“Trump Succeeds at Lowering America’s I.Q.” Although that reads like a headline from The Onion that would be followed by an article detailing how he did it so that he could appear smarter, hugely smarter, because nobody has a bigger IQ than Donald . . . I predict that we will be reading similar headlines after four years of President Trump. These reports will be found in legitimate news sources – if there are any organizations left that aren’t being forced to churn out only “alternative facts.”
What I’m about to state could appear elitist, but it isn’t intended to be. I do not consider myself to be elite and definitely don’t mean to sound that way. I don’t judge people based on their intelligence; I do judge people based on how they treat others. I have highly intelligent children and will not apologize for stating that publicly. I realize how very fortunate I am to have children who were born with the capacity to learn easily. They were fortunate to live in the “right” school district and have access to a “good” public education. My children were accepted into highly-rated, difficult to get into colleges. This happened because of a combination of their early good fortune and the hard work they chose to put into succeeding academically.
My youngest child graduated from one of the top engineering schools in the world last summer. Before my son’s outdoor commencement in California, I sat in the audience and appreciated the beautiful surrounding campus. I read the names on the program and looked around at the family members of my son’s classmates. As I absorbed the moment, I felt honored to be taking part in that celebration. I was in a place that welcomed people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs with the common goal, as indicated in the school’s mission statement, of expanding human knowledge and benefiting society. It represented to me the very best that America can possibly be. I was humbled during the ceremony as I realized that I was sitting among the most brilliant minds in the world. Among the students receiving their Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees that day one of them could become the computer engineer who succeeds at protecting our country from foreign cyber threats; the inventor of the next technology that improves the way we communicate; the scientist who figures out how to colonize Mars; the doctor who discovers a cure for all cancers . . . I felt so thankful that my son had the opportunity to interact with brilliant students and professors focused on such pursuits. I didn’t know what each of those students receiving their diplomas that day would end up doing, but I knew it was safe to assume that they would have a profound impact on society and would enrich our country with their presence.
Approximately 10% of my son’s undergraduate classmates were from other countries. Over 40% of the graduate students were from other countries. Most international students have historically continued to live, work, teach and conduct research in the United States after receiving their degrees and have contributed in ways that significantly benefit American citizens.
I would not be surprised if there are currently students or faculty members at my son’s alma mater who originate from some of the seven countries affected by President Trump’s executive order banning the entrance of select visa and green card holders. Are those professors and students now unable to return to their homelands over school breaks for fear they won’t be allowed back into the country to return to their education? It is unclear that the Trump administration is capable of extending to them an exemption by recognizing that it is “in the nation’s interest” to allow highly intelligent foreigners to participate in our academic society. Will those students’ families be allowed to enter the United States to watch their child graduate from one of the top engineering schools in the world next June, like I did? Will the most brilliant minds from around the world stop applying to my son’s school, and other top American institutions for fear they won’t get admitted into the United States after successfully gaining admission to a school because of the potential that they possess?
Exactly what President Trump and his team plan to do the next four years in terms immigration policies is unknown. They claim to be currently targeting seven countries not because they are Muslim, but because they are hot spots for ISIS terrorists. ISIS is a very nomadic group. When they eventually migrate into other countries, will an executive order also prevent green card and visa holders from those places from entering the United States without warning? It’s all unknown.
What is known is that in President Trump’s rush to demonstrate his success at keeping campaign promises, our international relations across the globe have already been negatively affected by the executive order. Through his creation of a poorly thought out, insulting immigration plan to keep terrorists out of our country, President Trump created an easy excuse for foreigners to align with ISIS. For many of us who are “allowed” to be in this country and possess critical thinking skills, he’s made the U.S. a really unattractive place to be – for multiple reasons. The most obvious one is the target he is clearly painting on our backs for future international radicals.
Due to the unpredictability of executive orders and policies that will emerge over the next four years, it is probably now too risky for young, brilliant international minds to invest in a dream of attending one of our country’s top institutions and contributing to American society with the discoveries they could have made. President Trump will succeed at lowering America’s I.Q.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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