My Honest View of Faith vs. Trump

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.

Life Was SO Much Simpler

Life was so much simpler – when we were less informed.

With the advent of social media and electronic delivery of news, we are instantly aware of things that would have taken hours, days or even months to filter down to us. Life (as we used to know it) moved at a slower and happier pace. Reaction times to news or events barely crawled along. We had to roll out the morning paper or listen to morning radio or TV to hear about national or world events. Things took time to soak in. Once things were known interactions between people happened face to face or voice to voice. Discussions were had around the water cooler or in the break room. We interacted with one another on a person to person level. We were a much more tolerable people because of that. Interactions with friends, co-workers or relatives included every other aspect of life, and not just about the most recent political scandal or salacious affair in Hollywood. We were rounded in our dialogue.

Today the war of words is hateful, spiteful and full of half-truth and innuendo. No longer do we spar or duke things out with multiple rounds to determine the clear winner. Both parties of any argument people now go for the jugular within seconds. We don’t talk things out with honest conversation or debate. We pass judgment immediately based on “clear” lines of distinction. Those differences are usually spelled out with two simple letters – D or R. If you are a D you are labeled immediately as a wacko left-wing commie radical with not an ounce of patriotism in your body. If you find yourself with an R next to your name you are branded as a right-wing extremist bible-thumping gun-toting intolerant hater who thinks refugees should be pushed off of the boat.

In the real world both sides have a handful of people that go to the extreme in their views (left or right). But for the most part our society has a mix of ideas and values that make us land somewhere  between those two dreaded letters. A distinct problem with social media (and instant messaging) is the fact that whoever is the quickest, sharpest and craftiest deliver a stinging message that’s portrayed as pure and honest fact.  The ones who get the most attention are those who yell a quick unverified half-truth, peppered with underlying deceit and deception.

Political correctness has gone amuck. If you dare say anything about race, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or anything that is a social hot point you risk your fortune in a matter of hours. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true or moral. It only matters that you have no right to inject your belief system, especially if it steps on toes of any special interest group. And those “special” groups garner less than 5% of our entire people group.

I consider myself a technical progressive. And that’s a feat for someone my age (early sixties). Many of my peers have only given up their flip phones after the carrier no longer supported their dated technology. I am all for the latest and greatest wireless remote applications that automate everything. I’m waiting for the day that an app can buy, season, cook, and hand feed my food to me (that day is coming!).

But how can we roll back the information age to a saner, kinder and gentler time?