Please Note: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of all connected with Theology Mix.
The question now in the minds of many Americans is: Why would any seriously minded person, Christian or non-Christian, still vote for Donald Trump for President of the United States?
I can think of as many reasons as anyone else for not voting for Trump. There’s a new one every week. He’s very odd and profoundly different. He’s a spontaneous, shoot–from-the-hip cowboy, unlike any other candidate in American history. He is erratic, unpredictable, imprecise, inexperienced, insulting, crude, rude, and lewd, just to get started. The more we learn about him, the less qualified for the office he seems.
But let’s consider the election from a different angle.
Thus far, the focus has been on the two personalities before us. It’s difficult, for many even impossible, to decide between Trump and Clinton. It’s not that so much good can be said about both, it’s that so little good can be said about either. Whatever accusations can be leveled against one, can be matched with similar ones against the other. We are faced with the unhappy choice of either the wicked queen or the court jester. Or, as it was explained to me, you have a choice of two surgeons: one has done many surgeries, and all have died; the other watched General Hospital. And, barring some major turn of events, one or the other is destined to win.
We continue to hear the customary questions like: Do I like this person? Can I respect this candidate? Is he or she presidential? Is this my image of a president? But, in this extraordinary contest, perhaps for the first time in our memory, such questions appear completely beside the point. When the answer to such questions is, “I can’t stand either one,” then we need to shift our focus and look at deeper issues and long-term consequences.
The media has turned this election into a magic show. They’ve managed to create the illusion that this contest is about Trump or Clinton, while causing the serious realities to disappear altogether amidst the storm of controversy.
The personal characteristics, tragic moral and ethical flaws, checkered personal histories, and behavior patterns of both candidates—also the central topics of the raging debates now going on—have buried the personal worldviews and fundamental ideas (the core assumptions) that underlie and shape their particular ideas and policies. Even less is said about the practical results of these ideas that will affect every American. On the mainline media I’ve not heard a single discussion along these lines. But these seem to me to be the things that matter, not the likeability or respectability of either. As desirable as it is to like a candidate, this is clearly not a popularity or beauty contest, and truly admiring one candidate over another is no longer an option for many Americans.
If voting for the lesser of two evils bothers some people, then we need only remember that many of us have been doing that for quite some time. Politics in a fallen world rarely offers us the luxury of deciding between good and evil, moral and immoral; and holding our nose in the voting booth has become more the norm than the exception. As America more and more resembles the culture of Sodom, our candidates will inevitably reflect a depraved electorate, both outside and inside the church. There’s an old saying: “No leader is ever worse than the people who elected him.”
Let’s face it: if you like the ideas and policies (and results) of the last eight years, and you want more of it, then it’s a waste of time arguing about it. You’ve already made your choice. But if you’re convinced that we are moving rapidly in the wrong direction, as the opinion polls tell us we are, then more of the same will be just more of the same.
Completely apart from the personality problems, here are a few examples of what is at stake in November:
The Supreme Court
If the Democrats win, the Supreme Court falls into the hands of “progressives” for decades to come. Trump or Clinton may be nothing more than four-year wonders, but the effects of their tenure will be with us for at least the next generation.
Let’s not forget that the Separation of Church and State doctrine, that has led to a widespread proscription of Christianity from the public sphere, was a creation of a 5 to 4 decision by only a handful of black robed, unelected judges. They were neither historians nor Constitutional scholars, but simply Leftist politicians with an axe to grind. The single vote of one Left leaning judge in 1947 changed the course of American political history, and eviscerated the influence of the church in society. Since then, very few in our government, or even in our law schools, have raised the question as to whether this extraordinary decision had anything to do with the original meaning or intent of the First Amendment’s “establishment clause”.
If for no other reason, this issue alone would justify doing anything, and voting for anyone, just to keep the Court out of the hands of liberal domination.
It’s not only about abortion as so many Christians mistakenly think. We can probably forget overturning Roe v. Wade, since the word “choice,” regarding termination of human life, has been so thoroughly woven into the fabric of society. But perhaps we can still prevent a wide variety of future travesties of justice, particularly as they affect Christians and religious freedom.
(The most erudite and balanced treatment I have read on this subject is by ACLU attorney and Constitutional scholar, Robert Cord, The Separation of Church and State. It’s an eye-opener for those who have never looked deeply into this question. About the book: “It may be possible to ignore this profound work of Professor Cord. But for those who care to confront the evidence, there can be little doubt that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was never intended to be a charter for the totally secularized society. It was, quite simply, a specification of certain limits on Federal authority.“)
If “progressivism” wins again this time, it is questionable how long free speech on the part of conservatives will be tolerated. Simply look at what is happening on our college and university campuses across the nation. Try to smuggle in a conservative viewpoint into your typical, state-run classroom (or even a private school) and see what happens. It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that most restrictions on free speech today are aimed at conservative speech.
Trump is the ultimate test case for the freedom to say things that are offensive—even abhorrent—to others, which, by the way, happens to be the definition of free speech. Observe the mass hysteria every time he speaks his mind, or we hear more of the extremely offensive things he said years ago. Ironically, I’ve never heard the liberals more obsessed about morality and ethics than when evaluating Trump, applying a standard to him that they don’t apply to Hillary Clinton.
Moreover, for the first time in American history, we are in danger of criminalizing free speech, just by relabeling it a new type of “phobia” or “hate speech”, which typically means anything progressives don’t like.
If there was one thing our Founders deeply feared, it was the encroachment of a big, overbearing, all-consuming government. All kinds of safeguards were built into our Constitution and Bill of Rights to prevent what has already happened to many of our freedoms. Almost on a daily basis, government overreach seems to be leaving “we the people” out in the cold. And protests on the part of the citizenry are either wimpy and anemic, or altogether absent. People have learned to accept it. Gone are the days of, “Give me liberty or give me death,” now replaced with, “Give me security and equality, and I’ll give up anything in return.”
The current tax system in America (“progressive” confiscation of our income), declared unconstitutional by early Supreme Courts, has produced what amounts to government ownership and control of our labor. And whoever owns our labor owns us.
We could go on and on about energy, immigration, government spending, trade, terrorism, the Second Amendment, religious freedom, health care, foreign policy, a weakened military, the continuing slaughter of the unborn, assault on our police, and much more. The point is that Trump—as strange, bad, unpredictable, insulting, or whatever else can be said about him—is the only candidate who appears to stand not on the side of the traditional ruling elite (“the Club”), but more on the side of average working Americans trying to stay free and make a living, while hoping to keep the government off their backs and out of their wallets.
The fact that he is wealthy, and takes legal tax deductions as every other taxpayer in America, makes him no different from the mass of the even wealthier Left who pretend that they are fighting for the poor by redistributing your hard-earned money. The poor are just as poor today as they were eight years ago, but they continue to believe that if they vote the liberal ticket, time after time, things will eventually get better.
It’s obvious to everyone by now that Trump is no traditional conservative. He’s a mixture of liberalism, conservatism, and who knows what else. He’s not the perfect Republican candidate. Maybe he’s the worst Republican candidate in the history of the Party. The only benefit he brings to the table is that he seems to embody less liberalism and more of the underlying principles and assumptions that founded this country. In my view, in spite of his bizarre persona, he is far less a threat to our rapidly declining religious and economic liberty than the alternative. If we’re waiting for an Abraham Lincoln or a Saint Francis, we have a very long wait.
I think that compared to what we would get from the Democratic Party this time, despite his huge negatives Trump is the only option open to any voter who holds to traditional values. And his being the occupant of the White House for the next four years could be viewed as a price tag for salvaging the Constitution and what little is left of our Republic.