Somewhere or other not long ago I was asked to state my political position. I wrote “Amish”. It was an indication that I’m not really a political animal. I am naturally suspicious of all politicians and being realistic about human nature, I can’t imagine any politician going into that murky profession for anything other than ambitious self interest.
Yes, on a good day I can hope that there are some people out there we used to call “public servants” who dedicate their lives,like Jimmy Stewart, in Mr Smith Goes to Washington to serving their fellow Americans. I think it more likely that, at best, politicians serve with mixed motives: wanting to perhaps serve at least the people who voted them in, but finding it difficult to avoid the temptations of power.
So what do I think of Donald Trump? I think pretty much the same about him as all the other politicians. The only thing different is that his ambition, lying, lust and power grabs are more obvious. He’s a street fighter, a bruiser and he doesn’t hide it. Ironically, that’s actually one thing I like about him. In a world of duplicitous, slick and self righteous Mitt Romney’s, Trump is obvious. Think Trump as a pit bull and Romney as one of those highly groomed poodles.
If I don’t like Donald Trump, I really don’t like the folks the Democrats have at the helm. Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi? Buttigieg and Warren? the “squad”? Yuck!
What worries me most about Donald Trump and the whole political drama in the USA (and most other places too for that matter) is that there seems to be so little objective analysis and criticism. You either join the MAGA crowd and find every reason to adore Donald Trump or you’re an enemy. Likewise, if you are one of the Trump haters you must find it impossible to admit that he and his administration have done anything good at all. No objective analysis? There’s not even an attempt at objective analysis. If you suggest to the Trump haters that he may have made some smart moves and done some good things they throw you into the MAGA crowd. If you suggest to the MAGA crowd that perhaps Donald Trump is (like every politician) a lying, two faced, hypocrite who will do anything to win votes they’ll throw you to the Democrats and accuse you of loving Hillary Clinton.
The simple truth is I think Donald Trump is an ambitious, vain, and self interested man. However, I think he is street smart, very canny and has made some positive decisions. I’m sorry he’s the only alternative to whoever the Democrats put up, but there it is. While I think he’s done some good things, I can also point out the bad things. He mouths allegiance to the pro life cause, but he’s continued to fund Planned Parenthood. Like every other “pro life” president he’s talked the talk and that’s it. He also talks about “bringing our boys home” and disentangling us from foreign wars but we see little evidence. Instead he’s ramped up military spending to a colossal level and brags about it.
I worry that most Americans have no idea how militarily powerful our country already is. We outrank every other nation many times over in our military might, our equipment, manpower and technology. We dominate the globe with the speed and might of our military and yet president after president continues to brag about how “we need to re-build our military might.”
So we have a president who is a mixture of good and bad, a flawed human being and for many an unattractive specimen. What are you going to do about it? This year you have the chance to elect another ambitious, flawed person to be the most powerful man or woman in the world. Good luck with that.
What interests me more is why we are so uncritical and divided. I believe it is because of the creeping tyranny of relativism. Many in our nation have abandoned the authority of the Scriptures and the Church. They have lost faith in the religious authorities and relativism has eroded the very idea of truth.
But people can’t live like that. They cannot live in a vacuum without truth. Therefore, in the lack of religious belief and religious authority they will look for another prophet. They will look for another Christ. They will look for another leader. History shows that this hunger for a leader, this hunger fort certainty, this hunger for something to give life meaning and some tribe to belong to is very strong in our hearts and minds. In the absence of religious belief and belonging, humanity will seek that certainty in a political leader.
This is what I find disturbing about the huge MAGA crowds. It is not necessarily that Donald Trump who is up there, but the people who need to adore him. This is the core problem, and should Donald Trump disappear from the scene you can bet your bottom dollar that another similarly despotically inclined person will step up to take his place. That person may be right wing or left wing. Whoever he is, he will (as Trump has done successfully) tap this deeper instinct in the human heart to follow a leader, belong to a tribe and cling to self affirming certainties.
That’s what I find so disconcerting and why I step back from all politicians regarding them with healthy suspicion.
This merges with my own faith because, from an early age, I was taught that this world is not my home. I’m just passing through. The powers and politics of this world are similarly passing. History shows that empires come and go. Presidents and potentates rise and fall. All of this will pass away.
But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore do not be led astray by false teachers. (Heb. 13:8)