Okay, I gots something on my mind…and fair warning, it’s about politics.
As I grow older, I never thought I’d become one of those dudes that says, “I never thought I’d see the day when…[fill in the blank].” You know the type–the geezers that sit around and complain about the changes in world they live in, as compared to the world that they grew up in, and pine for the good old days.
But I have to say, this election year has got me saying this more and more–if not out loud, than at least to myself.
Over the past 7 years or so, I’ve basically become apolitical–not because I don’t believe certain things strongly, but because the whole political system had become such a circus that there was never a candidate on either side that I felt I could get behind. Also, moving to Denver from an extremely red state was a very healthy move overall, because it got me outside the bubble and at least showed me there are a few other ways of looking at the world. I needed a break from the stress and angst. So I took a break.
But when you look at the political landscape surrounding this presidential election, it really makes it almost impossible to be neutral. And while I still don’t officially support any candidate, it’s easy to see that our country is at a crossroads I honestly never considered that we might come to. It may be fun/annoying to watch the circus from the sidelines, but the truth is, we could be in a world of hurt if we vote in the wrong person–or dare I say, from a more spiritual standpoint, if God gives us the President we probably deserve.
At the very least, this is truly an election of firsts. And I find myself saying…well, you know. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
I never thought I’d see the day…when most of the front-running presidential candidates were anti-establishment.
I never thought I’d see the day…when it was even a remote possibility in America that voters might be choosing between a socialist on one side, and a fascist on the other.
I never thought I’d see the day…when the one candidate who has made the biggest circus out of the political system would have garnered enough support to be a serious contender for President. I thought our political system had safeguards in place to prevent this sort of thing.
I never thought I’d see the day…when the evangelical church at large would throw its support behind the fascist candidate.
I never thought I’d see the day…when some of the most prominent Christian leaders of our generation–preachers I grew up admiring and following–would also be actively supporting the fascist, to the point of urging Christians to pray that God makes him our President.
To be more even more specific on the last two points–I never thought I’d see the day when said Christians, and said church leaders, would support a morally bankrupt, misogynistic, racist man for President.
Conversely, I never thought I’d see the day…when out of the whole pack of candidates, the one candidate who actually acts the most like Christ is the socialist candidate.
That’s right. I never thought I’d see the day…when I, a lifelong conservative and Republican-leaning voter, would actually be considering voting for the most liberal candidate in the pack–the socialist–as a matter of principle.
See what I mean? The whole thing, the entire system, has been turned on its ear this election season. No one could have predicted this.
THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD THING (BELIEVE IT OR NOT)
One thing I will say about this whole scenario is that it is testing this country in a way I’ve never seen. You see, when things get turned upside-down, it exposes what lies beneath. This situation is revealing the underlying corruption behind the political system, and it is revealing the true motives and weaknesses of people’s hearts. It’s scary to watch, but this might actually be a good thing in the long run.
Think about this for a moment. On the Democratic side, you have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary–a senator, former Secretary of State and former First Lady–is by far the most “establishment” candidate in the field right now, while Bernie is the “dark horse.” Consider the fact that Bernie Sanders has garnered the largest wave of grassroots support ever seen in this nation, without the assistance of corporate backers or lobbies (whom he outright rejects as corrupt). Hillary is the obvious darling party candidate–the most experienced, the most middle-of-the-road politically, and potentially the first woman to be voted into the highest office in the land–and yet, the old white guy is actually giving her a run for her big corporate money. Even so, it’s remarkable to watch how the media outlets (who are also corporate owned) are bending over backwards to spin Hillary Clinton as the shoo-in for the Democratic nominee; to watch how hard the political system itself is leaning its weight towards Hillary and against Bernie; how many instances of voter tampering have been documented, as well as exposing the unfairness of the “superdelegate” rules on the Democrat side of the process. Because the system is in upheaval, the underlying powers that usually work behind the scenes to manipulate the voting process are now having to be less and less subtle as they desperately try to get Hillary into office.
Now, let’s look at the Republican side. [Takes a deep breath…]
At this point, every candidate that the Republican Party itself has tried to groom as the establishment choice is now out of the running. Besides the straggler Kasich, the Republican Party must now choose between Ted Cruz (the far-right Tea Party candidate) and Donald Trump (the brash charlatan/circus clown). It’s not pretty to watch. The Tea Party guy is one of the most disliked people personality-wise in the whole circus, while the Fascist guy rants, raves, blisters and incites violence without actually saying anything. While the Democratic candidates were actually talking about the issues last week, the Republican candidates were trading insults and dragging one another’s wives into the mud. But I digress.
Ignoring the previous observation…considering what the two Republican candidates do stand for, you would think the choice of the evangelical church would be Ted Cruz. Apart from his Tea Party economics (which are more about economics than the Bible itself), Cruz is a known Christian and stands on the platform of morality that the Church in America tends to support. In short, Ted Cruz is the candidate most like the evangelical church–personality and all. (He even acts “pastoral” on stage, if that’s a thing.) You’d think the Church would be head over heels for him.
