I still try for objectivity with students where possible. For example, while Trump’s public statements provide seemingly endless examples of logical fallacies, he need not be singled out since there is no shortage of logic-contorting politicians.

Trump, however, is peerless when it comes to the rhetorical derangements — the petty insults, the whining self-pity, the threats — he spews from his mouth and his Twitter account. He is not the first ill-tempered or foul-mouthed leader with a bully’s penchant for vulgarity and cruelty in private, and one could argue that outing the outrages is more honest. But as an educator, as someone who tries to encourage young people to be civil and respectful, in a community where disrespect gets people killed, I am concerned about the accumulating effect on students of seeing and hearing someone of such high office stooping so low.

Most of my students tell me they try to ignore the president — his rhetoric, his outbursts, his policies. Consequently, they end up ignoring politics in general. I have always tried to convince students that understanding the world is the first step toward making it a better place. But for many of my students, living on Planet Trump has encouraged ignorance as the only reliable alternative to outrage and despair.