A Down President?
I've wrestled with posting this observation for... well, since Trump began running for the 2016 presidency. I hesitated to sound like I was discriminating against anyone with Down syndrome, children or adults. I can speak from the experience of working with the Special Olympics in the mid-1980s and with children in swimming competitions with Down syndrome; I know how bright and wonderful they can be. Be that as it may, the truth is that various behaviors and physical attributes can define someone with Down and prevent them from fully functioning in society.
Early on, I felt like a saw Down in the face of Trump. And as time has gone on, his behavior and dispostion have reinforced my conviction. Here are some typical symptoms identified by the National Institute of Health.
Common physical signs of Down syndrome include:
- Decreased or poor muscle tone
- Short neck, with excess skin at the back of the neck
- Flattened facial profile and nose
- Small head, ears, and mouth
- Upward slanting eyes, often with a skin fold that comes out from the upper eyelid and covers the inner corner of the eye
- White spots on the colored part of the eye (called Brushfield spots)
- Wide, short hands with short fingers
- A single, deep crease across the palm
- A deep groove between the first and second toes
To be sure, I've seen neither his toes nor the palm of his hands, but some of the physical attributes seem present to me. The NIH continues with the intellectual effects of Down.
"Cognitive impairment, problems with thinking and learning, is common in people with Down syndrome and usually ranges from mild to moderate. Only rarely is a Down syndrome associated with severe cognitive impairment".
The NIH continues with the following effects of Down:
"Other common cognitive and behavioral problems may include:
- Short attention span
- Poor judgment
- Impulsive behavior
- Slow learning
- Delayed language and speech development
I'm not sure I have to go on ad nauseam; the similarities are pretty obvious. This is not to say that someone with Down might not be a good president, but it would seem to present some special difficulties in dealing with the challenges of the position.
Down is one of the many birth defects that can afflict humans and should never be used to discriminate; a great many Down people have gone on to be wonderful and productive members of society. They deserve every opportunity to succeed that we can afford them. For those struggling with language, coherence, comprehension, and teamwork, the Oval Office is not the right place for them.