Carolina Day School

Honors Papers 2021-22

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Sprouse1 Lia Sprouse 6 December 2020 The White Elephant In The Room The forty-fifth president of the United States sits down in some unknown room to take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a ten-minute-long test of simple and easy questions designed not to measure the taker's intelligence, but to quickly screen for dementia 1 . At the top of his paper, in the section in which the test asks the taker to identify which animal is pictured, an outlined elephant comes to life. It shakes the ink off of its ears, trumpeting silently as it turns its head to the president and gazes past the sunken blue eyes and down into the sunken brain. Silently, coolly, confrontationally, the black and white elephant on the paper stares down the white elephant in the room. The president's cognitive test results are of little scientific value. However, his subsequent comments about how his score demonstrates his massive intellect 2 are but the latest iteration of a disturbing presidential pattern. Donald Trump, in his campaign and in office, has relied repeatedly on the creation of white elephants. Time and time again, he has whipped his base into mass hysteria over issues of little actual significance instead of focusing on problems that actually affect our country. He habitually creates threats out of nothing; he blows up balloons made of pale wrinkled rubber, and his manipulated supporters fall upon the gigantic inflated forms, unable to see that they consist of nothing but skin and air. The most obvious example of a Donald Trump white elephant promise is his border wall. In his campaign and presidency, Trump has spent hours of time and energy pushing largely untrue nationalist rhetoric against illegal immigration 3, 4 . Illegal immigration was not a buzzword in US politics before he made it so, and his infamous characterization of illegal immigrants as job-stealing criminals and rapists

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