Trump lost among every minority group, lost the popular vote, has had an elector resign rather than vote for him. The electorate divided between urban centers and rural folks, educated and uneducated. But power, fame, and money makes people come to you. People like Romney who once said Trump could not lead America and would be disastrous for us comes calling looking to get back in the government game. Trump will do a drop of good and his sins will be forgiven and he will be thought great by those who voted for him. This is the great American way. The poor white and working class are always looking for the great white hope or a Messiah to deliver us. So talk big and white you might get elected.
One of the reasons I think we are in the great fix we are in the United States is the new push and yearning for classical training and education. I believe the western classical training taught leads to xenophobic attitudes. When you are taught that only European ways are the best you are more than likely to frown at people of other cultures and think unless they have totally assimilated to the white way they are inferior and need someone to take care or worse rule over them. Equal rights and voting rights are to be earned by the non-western people but ‘white’ people have their rights by virtue of being white.
A classical education becomes even more problematic in a world that has grown smaller. We are constantly bumping up against other cultures and if we are convinced ours is the only one with merit we can become an ugly American very fast. Two summers ago I spent two and a half months in Beijing the capital of China. It may come as a surprise to some they have an older, more complicated, diverse and amazing culture than we Americans may think. The first system of meritocracy was in China led by the bureaucrat and religious leader Confucius. The concept that nepotism and classism should not be the qualifications for a government position came first from China. Confucius gave test to determine if persons had the skills to perform the job they were being considered for. Meritocracy is an idea we uphold and is a practice in our own government today. But Confucius went beyond testing for the intellectual capacities he gave test to see if the person had the spiritual qualities needed for the job. Were they honest? Were they faithful? Were they humble? Were they greedy? And so on. This test if applied to Congress might empty the halls.
Classical education while not explicitly taught but implicitly taught says white or European matters more? It furthermore tries to create loyalty to the cause of whiteness. Of course this approach assumes that a certain people have most if not all the answers. This is not meritocracy but xenophobic. It is not that I do not think that the Western classics should not be taught but the classics should not be limited to the Western culture but include other culture’s classics too. This makes for a more universal dialogue. It creates space to learn from and respect of other cultures. In today’s world we need to be creating world citizens as well as citizens of the Western world.
When I was in seminary I was taught there were four different ways to study world religions. One was to study with the assumption all world religions were less than and Christianity was the one true religion. The second was to look at all the world religions having some if only primitive truth but building up to the pinnacle of all religion: Christianity. The third was to learn from the world religions and see how it informed your Christianity and how Christianity could connect and speak to the people of these religions. The last was to approach each religion without a pre-ordained hierarchy and experience each as a valid way to look at the world. I am convinced that you cannot know a religion or anything else without an open mind and heart to what is being taught. This last view was considered heretical of course. Yet in a world that grows smaller each day it is probably the approach we need for survival unless of course we intend to rule the world with our one way.