Wednesday, November 09, 2016

It’s Over and It’s Trump

It’s over. For a day or two at least. Trump is now President-Elect. It’s the first time we have elected a showman with a poor grasp of policy since 2012. This won’t happen again until at least 2020.

Look for a few people to announce their candidacy for the 2020 presidential election in the next few days. Until then, enjoy a few days of political relief.

Trump has apparently won the presidency. I say “apparently” because there will be likely be charges of rigging and voter fraud. Ironically it will come from the party that says this stuff doesn’t exist.

The outcome was surprising to many. Neither outcome would have been surprising to me. The surprise would have been a good showing by a third party candidate, but there was no third party candidate with the stuff to make more than a whimper.

The evangelicals showed up and taught us a few things in no particular order:

Evangelicals are a crazy mixed up bunch. From all the pietistic warnings and judgments passed down across the spectrum, one could be forgiven for thinking that Jesus indeed wasn’t returning and had left his job to the evangelical constituency that was determined to separate the sheep from the goats in the voting booth.

There is barely enough room in the voting booth for one person. Once all the moralizers, do-gooders, nay-sayers, prophets, and apostles crowded in, it was hard to mark the ballot clearly. They kept jostling my elbow while I was trying to color inside the lines.

I have to say that evangelicals picked a strange time to grow a conscience. After years of Haggard (Ted not Merle), MacDonald (James not Old), Osteen (got nothing for you here), Hinn, Swaggart, and Driscoll, the businessman-turned-politician who once owned Miss Universe (where women are degraded into sexual objects prancing in as little as network TV will allow them to) Trump is what finally crosses the line?

Perhaps the most stunning thing is that we now know there is a line. Of course, it’s hard to see the line amidst all the muck and manure we had to parade around in for the last two years. But it’s still a line. Somewhere. For some.

I am not saying evangelicals shouldn’t have grown a conscience. I am just saying it seems like a strange time since the alternative was Hillary Clinton rather than Matt Chandler. Even John Piper flipped compared to 2012.

We have no reason to believe in a bright future for evangelicalism at large. I am not saying that’s a dealbreaker, by the way.

This election saw evangelicals on one side proclaiming a vote for anyone but Trump was a vote for the end of America. They could barely be heard over the evangelical voices on the other side crying out that voting for Trump was the end of America and of morality.

And then of course you could hear the sovereigntists, those who reminded us of the sovereignty of God over all things, proclaiming it didn’t matter who you voted for (as long as it wasn’t Trump or Clinton) or if you voted at all because God appoints kings and rulers and is in charge of it. It seems a strange take on God’s sovereignty, what with the reams of binders full of evidence of God working his sovereign will through human choices.

There was a strain of evangelicals claiming that world relief for the oppressed (i.e., taking in refugees apparently without vetting) was the key issue and that those who weren’t in favor of open borders and open boarders were on the verge of denying the gospel. Of course, there was never much theological or political interaction about this. It was mostly an emotional appeal about oppressed people. And these folks never told us how the gospel was lived out in the days before immigration. It’s a conversation we should have. But we should actually have the conversation rather than just tweet platitudes and pictures about it.

There was also a strain of evangelicals who pointed out that Christians all over the world and all throughout history had suffered and now it was our turn. These seemed to ignore the fact that Christians all over the world and through history had not suffered politically and, given our political system, that was something we enjoy. I never saw anyone make the case why we should do as much as we can to sign up for political persecution, or sit back while someone else signed us up for it. It seems to me that wisdom allows us to use our earthly citizenry to pray for peaceable relations and even to work for them. In fact, I recall something from the Bible about that in 1 Timothy 2:1-2. If we are commanded to pray for it, then we are certainly allowed to vote for it.

In the end, this election was an absolute disaster. It’s a testament to the sad state of our country that, in a nation with over three hundred million people (that’s 300,000,000) these are the two people we came up with (or should that be, “with which we came up”?).

There has been no politician so corrupt as Clinton running for a major office since, well, ever. She makes Kwame Kilpatrick and Richard Nixon look good, and that’s a major achievement. Rod Blagojevich is disappointed he didn’t run for president. It might have turned out better for him.

Likewise, there has been no one so uncontrolled and arrogant as Donald Trump since, well, ever. At least Roy Hobbs backed it the bravado with a homerun in the light pole and a refusal to take the money. Trump will likely not do anything so amazing.

On the upside, look for a new era of bipartisanship as both parties in Congress oppose Trump. Look for Democrats to celebrate obstructionism and to reject executive action. It will be a welcome change from that side of the aisle.

Ironically, the two people that would have been a really interesting race (Biden and Romney) both declined to run and probably both regret it since either one of them would have been an ‘84 type landslide.

The GOP is set up well for 2020. They can legitimately claim they didn’t like Trump and offer an alternative.

The Democrats have no such room. Clinton was their anointed pick and they own her and everything that comes with her. Rest easy though. They (like most politicians) have no shame. They will quickly defend whatever they can and whitewash the rest of it, no matter how preposterous it might sound to both normal people who are left in this country.

I am just disappointed there will be no free college education. My kids will need it cuz I ain’t paying for ‘em to go.

Speaking of 2020, I know you are all interested but I am still in the decision making process. Over the next few days, my friends and family and I will be getting together and decided whether or not I will throw my hat in the ring for 2020.

Until then, get some sleep and drink a little wine for your stomach’s sake. In fact, perhaps drink a lot. You might need it.

No comments: