I write this from a studio in the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, where I’m conducting research during my sabbatical.
It has been nice to be wondering around old-growth Douglas-firs, Western Redcedars, Pacific Yews and Western Hemlocks during the final weeks of the election campaign. Soothing. Unfortunately, it’s elk hunting season here, and the jacket I brought for rainy days, of which we’ve had many up here, is moss-green.
I took a badly needed day off yesterday, and drove into town to do some shopping. On the top of my list was to purchase an orange safety vest so that elk hunters wouldn’t mistake me for prey. REI didn’t have any such vests, however, and they sent me across town to Cabella’s which caters to a different sort of outdoor recreation.
I was the only customer in Cabella’s not wearing camo! And most of the customers were crowded over at the gun counters where they had to take a number and wait to get called. Over at the clothing section I asked the sales clerk whether they were having a sale on weapons. He replied, “No, those folks are buying guns today because the FBI just decided not to indict Hillary Clinton.”
I decided I’d better catch up on the news.
There’s an article in this morning’s New York Times titled, “Trump’s Big Bet on Less Educated Whites.” The premise here is that people who did not attend college are far more likely to vote for Trump than those who attended. Poll data is shown on a half-dozen charts to back up this premise. The data seem convincing.
I do not write this morning to encourage readers to vote one way on another. But I observe that one of the major differences between the two campaigns is in terms of how they balance fact and emotion. This divergence has led to speculation among the pundits that we may be in store for a “post-fact presidency,” where all that matters is the level of anger experienced by the electorate.
As someone who has engaged in both secondary and post-secondary education over the course of my career, let me point out that the significant difference between what is taught in high school and what is taught in college falls in the realm of what we call “critical thinking skills.” Developmentally, you can get a lot further in that regard with twenty-year olds than with teenagers.
Could it be that our electorate is being divided between those with advanced critical thinking skills, and those without? If so, you may want to thank a college professor come election day.
Or head to Cabella’s.
Journal of Natural Hist. Ed.
Natural History Institute
Center for Humans & Nature