of mine, author and editor Gina Buonaguro (originally on Facebook; posted here with permission).
Donald Trump probably does not know enough about government to teach a high school course on the subject, but with the right kind of student, he can inadvertently be a good teacher.
What can I be thankful for having learned from him and his political success to date?
Here’s one thing: insofar as it is the role of philosophers to show how seemingly simple questions are rather quite complicated, to teach methods for exploring and assessing disagreement, and to cultivate in their students the attitude that having the right answer at the start is not as important as having it at the end, we have a lot of work ahead of us.