What does the average person know? Basic Arithmetics


Trumpulator by Tim Tang@arcade28.com

I hope it’s not a stretch to say numbers and basic arithmetic serves some purpose in the world today.

We could use it for shopping, counting our fingers or writing BOOBS on a calculator. Strangely enough presumptive GOP candidate for presidency, multi-billionaire and talking can of tomato juice, Donald Trump, seems to fudge the numbers more than cocaine addicts in the accounting department. And all he has to do is count or add or look at numbers for a short duration. Perhaps he can’t do it just counting his vienna-sausage fingers, but he could at least write it down on a piece of paper.

Throughout his campaign Trump has answered the conservatives cry for anti-immigration by proposing to build a concrete wall on the Mexican border. However, he has never been able to procure a consistent number. On 15 September 2015 CNN reported that Trump could make the wall at 4 billion dollars. 8 November 2015 on NBC he claimed it would cost “7 or 8 billion dollars maybe.” And then on 27 February 2016 Trump said on Fox News that it would cost  “10 or 12 billion dollars maybe.” The cost has tripled since he first proposed the massive wall to the general public. If your estimates were off by a third in a spaceship’s trajectory, and you were Bruce Willis, you might be watching your daughter die back on earth with that douchebag Ben Affleck. It’s important to take the figures seriously because this is a grand proposal amid a trillion dollar debt.

Under the penumbra of the debt Republicans have been reluctant to help veterans, blocking bills such as Veterans Job Corp Act in 2012, which would allocate 20,000 public jobs in their communities, at a cost of 1 billion dollars a year; Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act in 2014, which provided fertility and counseling for severely wounded veterans and their spouses; and Veterans Affair Funding in 2015, a provision which would provide 1.4 billion dollars to veteran services but was rejected by Majority Leader of senate Mitch McConnell, and an estimated 70,000 veterans weren’t able to receive the needed care. Republicans must have confused the veterans with empty coke bottles and thought they could be returned in the same condition that they were sold in. With all of these impediments, any kind of donations would help veterans.

With the imminent general election, Trump is trying to appeal to this demographic but his numbers tell a different story. Wall Street Journal reported that veterans didn’t see the 4 billion dollars raised at charity fundraising event in January. The newspaper contacted 19 of the 22 veteran’s charities to discover only 2.4 million out of 6 million dollars was distributed. Trump’s only response to these allegations was the same manner you would tell a prostitute after a night of whiskey dick: he called a reporter “a sleaze.” But since reporters have been exacerbating the issue on veterans, donations have been appearing suddenly. For anything to happen, it seems you have to be that obnoxious math teacher who watches over little Frankie’s shoulder to get him to find the product in the orders of operation: “Focus, Frank. Focus. Remember. PEMDAS. Please. Excuse. My. Dear. Aunt. Sally.”

But if numbers are beholden to currency and wealth, then Trump has fortitude, maintaining his wealth despite screwing over prospective business students with Trump University, which is being reviewed by the courts now for fraud, and screwing over investors for a hotel in Florida in where Trump Jr. admitted in the deposition that “I don’t know if [the Trump name] brings stability or viability but I imagine certain people feel that.” But let’s not marry math to business. Despite what your hippy language arts teacher, with a “specialty” in poetry and rose-tinted eye glasses, tells you, flowery sink-detergent language isn’t the only way you can foster empathy. Math can achieve the same effects without going through the awakening of disillusion, thinking things like, “Oh, Carol, while you were helping sick people in Africa, I was feeling like shit whittling these haikus for you.”

Last week President Barack Obama visited Japan in commemoration of the victims of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, calling for an anti-nuclear weapon campaign, mourning the dead, and reflecting on a “terrible force”: “Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become” (New York Times).  Trump spurns Obama for not mentioning Pearl Harbor in a Tweet: “Does Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he’s in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost? #MDW,” garnering 7,400 retweets and 17,000 likes, (Japan Times, Johnson). Trump reminds us the villains the Japanese people were 7 December 1941 who raided the naval base in a “sneak attack.” Yet Obama’s intention was to mourn the dead, including “American soldiers” alongside the Japanese men and women. Trump mentions the number of lives in Pearl Harbor but doesn’t juxtapose it to the lives lost in Hiroshima. Approximately 2,000 people died in Pearl Harbor, and 180,000 people died in Hiroshima. That is ninety times more people who died in Japan. Both events occurred in a single day, and no one was aware of them. This lack of empathy for Japan could harm the US’s relationship with Japan.

Furthermore, Trump threatened to remove the US bases in Japan if Japan doesn’t pay the United States more money (Japan Times, Johnson). This is said amid a staggering economy. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rebuilding Japan’s military called the Collective Self-Defense, raising taxes to 10 percent by the end of 2016. Abe just redefined the Japanese constitution to rebuild their military in 2014, and just made provisions to assist the United States in foreign affairs, in example, help US troops without interruption from the Diet. Since the Treatise of San Francisco in 1951, around a time the United States bolstered Japan from falling into a crippling economy, the US and Japan have maintained a healthy relationship. Yet with an insensitive talking piece of corn like Trump, relationships could rot in a matter of a year. He neither understands empathy nor foreign affairs.

Numbers don’t seem significant for the billionaire, but let’s just take a moment to appreciate numbers and basic arithmetic, and why having your numbers in order is important: Shopping for groceries, writing dates, checking your speedometer, calculating your taxes… to name a few; and if your numbers aren’t in order, you could be in trouble for petty theft, slapped for forgetting your spouse’s birthday, arrested for felony, or again, arrested for felony on a separate charge. Many people look for a president that can communicate with the average person, and numbers, I believe, is a good place to begin.

John Tang
John Tang writes essays and fiction, and creates RPGs. He's also the production manager for Brev Spread. You can reach him at Queries@brevspread.com