So… yeah. First of all, this post has exactly nothing to do with Michael Phelps or swimming or the Olympics. I just REALLY wanted to use the Phelps Face in something…sooooo….there ya go!
The opinions expressed below are mine and mine alone.
If you disagree with me – I will not think any less of you – and hope you will grant me the same luxury.
If you are offended in any way shape or form – I wholeheartedly apologize and offer you my sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies due to the fact that you are frightfully thin-skinned and can’t seem to function without your daily dose of the new opiate for the masses – OUTRAGE!!!1!.
Silly Season… The end is nigh – and yet, ‘tis only beginning.
‘Silly Season’ is what a lot of folks call the Presidential Primaries – and for good reason. In general, politicians must bend and twist (quite uncomfortably) to win the support of the die-hard partisans who vote in their Party’s Primary. Once the candidate is chosen, they generally run more to the middle of things and at least *attempt* to be as broadly appealing as possible. (Exceptions such as 2004 and 2012 tend to prove the rule. In both of those elections, the ultimate victor waged a “Base Election Campaign” and won by running far “right” [in 2004] or far “left” [in 2012]).
We now have a fixed candidate for both major parties. But, because those two (quite tragically comical) candidates are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Silly Season has… Only. Just. Begun.
It all could have been very different, but it is pointless to covet “What Might Have Been”. Instead we must deal with what we have been given. My target audience for this post is the typical Born-Again Christian who has historically (at least since 1980 or so) sided with the Republican Party and/or Republican candidates. Brothers and Sisters, in 2016, we have a mighty dilemma.
What we have been given (by about 45% of the people who voted in the Republican Presidential Primaries) is Donald J. Trump.
My thoughts exactly, Vince.
By my count, about 13,800,123 people voted for him – while 16,926,277 people voted for someone else. If we estimate the 2016 General Election turnout will be as high as 60% (a VERY generous and totally unrealistic estimate), then approximately 9% of General Election voters first choice was Trump. As far as eligible voters go (the VAP – Voting Age Population), about 5.6% of that number selected Trump. And lastly…with the current general population of the U.S. being about 323,730,000… a whopping 4% of people gave us all the possibility of a President Trump. Hooray (?)
I might add in a graph (or 4) to demonstrate a quick visual…let’s see if I can whip something up…how about…this…
OK…so, I know, I know, I know… come November, there will be a lot more people voting for (and giving tacit support to) Donald Trump. BUT, I wanted to make a graphical point to show you how a truly tiny piece (as small as Trump’s hands!) of the American public is responsible for making us have to choose between Trump and Clinton. Regardless of the intricacies of U.S. Presidential candidate selections, we now face a choice. Pump up Trump or Dump (the Chump).
Since I am a fan of sussing things out by making meaningless lists, I figured the best approach to follow would be to… make a meaningless list. So here are our options:
- Vote for Donald J. Trump
- Vote for Hillary R. Clinton
- Vote for another balloted candidate
- Write in a vote
- Stay home (and weep incessantly over a tub of bon-bons)
Options 1, 2, and 3 are off the table for me… my conscience won’t allow a vote for any of the currently balloted candidates. And while Option 5 is somewhat appealing, I hate chocolate, so it is definitely a no-go (besides, I reserve my weeping for great Romantic Movies…like Braveheart). So my personal choice is plainly obvious. But, please allow me to “Tom-splain” exactly why Option 4 is the only viable choice for a sane person. (I kid, of course. You are [most likely] sane, whatever option you choose. I simply reserve the right to fundamentally disagree with your [plainly obviously] wrong decision on this matter). 😉
So… Option 1 – Vote for Donald Trump. My first question to a Bible-believing Christian would be… Why? You don’t have to. No one is forcing you to. So, why would you choose to give support to someone who says “Two Corinthians”? Again, I kid. Apparently “Two Corinthians” is a perfectly acceptable way to say Second Corinthians (at least in circles far, far removed from mainline U.S. Protestantism). But, seriously, the guy is a megalomaniac and a serial liar. Most of his lies have more to do with exaggerating things about himself and his success. But, that pattern of dishonesty shows a distinct lack of self-understanding as well as a tenuous grasp of reality.
I truly think Trump believes all the things he says about himself. Someone so self-deluded should not be allowed near the reins of this country.
We’ve had 8 years of a Narcissist-In-Chief… frankly, we need no more.
But, the worst thing about a Trump presidency would not even be Trump himself (surprisingly). Rather, the biggest issue is that Trump has given a voice and a platform (as well as implied legitimacy) to some of the worst thoughts, impulses, and sub-cultures currently scraping the bottom of the barrel in America.
Quite frankly, the “alt-right” should be banished back to the disgusting and hidden sewers of the Dark Web from whence they spawned. And if you have never heard of the “alt-right” crowd, consider yourself lucky. Just know that they spew despicable trash and Trump is their favorite person on the planet.
