President Trump. Has a ring to it, don’t you think?
To some of us, it sounds fascist. To other heroic. To almost all… a surprise!
This nation has been dividing up all my life. I was born in the Sixties, the most divisive decade since the Civil War 100 years before it. And while we managed to patch things up in the Seventies and Eighties, a lot of ugly passion seethed beneath the surface which started really boiling out around the edges all through the Nineties.
Remember “Reagan Democrats”? Yeah, that was part of the patch-up. But the haves and have-nots began growing wider apart. And though I was a baby and a small child during the Vietnam Era with all its impassioned protests, I grew to sympathize with the shrill rhetoric and the causes of Civil Rights for minorities and war protests. I could easily see the deep impact of a lying president Nixon who left in disgrace. And it SEEMED that the more liberal and democratic side of these issues held the right stance.
In fact, as a teenager, I was quite taken even with abortion rights. Aborting unwanted babies just made too much sense to me. Dispatch them while they don’t know any better, rather than invite them into a hostile world where they will be abused, neglected, and unwanted. I almost could have wished my mother had made that choice and spared me my pain, AND I HAD IT GOOD!
(BTW, I was probably 12 or 13 when I first encountered Freddie Mercury and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. At first it was such a strange song, but it quickly grew on me. And I can remember that line in it: I wish I had never been born at all! And I remember thinking suddenly that I was not alone in such thoughts!)
It was not until I reached adulthood, young though I was, that I encountered a very rational sounding woman speaking of LOVE and how deeply violated LOVE is when a mother kills her babies, and how there is no place for that in God’s design for his creation. That thought wormed its way into my paradigms for a long time before it took, but I came to embrace it eventually, and that was of course cause to question EVERYTHING else.
Then came Rush Limbaugh. Wow! Where did he come from??? He suddenly appeared on my late night TV with his flamboyant conservative politics. Not that he won me over, but he made sport of his political opponents with such ease and vigor and made them seem stupid. His contempt was contagious!!!
Eventually, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and took a job test driving GM cars and trucks on their proving ground. This put me in “conservative” country, alright, AND afforded me the opportunity to listen to “talk radio” for hours on end daily. I was young and growing up fast. I found Rush again, but by this time he had a plethora of cronies and my favorite was The Black Avenger – Ken Hamblin. But I was listening to G. Gordon Liddy the day he told us listeners to “aim for the head shot” if ATF or Federal Agents come to our door, because they wear body armor and that is the only way to kill them! This was hostile rhetoric was part of his conservative agenda, and it landed him in hot water, but I began to see how complicated these things really are while being treated with such contempt!
Were those Vietnam War protesters holding our nation and it’s war agenda in respect or contempt? (Now I gotta say, if you life is on the line, and the war is truly of no value, which that one seem even now to have been, then a shrill protest seems appropriate. And as for the Civil Rights Movement, it seems to me that the thing that set MLKjr apart from so many other protesters as well as whites is that he actually approached contempt with respect and a willingness to suffer death for the cause – which he ultimately did!)
But by the time I found myself voting against President Clinton in favor of Bob Dole, and championing a personal philosophy that taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions is warranted, I was beginning to also see that the political agenda I was supporting, though it lent itself to Pro Life, was often rather hawkish about war and promoted the death penalty shamelessly. (As I recall, anytime an execution was carried out in this country, The Black Avenger would play “Happy Trails” as a contemptuous parade of celebration at the death of someone.)
Where was that LOVE that woman had talked about when she began convincing me that abortion was wrong?
By the time I reached my 30’s, it was clear to me that I was neither liberal or conservative – at least not as a party brand. I had sympathies with each side, actually, and deep criticisms of both too. Somehow, I began formulating a Jesus politik, which is ever more complicated by the fact that he is KING over a supposed democracy, and he is rarely consulted except by some Evangelical types making a power-play in his name. Thus, his name has sadly become associated with a side! And for that I would warn you Evangelicals NOT TO TAKE THE LORD”S NAME IN VAIN!!!