And yet, inexplicably, an alarming amount of Christians and Christian leaders are overwhelmingly supporting Trump. Trump, the circus candidate. The guy whom psychologists openly label a narcissist. The guy who constantly makes sexist remarks, and is even on record for some lewd comments about his own daughter. The guy who has openly manipulated the laws of the government for his own gain. The guy who claims he has never asked God for forgiveness for anything in his life. The guy who proposes racial profiling at a level not seen since Hitler’s Germany…
Need I continue? There is NOTHING that Donald Trump says, believes in, proposes or promotes that is anywhere near consistent with the teachings of the church, much less the teachings of Christ Himself. So WHY are so many Christians (including televangelists and mega-church pastors) throwing their support behind him?
I know this is going to rile up some Christians, but to revisit my last point–people’s hearts are being exposed.
Based on what I’ve observed and heard, I can only see three reasons why anyone (including Christians) would support Donald Trump: anger, fear or greed. People are angry because they feel the government has failed them, and they are afraid of what will happen if the establishment continues to have its way. Many are also afraid a more liberal president would disrupt their wealth through taxation–which ties in to greed. I’m not sure that it’s that people actually believe in the principles Donald Trump stands for (because he doesn’t seem to have any principles); rather, they are voting him in as the foil–the wrench they can throw into the cogs of the machine. People are in the mood to disrupt the system, and they see Trump as the highest-profile “disruptor” they can find. So they conveniently ignore the fact that he bellows and blusters and says nothing during his speeches; they turn a blind eye to the provocative, un-Christlike things he says and does; they look the other way at his offhanded remarks about “punching people in the face” and pretend that the actual violence that has erupted in his events is completely unrelated.
And that’s the other underbelly that’s being exposed here: the selfishness, greed, blindness and hypocrisy that sadly run rampant in the church. And if I can be even more blunt–it’s exposing some of the corruption within the ministry itself, because I think some of the televangelists who are supporting Trump have conducted themselves remarkably like him behind the scenes.
So…if the underbelly is being exposed, that may be a good thing that can ultimately bring change. But that doesn’t mean we’re not playing a very dangerous game here.
TOTAL DISRUPTION IS DANGEROUS.
I get the whole thing about disrupting the system. But folks–not this way.
Not. This. Way.
If you are a Christian (or anyone else) supporting Trump, please, PLEASE consider this: throwing a wrench into the machine may sound noble, even romantic, but this is a four-year commitment we’re talking about. When Trump plays on people’s anger and fear in his speeches, he is appealing to the darker parts of human nature, not the parts that are Christlike, in order to do so.
I know people don’t like the references people make to Hitler, but it isn’t so much that Donald Trump is another Hitler (he’s not as smart as Hitler was, in my own opinion). The REAL issue is that Trump is playing the same game that Hitler did in order to come to power. Hitler rose to prominence in a time of extreme dissatisfaction in Germany, and he did so by playing to the people’s anger and fear. And when he showed his true colors–people looked the other way, including the Christians who lived in Germany. The result: the Holocaust.
Has history taught us nothing? Even if Trump isn’t capable of the same types of atrocities as Hitler, the fact is this man has no experience in delicate or volatile matters of foreign policy, and his own financial past is shady at best. Are we really ready to turn a bull loose in a china shop? Are we really willing to risk our country’s future just to make some kind of statement? As much as we might dislike the other candidates, and indeed the system itself, do we really want a President who not only has no idea what he’s doing, but who is highly unlikely to listen for the voice of God?
And so, feeling powerless, I pray. I pray that God will be merciful and give us the President we need, not the one we deserve.
At this point, believe it or not, no one is a shoo-in, despite how the press might spin it. Not even Trump at this point can claim the Republican nomination yet. (This commentary in The Politico crunches the numbers.) So there’s still time to wise up and turn this around in some way.
Who do I personally recommend? At this point, sadly, my motto is “Anyone But Trump.” Seriously. The way I see it, despite ideological differences, America could survive with any of the other candidates. But Trump at the helm could cause us some unbelievable problems, including some from which we might never recover. I once thought an Obama presidency would be dangerous. I think a Trump presidency could be far worse.
As to the rest…as I alluded to before, when I look at the pool of candidates, the one who is currently acting the most Christlike among them is…gasp…Bernie Sanders. I don’t agree with all of what he says or believes, and I don’t necessarily like the fact that we might lean more socialist as a country (although it’s a safer bet than fascism). But there are two things you can say about Bernie Sanders: 1) He has never flip-flopped in what he says or believes; and 2) he acts according to his principles. That represents an integrity that the other candidates (including Cruz) have not exhibited, and despite the obvious attempts the media is making to downplay him, Sanders’ genuineness and common-sense remarks are drawing tens of thousands of people to his rallies. No one thought at the beginning that he would be a contender, but now it’s apparent even Hillary is worried. While Trump is resonating with people’s fear and anger in a negative way, Bernie seems to be offering real solutions that are appealing to people’s better nature–even if his policies are more liberal than my personal liking.
My mind is not made up, nor do I think someone like Bernie would be a permanent solution–but if we’re going to vote in a foil for the system, Sanders would be a safer foil than Trump. By miles and miles.
I never thought I’d see the day that I’d say something like that. But here we are.
P.S. I realize this is a hot-button topic, and even I have resorted to ranting a bit…but I’ll still ask for some self-restraint in the comments. I’ve got no problem with opposing opinions, but no personal attacks against anyone will be tolerated. Comments are moderated as usual; if they get too mean, I’ll just turn them off. Just so you know. 🙂