Every once in a while I have a discussion with my thirties-something son about politics. This intelligent and thoughtful man child has observed that there’s a divide among evangelical Christians regarding Donald Trump as commander in chief. Apparently generations below my own do not understand why conservative Christians enthusiastically support Mr. Trump. They looks straight through the person and see all of the purity issue failures in his past. They also observe evangelical support of him as blatant hypocrisy. My son (and many in his age group) are curious (and somewhat appalled) why a true Christian would openly embrace or support such a person?
Early in our discussion I made it known that I’ve never personally liked the individual holding the highest office in our land now. This person behind the office doesn’t embody the type of person that I would ever admire. A 3 time husband and father with multiple marriages and likely affairs he doesn’t embody the kind of man I would befriend or admire. He’s an odd mix of liberal social thought coupled with a seemingly solid current family unit. Perhaps the man closed the book on his playboy lifestyle some time ago and settled into being a committed husband and father? Maybe he lived his early and middle life off the rails and then somehow found his way back to the tracks?
This businessman turned president has traveled in circles with the rich and famous globally. He’s rubbed elbows with elite and powerful people all of his adult life. As a reality TV show host he displayed his brash and bold business style. He made many of us cringe to think we would ever have such a boss who would fire people on a whim.
He is a mover and a shaker. He’s made things happen in the business world that few could ever claim. And he brags about it. Most of us were taught to keep our bragging rights to ourselves. He uses his infamous tweets to springboard his ideas into our media frenzied society. I said early in his presidency that he lights a firecracker with his words and then while the critics and pundits rail on for days he moves on to the next item on his list while the arguments ensue. His bully pulpit really stirs the pot. He enjoys lighting the firecracker and then watching his detractors run and squeal. He fuels a debate and then while everyone is all stirred up he moves on to make another deal.
Donald the businessman appeals to people with big money because he provides them places to visit and enjoy. With fabulous golf resorts and fancy hotels in exotic locations he pleases the wealthy nicely and is rewarded handsomely for his efforts. The people who are able to visit his properties aren’t concerned with the cost. They are the ones looking for the opulent choice. Such places might be a dream to mainstream America because they (we) might never have the opportunity to be one of his customers.
Mr. Trump has found a friend in rural and urban America. One reason I think he has gotten this grassroots support is that he is not afraid of poking people in the eye for what many of us see as injustice. He sees the status quo as stale and outdated. In business and international affairs he ferrets out bad deals and shatters them. He calls people out. He shoots from the hip and says what many were already thinking. His way of relating to the common man in America is unique in modern politics. He appears to “get” how many are feeling and masterfully taps into that with a folksy off-script style. He draws and energizes crowds more than we’ve seen in generations. And his audiences are lock-step with him, flaws and all.
He is a capitalist to the core. Capitalism is freedom – in its truest sense. Individualist freedom is what made America great from the beginning. We were given the opportunity to create and live and thrive by a group of people who had been under bondage. They paved the road of independence and we traveled that road. If you think up a product or service which others might need or enjoy, you have the freedom to create a business and if you do it well, you can soar.
When we elect someone to public office it is natural prospective voters to review every aspect of a candidate’s life and background. They are sized up to see if we like who they are as people. We also (rightfully so) evaluate them on the merits of what they might bring to the table in skills and expertise, based on the office they will hold. We do no elect a president as if we are choosing a pastor, priest or rabbi.
In the case of Donald Trump we find his willingness to take on the status quo (in both parties). That appeals to many who are tired of political gamesmanship, that’s been part of our landscape WAY too long. If capitalism is something we embrace then the office of the presidency should lead the charge for business, whether we like it or not.
Trump may not be my candidate of choice based on my social or personal view of him. We elect someone to preside and command. When he was elected in 2016 I rather doubted that he would embrace conservative values and programs. My greatest hope from his election was the hope and possibility that he’d be able to re-balance the Supreme Court. Gladly he did follow that path and his choices kept the court from straying too far left. In my opinion, the balance of the court was the most important aspect of the 2016 election, period.
It’s my belief that evangelical believers have been watching closely to see if this president really supports conservative values by actions, and not just words. So far he’s done that bidding in big ways. Those same watching Christians would never employ his tactics in own their pursuit of change. I think Trump’s personality seems to be viewed like a Goliath facing and taking down Giants in the political arena (on both sides).
Underdogs seem to find a strong friend in Donald Trump.
So we are left with a choice. As I told my son, I just don’t see anyone on the other side side of our political spectrum promoting hopeful or encouraging plans that would lead our country that I can positively embrace. So for the time being this right-wing social conservative deplorable will stay in his basket with a flawed guy who oddly enough wants to make America conservative and Christian again.