Every once in a while I have a discussion with my thirties-something son about politics. My intelligent and thoughtful son has observed that a divide has risen among evangelical Christians regarding Donald Trump as president. Generations below my own apparently do not understand why conservative Christians enthusiastically support Mr. Trump. He seems to repel many. They see straight through the person and see the purity issue failures in his past. And they see any evangelical support of him as blatant hypocrisy. My son (any many in his age group) are really curious (and somewhat appalled) why Christians would openly embrace or support such a person?
Right away in our discussion I made it known that I’ve never personally liked the individual holding the highest office in our land right now. The man doesn’t embody the type of person that I would ever admire, especially as a 3 times husband and father from multiple marriages. It’s an odd mix of liberal social thought coupled with seemingly solid family units. 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 mid-life off the rails and somehow found his way back to the tracks?
The businessman turned president has traveled for years in circles with rich and famous globally. He’s rubbed elbows with elite and powerful folks all of his adult life. As a reality TV show host he displayed his brash and bold business style and 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 makes 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 to ourselves. Yet he uses his infamous tweets to springboard his ideas into our media frenzied society. His bully pulpit is employed on a daily basis to stir the pot. I’ve always said that he lights the firecracker and then enjoys watching his detractors run and squeal like wounded animals. I think he fuels current debate topics and then while everyone is all stirred up he moves on to make some other deal. He just messes with his critical audience and toys with them incessantly.
Yet Donald the businessman appeals to people with big money because he provides them places to visit and enjoy. From fabulous golf resorts to fancy hotels in exotic locations throughout the world he aims to please and is rewarded handsomely for his efforts. And the people who visit his properties aren’t the ones of society that are concerned with the cost. They are ones looking for the opulent choice. Such places might be a dream to mainstream America because they (we) will never have the chance to be one of his valued customers. Most of us are way out of his class and thought processes.
But Mr. Trump has found a friend in rural and much of urban America. And one reason I think he has gotten this support is that he is not afraid of poking people in the eye for what many of us see as injustices. He calls people out. He shoots from the hip and says what many were already thinking. He has a way of relating to people in the sphere of mainstream America. He appears to “get” how they are feeling and masterfully taps into that with his folksy off-script events. He energizes his crowds more than we’ve seen in generations. They are lock-step with him, flaws and all.
He is a capitalist in the truest sense. Capitalism is freedom in its truest form. One major greatness of America comes from our individualist freedom. If you can think up a product or service in America, which others might need or enjoy, you have the freedom to create such a business and make a nice profit, if you do it well. Birthing solid profitable businesses creates a positive ripple effects that spew profit and jobs to many in that downhill flow.
When we elect someone to public office it is natural for any prospective voter to review every aspect of a candidate’s life and background. We size them up to see if we like who they are as people. We also evaluate them (rightfully so) on the merits of what they might bring to the table in skills and expertise and based on the office that they will hold. But in the case of Donald Trump we find that his willingness to take on the status quo (in both parties) appeals to many who at just tired of the political gamesmanship that’s been part of our landscape WAY too long. If we truly embrace a capitalist way of life the office of the presidency does leads 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. But we elect someone to preside and command, not lead a Christian congregation as a pastor would. When he was elected, I rather doubted that he would embrace conservative values and programs at all. My greatest hope after his election was the possibility that he’d have the chance to re-balance the Supreme Court. He did follow that path and his choices so far have kept the court from straying too far left. In my humble opinion, the balance of the court was the most important aspect of the 2016 election. opinion.
It is my belief that evangelical believers have been watching closely to see if this president really supports conservative values by his actions, and not just his words. So far he’s done that bidding in big ways. Those same Christians would never exhibit such tactics as in their pursuit of change. But I think Trump’s personality seems to be viewed like Goliath facing and taking down a lot of the the 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. Some say it’s the lesser of two evils. As I told my son, I just don’t see anyone on the left side of this equation that has plan or ability to take our country in a way that I can positively embrace. So for the time being this right-wing social conservative deplorable will stay in the basket with a flawed guy who seems oddly enough wanting to make America conservative and Christian again.