A few weeks ago, I was listening to Trump give a speech at one of his rallies, and I was laughing. I wasn’t laughing at him, necessarily, although that accounted for part of my mirth. For some reason, I just found whole scenario–the things he was saying, the cadence of his words, the enthusiasm of his supporters, the fact that he was the GOP nominee, the possibility that Hillary might lose the election–amusing, even joyful. I don’t remember what he said–his usual shtick, probably: “build the Messican wall, throw Hillary over it, have her toss our jobs back to us”…
My mother called me the morning of the election, and asked what I thought. I said I wasn’t sure, but it certainly looked like Hillary would win, based on the polling, and that the Democrats would win the Senate, but that the Republicans would retain control of the House of Representatives. Divided government, and then in 2018, the GOP would win back control of the Senate, for sure. All the conventional things people interested in politics “knew” that morning.
I voted for the Darrell Castle/Scott Bradley Constitution Party ticket. Since no Constitution Party candidates were listed for the other offices, I voted Libertarian Party for everything else. I’m done with the GOP. That’s right: I live on the edge.
At 21:00 Tuesday night, while switching back and forth between Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the Blaze Network, I gathered that Hillary would win the Presidency with somewhere north of 300 electoral votes, that the GOP would keep the House, as expected, and that the GOP just might possibly also keep the Senate. It was good enough for me, so to bed I went. At 01:00, I awoke, and checked the phonernet. Real Clear Politics said Trump had won with 274 Electoral votes. Suspicious, I returned to watching the four networks. None of them had Trump as the winner, but all of them had Trump ahead with (depending on the station) 244 or 254 Electoral votes. I did not get back to sleep. By the next day, it turned out that the election returns were just as predicted, except that Trump won.
Everyone “knows” now why Donald Trump won. He touched that place in people’s hearts that politicians so want to touch: the place that activates their unreasoning and unassailable loyalty. He made ridiculous promises and gave only the vaguest explanation of how he would fulfill those promises, but it didn’t matter to his supporters. “Trust Me.” “Believe Me.” He talked about bringing jobs back from Mexico and China that had actually gone to robots in Alabama. He said that he would build a wall between the border of the U.S. and Mexico, and that Mexico would pay for it. He promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). He did not give his plans on how he would do these things. “Trust Me.” “Believe Me.” Trump supporters did what he said.
Of course, not all Trump voters believe him; a lot of people were voting against Hillary, and so helped push Trump to victory, but consider him with the same enthusiasm as one would a snake poking its head out of the toilet. This is why it is incorrect to label everyone who voted for Trump as a hateful bigot who hates the hated. But, why would they vote for someone so detestable if they didn’t in some way approve of him? Because they honestly thought Hillary was worse. If you don’t already understand why someone would think this, it’s not likely you can understand it. This is one of the hazards of making every election a binary choice–people have different personal beliefs on what constitutes a “greater evil”. But what about the awful things people accused Trump of doing? “They’re just accusations. Innocent until proven guilty, ha, ha. Hillary’s worse.” ~Trump Voter, not Supporter.
What about the things that Trump said to Billy Bush?
I can’t speak for the non-supporter Trump voter (NSTV), but I do have a thought about this. I didn’t hear the entire conversation, but I agree that it sounded pretty bad. It was even worse that Billy Bush kept pressuring his female co-host to give Trump hugs and such. I also agree, in part, that it wasn’t “locker-room talk”. Locker room talk involves mainly one-upmanship about one’s “manliness” (by using a plethora of metaphors and similes), not discussions about assaulting women. There is another sort of darker humor, though, best exemplified by the joke known as “The Aristocrats”. I will allow the reader the opportunity to research this “joke” himself, but I will explain that the point of the joke is not to be funny through cleverness (it has a rather obvious and dull punchline), but by being as explicitly offensive and profane as possible while telling it. The humor lies in how uncomfortable the joke teller can make his audience feel. (“I can’t believe he went there! Tee-hee!”) Howard Stern does something like this, and quite well, if you are into that sort of humor. I think that, based on the portion of video I saw of Trump and Billy Bush, this was what Trump was attempting to do. He was trying to be as outlandishly offensive as possible, as an attempt at humor. I say this with the understanding that I was not there, did not hear the whole conversation, and am not personally acquainted with Trump and so cannot judge his character as to whether he would actually assault women in the manner he described. Several women came afterward and accused him of assaulting him in the manner he described, so my theory may not be correct.
But I digress.
Post-Election Wednesday, the Trump True Believers Squad was ecstatic. The Hillary Booster Club members were devastated–some of them are still protesting/rioting, as of Saturday night (11/12). The #NeverTrumpers were split, with some sort of happy, and some soaking their hankies. I felt…well, I felt relief. I did not want Hillary to be President, at all. I don’t like Progressivism; I don’t like Statism; I don’t like bullies who use the government to punish people who disagree with them. So, naturally, I also did/do not want Trump to be President. People claim he’s a brilliant businessman, but at best he’s a crony capitalist, and so is a poor representative for the Free Market. People look at him and denounce Capitalism almost reflexively. There is a popular saying among the Trump True Believers that he will “run the government like a business”, which, considering Trump’s track record, is terrifying; but even were he as brilliant in (real, free-marketplace style) business as people claim, we should not want the government “run like a business” for the simple fact that a business seeks always to increase its market share, and that’s the last thing we should want the government to do. Believe Me.