The problem with Trump’s nationalism is that it is little more than White Nationalism, without being self-aware. I don’t mean to be alarmist… but… if you could see some of the things Trump’s “alt-right” worshipers are saying, you would be fanning yourself and clutching your pearls just like I am. And no… the fringe elements of any candidate’s support do not necessarily define that candidate and his/her support as a whole. BUT….good gracious there sure are a lot of truly awful human beings who look at Trump as some kind of Savior. Here is a handy Venn Diagram to display the basic dynamics:
Sadly, though it should have no need of being stated, I feel I must point out the obvious. I am not in any way, shape, or form suggesting that all of Trump’s supporters are white nationalists or racists or misogynists or alt-right weirdos. All I am saying is that all of those gross groups have pinned their hopes on a President Trump. And that fact should make every sane person wary of The Donald.
Donald Trump himself is about as amoral a person as can possibly walk the Earth. He likely doesn’t share the racist views of a good portion of his most vocal supporters. But he has chosen to not distance himself from them – indeed, a good many of his infamous and controversial “re-tweets” come directly from White Supremacist groups or people affiliated with such.
The problem (well… one of the problems, anyway) with (Post?)Modern Liberals is that they take things that arguably have a kernel of Truth to them…and then run with them off the deep end. This Leftist over-reaction to, well, EVERYTHING has in turn generated a kneejerk response from those not inclined to see the world through Progressive-Colored lenses. (As an example… a typical Leftist will likely take offense to my using the word “colored” in the previous sentence. It is evidence of my white privilege, was a dog whistle and racial code word, and is a microagression and I should have included a Trigger Warning, but didn’t because I am an oppressive, bigoted, Bible-thumping member of the Patriarchy.)
So… ridiculous, right?
But when someone like Trump comes along with “Make America Great Again” and his most vocal alt-right supporters say (or type) things that make it clear the goal is actually to “Make America White Again”, of course the Left picks up on that and labels all Trump Supporters as some sort of Fourth Reich and Trump himself as Hitler with a more preposterous comb-over.
That’s… not exactly what is really going on. But it “poisons the well”, as it were. Now, when some actually reasonable person <just hypothetically speaking, let’s pretend that painfully reasonable person was…say… Me> comes along and suggests that there is a lot of racial nastiness behind a good chunk of Trump’s support – that person and their observation is generally written off by Trump fans as Leftist garbage.
Now, never mind the fact that calling me (…Me!) a Leftist is as off-the-mark as suggesting that Hillary Clinton is honest… but, according to the Internet Right (and Trump Propaganda sites like Breitbart and Drudge), if you do not bow down and worship at Trump’s feet, that automatically makes you some kind of raging Liberal.
My ultimate point here is: because the Left has been generally rabid and unreasonable towards the Right, when Truth must be spoken, it can sometimes be dismissed and rejected by the Right because they are sick of being told they are evil and wrong.
Here’s some Truth, please listen conservatives and Christians and right-leaning folks:
1) Trump is not the answer in 2016 and
2) Trump is not a ‘morally better’ option.
There has been a concerted (and clearly, if poorly, coordinated) effort from certain movers and shakers in the “Professional Evangelical” community to persuade Christians it is their duty to vote! … (for Trump). That last part they sometimes whisper or merely imply… but more and more, they are getting bolder and more overt in their wrong-headed exhortations.
Inevitably, the argument boils down to: If you don’t vote for Trump, we end up with Hillary(!!) They say this in dire tones – as though the fate of the universe rests upon your single vote.
But, first of all… unless you live in: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and maybe North Carolina – your vote won’t even come close to affecting the outcome of the election. I don’t mean to be overly cynical… but, yeah…it’s pretty much true. For those of us who live in every other state, we can feel free to vote or not…AND to vote for whoever we darn well please. (Thank you very much). For those in those critical swing states – your conscience, as lead by the Holy Spirit – is all you need to rely on (which is, of course, true of all Christians). Don’t be bullied by some Evangelical mogul or talking head.
And, secondly… if one believes that God is going to use Donald Trumping Trump to advance the Kingdom of God…then one must also believe that God can use Hillary Clinton to achieve the same ends. (The most likely outcome is neither of the above… God doesn’t necessarily have to use either of them…instead, he will use His people – holy, consecrated, and fully devoted to Him – to spread the Gospel). But, the truth is, if God can use Trump, he could also use Clinton.
“But…but….but….. The Supreme Court!!1!”, I hear you say. And all I can do is kindly and sympathetically pat you on the shoulder and say, O Ye of Little Faith.
In all seriousness…we have no indication that Trump would actually nominate Supreme Court Justices that wouldn’t trample on religious liberty. And further…if you are truly worried about Hillary nominations to the court, then get off your duff and vote for conservative Senate candidates in November and 2018 (and beyond).
But this goes back to the fact that if we allow that God could use Trump, then we absolutely must allow that He could use Clinton. It would take a miracle for EITHER of them to lead in accordance with God’s Will. The difference is simply in who you believe to be ultimately in charge.
I feel like I have been all over the map in this post…but probably need to wrap it up. This is kind of the culmination of a month worth of thinking and adding bits and pieces. I could probably continue doing so all the way to election day… but… who has the time? And, I really wanted to go ahead and get this out there while silly Evangelical Chicken Little’s are out there proclaiming that it is Christian Duty to vote for Trump.
Simply pray and do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do…and ignore the bullies and the Trump apologists.
So, I probably stepped on a LOT of toes. And for that I do apologize.
But, Rightway’s gotta Rightway. It’s what I do.
I’m just gonna put this here again as a final exclamation. Gauntlet thrown.