Not a wise move

Dear President Trump,

I used to work for someone who studied different types of intelligence and depending on the website, the “real” number of types is apparently seven, eight, or nine. I thought looking at his model might help me understand how Elizabeth Warren could have created such an incredibly smart and well-developed nationwide political infrastructure and also have blundered into such a dumb tussle with you over her ancestry. Alas, the types of intelligence in the model aren’t nuanced enough to discriminate between these two things. They probably both fall under “interpersonal” (the other eight in the nine version of the model are intrapersonal, existential, kinetic, linguistic, spatial, naturalist, musical, mathematical/ logical). I suppose her mathematical/logical intelligence failed her too; even if she thought she could out-bait you, she should’ve realized that the proportion of her DNA indicating Native American ancestry is so vanishingly small, it was absurd for her to go public with it.

The handy poster of the model I found says that those with strong interpersonal intelligence are able to sense people’s feelings and motives. However, neither this form of intelligence nor any of the others listed talk about being able to anticipate the consequences of one’s actions or likely future events. This seems like a massive oversight since one needs to be able to read all sorts of situations, including political ones, skillfully so as not to stumble into dumb-ass territory that’s going to leave you looking like a fool. Being able to read motives helps, but it’s not enough. Maybe the cutesy poster just isn’t adequately conveying the model.

Regardless, Warren should have anticipated that you wouldn’t ever graciously acknowledge her Native American ancestry on the basis of any DNA test. She should have known your hench-people would pile on and that no one else would rush to defend her 1/64th to 1/1,024th-ness as the real deal. She also should have recognized that you were pushing her special button and that buying into your divisive rhetoric would be extremely unhelpful. Maybe she’ll be able to right herself, but she’s in a very deep hole and she gave you the shovel.

May we be safe from our reactive, defensive urges.
May we be happy to ignore those who bait us and focus on things that matter.
May we develop healthy insights into likely downstream effects from our choices.
May we make peace with reality and stop trying to battle you on your terms.

Tracy Simpson

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