As an aside, Trump has a significant portion of his base a group calling themselves the “Alt-Right”. These are not libertarian free-marketeers, but rather a group who thinks that using the government to oppress people is wrong unless they are the ones in control of it–in which case they want the government to be all-powerful. Think of them as sort of the mirror-image of Progressives. It is this group that gives the Trump movement its stigma of racism and anti-Semitism. They’re the ones who are sending mean tweets and calling people names. They think that the recent Trump electoral victory gives their movement validity, and so are now “feeling their oats”, to use a pre-coined phrase. I think the Alt-right is too small a movement to fear–at present–but it is one we should probably monitor with some vigilance. Berlin wasn’t built in a day, and all that jazz.
But, as I say, I felt relief at the election results. I attribute this to my ingrained sense of partisanship, which I must work to eliminate, because the GOP has exposed itself as being every bit as anti-conservative, anti-liberty, anti-limited government as the Democratic Party. Still, I enjoy watching videos of leftists having breakdowns; I enjoy reading stories of progressives shocked into incoherence. I enjoy the victory marches of the Trump crowd, as they make people (including myself) eat a heaping plate of cold-pressed crow.
I don’t enjoy the uncertainty and despair of my friends, though. I have friends and acquaintances whom I would describe as “very liberal”, politically, and for whom I would willingly jump into the fire to save. When I say “jump into the fire”, I mean that I would push them to safety, and then die, screaming in agony, and be caught on video waving my arms in a silly manner, which video would then become an internationally famous Internet meme that mean people would use to mock my pain. I would willingly go through all that because I love my friends, and am loyal, even though we vociferously disagree on politics. Some things are more important than winning elections or having the “right policy” in place.
I wish it wasn’t like this. I wish that a Presidential election didn’t result in people feeling despair. Disappointment, sure; that’s natural. But it should have little more significance that Bob Muckenfutch defeated Molly Simperwingding than that the Cubs defeated the Indians. Okay, maybe a bit more significance; but, after all, as our Founding Fathers set it up, the Executive Branch is supposed to execute the laws passed by the Legislative Branch. We shouldn’t be describing the President as the “Leader of the Free World™”; at best–Constitutionally speaking–he is Congress’ errand runner. Even as “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces”, he should not be sending troops anywhere without Congress’ approval. If there is a “Leader of the Free World™”, then it is the Speaker of the House. The qualifications for President should hinge on how effective an administrator the candidate is, not the vision he (or she) has for the future, or how hard she (or he) can whack our political opponents. Ironically, from what I have read and heard, Hillary Clinton by this measure would be vastly preferable to Trump, even for far-right conservatives. She is intelligent and well informed and extremely hard-working. Unfortunately, as it stands today, a President Clinton would not be a mere administrator of the nation’s laws, but would attempt to create a utopia. President-elect Trump also wants to create a utopia, of course. Every President wants to create utopia. It’s up to us to stop them; stop them all, I say.
I am an idealist; I believe that the world as it is could be made better. I think we need to go back to the idea that government can’t save us all; it can’t feed us all; it can’t make us all enjoy warm fuzzy feelings in our souls. We give up some of our humanity, I think, by using government to assist the poor and oppressed. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss the matter. I think that an armed populace is more important to national defense than a (practically speaking) standing army that one man can send into foreign countries on a whim. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss it. I think that it’s more important to protect private property rights than it is to protect people’s feelings. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss it.
The President, in my opinion, has too much power. The entire Federal Government has too much power. It should not be intervening in our lives at the level that it does. It should not be our proxy for dealing with each other. Elected officials should not be thought of as our superiors. In fact, all government officials should be considered to be our agents, not our leaders. It’s called “The House of Representatives”, after all, not “The House of Overlords”. A representative is someone you hire to act in your interest, at your direction, so that you can attend to more important things. A representative ain’t the boss of you. He is given his authority by you (and all the other voters in your district, of course). If he misbehaves, or breaks the laws, then the voters can switch him out for someone they think will do a better job. We do have the responsibility to monitor our employees, as any good boss does, and that includes Presidents that we hire to enforce our laws that were passed by the Representatives that we hired. This is how we all can build hope in these dark days: by knowing that, with proper coaching, we can ensure that even a President Trump could prove to be an exemplary employee. We can disagree about the proper methods, but we can do so civilly. But success will depend on us working together. Believe me.
Finally, if there is anyone still reading this, I want to make what I consider the most important point: none of this matters, in the long run. Not the free market, not democracy, not baseball, not defeating terrorism, not anything. The only thing that matters is the Kingdom of God. The whole world is not enough to compensate for lost souls. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, I beg you to do so. He makes all the arrangements; He already assumed all the necessary costs. Trust that He did this for you. Tell Him that you trust Him. Tell others that you trust Him. From St. Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
American Evangelical Christians participated–were, indeed, one of the key factors–in winning an astonishing victory against seemingly impossible odds. From a purely political point of view, it was fantastic. My advice is to not gloat. Don’t “Christsplain” how God “chose” Donald Trump at this Historic Time of Historical History to Keep Us from Baking Gay Cakes, or whatever. Maybe God chose Trump to destroy the U.S.A. Who can say, at this point? Live the Gospel. Don’t listen to people who say you’ve lost your witness because you supported literal Demogorgon. Don’t tell your siblings in Christ who occupy the other side that they’ve lost their witness for supporting literal Orcus. When we get to heaven, we will have enough about which to be ashamed–standing in front of the throne with our heads bowed and our feet shuffling–without the added shame of disregarding Christ’s command to us to love each other.