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Politics & Current Affairs

The Latest Wedge Issue Dividing the U.S.? Spelling.

A series of spelling errors has educated Trump opponents laughing.

The presidential election of 2016 exposed fractures — really, more like chasms — between various groups of U.S. citizens. Of particular note is the division between those with or without college degrees, as cited by the Pew Report:

College graduates backed Clinton by a 9-point margin (52%-43%), while those without a college degree backed Trump 52%-44%. This is by far the widest gap in support among college graduates and non-college graduates in exit polls dating back to 1980.

At its heart, this is a form of class warfare, with each side considering themselves superior to the other, and it’s unfortunately not going away any time soon, it would appear. The latest battlefront in this American-on-American battle? Spelling.

Look, it’s definitely the case that some people love and care more about words than others. Not all educated people are good spellers, and not all people without a degree are bad spellers. This is even truer when it comes down to raw intelligence vs. one’s level of education, since that can also be reflective of simply being able to afford college.

Having said that, the good spellers are having a field day with how frequently the Trump White House cnt spll. For them — FULL DISCLOSURE: and me — it’s hilarious. (Also horrifying, especially considering that most of the administration’s staff is highly educated and bad at it anyway.)

The fun started gaining steam after controversial Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took control and maybe showed how “seriously” her Department of Education would be taking spelling (and competent proofreading). Which is to say, not.

Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. – W.E.B. DeBois

— US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017

The correct spelling of the man’s last name is “DuBois.” It's doubly embarrassing since an administration accused of being out of touch with black voters doesn't seem know how to spell this venerated black man's name.

When they were called on this error, the Dept of Ed. apologized. Badly.

Er, that should be “apologies,” not “apologized.” 

It’s not like this started with DeVos’ confirmation. In a way she’s simply following the leader. Just after being inaugurated, President Trump shared this tweet, which has since been graded by a Twitter follower, possibly a third-grade teacher.

— mrs mullen (@mrsmullenjr) January 21, 2017

At least he's confident about the future, or so says his new official presidential poster (is that a thing?):


Trump’s been making spelling mistakes for quite some time, though to be fair, many of them have likely been typos in messages written in the heat of the moment, which is what Twitter’s for, after all. Nonetheless, The Daily News has compiled a list of them if you’re interested.

Given what the less educated consider the condescending view of the educated “elite,” the delight we word mavens are taking at the Trump team’s misspellings is likely to be viewed as just more arrogance. Still, sorrynotsorry. But we shouldn’t really take it too seriously since bad spelling doesn’t really equate to stupidity (nor does shoddy proofreading). But it remains the case that for some of us, it sure is fun even as it reminds us of how far we have yet to go as Americans in learning to respect one another.

DISCLAIMER: For obvious reasons, I’ve been extra careful with my spelling and proofing here. If you find any mistakes, have a laugh on me.


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