No. Jesus, the real Jesus who cares for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, cares for both unborn babies AND death row inmates. He would care for the lives of our soldiers and sailors as well, but if the world really followed him rather than claim him for their misguided agendas, there would be PEACE by other means than by those of soldiers and sailors – AND it would be real peace (SHALOM) rather than pax!
And NOW I struggle (not unlike those of either side of America’s divide) to be true to the ideals!
Here is an over simplification that carries enough grain of truth in it to be useful for my argument: Republican/conservatives typically have the market of ideas cornered as far as LOVING God is concerned, while Democrat/liberals typically have the market of ideas cornered as far as LOVING our neighbor is concerned. (YES, I KNOW THERE ARE GLARING EXCEPTIONS TO THIS, but bare with me.) The rub here is that our system has driven a wedge between the two loves that should not be held apart! And when I try to join a side, I am ripped apart just along these lines.
How can I be true to the cause AND love my enemies?
I think there is a good chance doing that will get me killed, and for sure it will get me marginalized. But that happened to Jesus too, and he told us to expect it (John 15:18). I figure more than anything, my blog (and this post) will just go ignored right along with my best efforts, and to the extent that it gets heard, my closest friends and readers will “like” me and/or tolerate me. But if the message gets past that layer of friends very far, I figure it will encounter tribulation on all sides.
So, let me be clear at this point.
I did NOT vote for Clinton!
Nor did I want her to win. But likewise…
I did NOT vote for Trump!
Nor did I want him to win.
In fact, I did not vote at all! AND YET I WILL EXERCISE MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO COMPLAIN!!!
But even MORE importantly, I will do my best to seek peace in this situation. And I will do that today on this post by saying something nice – that most awkward of questions to come up in the debates which made both candidates nearly choke!
Here is what I can say FOR Trump today:
I am pleasantly surprised by the charitable rhetoric to come from him ever since the election results. He actually sounded peace-loving and charitable toward Hillary and even THANKED her for the service he previously attacked! Now, despite the fact that my neck is nearly broke from the whiplash, I wanted to see that attitude more from either candidate at the time, and now that we have it, I do not want it overshadowed by my disappointment and contempt!
I also really appreciate that Trump is an OUTSIDER messing up the establishment! Just because it rattles my cage too, does not mean I am against this aspect of his win. I like that both Republicans as well as Democrats find him unpredictable! I like that he shakes them all up! I would have appreciated Bernie’s style more, I think, but I am always praying to Jesus to come quickly and with great power to shake things up! And it is possible that Jesus, in his mighty and mysterious ways, is doing that THROUGH Trump now! Even though I am quite clear that this “Two Corinthians” quoting candidate has displayed his lack of respect for the Jesus who MIGHT use him anyway.
And these two observations give me hope. If you are a Republican/conservative reading here today, I hope you see that I am genuinely happy by your champion’s charitable rhetoric and by his OUTSIDER-getting-INSIDE status! I hope amazing things come of this! I JOIN you in that!
For those of you who are Democrat/liberal, I hope you see that I am dealing in irony and paradox to get here. I fully recognize that NOTHING about Trump the candidate was hopeful, and I hold him at arm’s length even now. But I invite you to give him this chance. You have nothing to lose by trying except the hostilities that you CAN ALWAYS return to any time you wish if he does not measure up in the end.
For all those independents who might read here, who like me were disgusted with the two choices we finally narrowed it all down to, but who perhaps voted anyway because you could not find another way to go forward without voting AGAINST a candidate (after all, these two were the least liked of any election ever held), I hope you join me in seeking peace and attempting to capitalize on it where ever it is to be found.
And to all, I hope you do this in Jesus’s Name, not Trump’s or Hillary’s. But move past contempt at least, lose with grace, lean on Jesus, and honor him with your whole self.