You don’t have to beg, but you do have to raise

Raising the question and begging a question are different. It always mattered to me, but it was, I’ll confess, one of those English-teacher things.

It’s not any more. Raising a question is exactly what it sounds like—bringing up something that needs discussion, as in, The election of Donald Trump raises the question: are Americans informed enough to vote for president or even order at the drive-thru?
Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself, as in of course Trump didn’t grope any women: he’s not the kind of person who would grope women. The proof is not a proof, merely a restatement.

Donald Trump is thriving on our inability to recognize the difference. For instance, today he accepted the Mexican president’s cancellation of the upcoming visit by saying, “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall…” and presto, for his non-thinking followers, we NEED the wall.

But we don’t. Almost every study undertaken by objective researchers has stated that the wall will not reduce illegal passages and will never pay back the initial investment which may be $15 billion, not including maintenance and upkeep. All his overused phrases: crooked Hillary, catastrophis Obamacare premiums, Muslim extremist, voter fraud—they’re all examples of assertions made without any proof other than the assertion itself.

What do we do? We stop letting him get away with it. Conway and Spicer have expressed disgust at our picking apart everything Trump does. They need to be more disgusted. Keep calling him on it, and make sure our representatives do the same. Publicly contest every unproven generality, whether he wants to call them alternative truths…or what they really are: lies.

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Chuck Radda

I'm a former high school English teacher, currently a literacy volunteer and novelist. I invite your responses right here or to chuckradda@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter—where I tweet annually at @chuckrad45.

2 thoughts on “You don’t have to beg, but you do have to raise”

  1. I don’t know how so many people seem to let slide all his unproven generalities and the incessant hyperbole. His references: “people,” “everybody,” “NO ONE has more respect for ___ than I do,” “so many people say so,” — with never a reference to actual persons or the evidence for the assertions. That this tactic has been so effective and difficult to combat is frightening. Contesting the lies and assumptions hasn’t yet made a dent in the fortress of fabrication he has built up around himself. His minions are good at echoing his garbage talk and keeping the

    His recent statement “Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect,…” is just another example of his “loaded” expressions. WE (like WE all agree on this) are going to build a wall at the cost of BILLIONS of dollars, and MEXICO is going to pay! Exactly who is not treating whom fairly and with respect? Mind boggling! And then he added the ultimately stupid proposal that a TAX on Mexican goods (paid by US consumers) would somehow make Mexico pay for the wall????

  2. In response to your first observation—because they’re lazy. But also, and of greater concern, Trump feeds into all their biases and bigotry, and refuting him would be an admission that they were wrong, that they voted for the wrong guy. Many of his supporters are offended when they’re called racists or bigots or misogynists or homophobes, but they’re all of that and more if they supported one and made excuses for one. These people constitute a larger threat to our society than all the foreigners he wants to keep out.

    Anyway, I think we’re making a dent, one which will grow deeper if we stop playing whack-a-mole and focus. That fortress is not impenetrable if we work slowly and consistently from the outside in.

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