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Monday, July 25, 2016

He Loves Us... Unless We Don’t Love Him

On watching Donald Trump's acceptance speech

election2016  donald trump rnc republican national convention rnc 2016I watched the Republican convention's final  night.

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was light-hearted, loves her father, and gave a good introduction to a man whom few know well.

Watching Trump give his speech was an out of body experience.

I suddenly felt fearful. I felt fearful for myself, my community, my family, my country. 

Only he has the strength to save and protect us. 

Only he knows how to fix everything that is broken. 

Only he can bring back the happiness and prosperity that was once there for everyone. 

Remember the Good Old Days? Only he has the tenacity and courage to restore the American dream. 

Everyone else is too weak, too politically correct, too timid. 

He can do it. He said so.

I am not saying this mockingly. I felt in my bones the appeal of a strong man who could solve every problem. He frightened me, then reassured me that he would protect me.

He will make America great again. He will be the voice for working people. He will defeat ISIS. He will bring back jobs. He will protect law enforcement officers. He will end the violence in America’s streets. In the future, everyone will be safe, protected in his strong arms, and prosperous.

That is one heck of a big promise.

Very alluring.

Later, after seeing and hearing him, I can understand why so many people adore him and believe his promises. Then I thought about what he didn’t say.

While he made clear that he would be the voice of the average working person, he didn’t say anything about raising the minimum wage.

He didn’t say anything about reducing the crushing debt that college students accrue.
He didn’t say how he would defeat ISIS.

Lots more unanswered questions.

What will he do about health care after he kills Obamacare?

Why does he think that education will be great for everyone if only there is a free market? We know the evidence runs the other way.

After he finishes building the Great Southern Wall, will he have money left to repair our infrastructure of roads, bridges, and tunnels?

Then, the following morning, I heard him talk to his volunteers, without a script. 

He talked about himself nonstop for an hour. He talked about how great he is. 

He mocked Ted Cruz and said he would reject his support. He brought up the episode where he said Ted Cruz’s father was implicated in JFK’s assassination, and Trump didn’t back down or apologize. 

Off script, he is the same old Donald.

But the basic appeal, which we will hear until November, is the invitation to be protected by a strong man who never apologizes, never explains, never backs down.

He loves us. He loves working people. He loves us unless we don’t love him.

Get used to it.

Diane Ravitch is a historian of education at New York University. Her most recent book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.  Her previous books and articles about American education include: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining EducationLeft Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform, (Simon & Schuster, 2000); The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Knopf, 2003); The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know(Oxford, 2006), which she edited with her son Michael Ravitch. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.