An American Christian in the age of Trump

An American Christian in the age of Trump January 20, 2017

The age of Trump.  Wow.  Never thought I would write that.  Or say it.  Or think it.  But there you go.  I’m not much of a predictor of future events.  The rare times I do it’s because I’ve cheated and based my guess on clear and obvious track records.  But then I assumed the Cubs would lose.  So even that doesn’t always work.

Now we’re at it, the Trump administration.  Donald J. Trump.  Captain Avarice.  Floundering billionaire ex-superstar.  Reality TV show host.  One half of the most unpopular presidential election in recent memory.  And now, President of the United States.  What to do?

Well, in cases like this, first try to figure out how we got here.  The Federalist catches up with my boys and realizes that, oh yeah, Donald Trump was everything that our society has been for years.  Oh sure, some tried to construct arbitrary moral barriers about how only a president can’t be thoroughly National Lampoon, but everyone else can.  But it was cheap, fake, shallow and everyone saw it for the BS it was.  As my boys so keenly observed, it was a nation of football fans suddenly outraged at rugby for being a violent sport.   Or as I said in my little list, expediency does not lend itself to moral outrage.

Of course Jonah Goldberg points out the other side of the coin.  We’re a divided nation.  We’ve increased the number of Americans who look for enemies and see nobody but their fellow Americans.  On both sides.  And those who flocked to Trump to find protection in his wings are pretty quick to attack the naysayers.  Already I have people I otherwise agree with coming down on me for suggesting Trump might not be all that and a bag of chips.

Remember these past years, when conservatives chaffed at the propensity that people on the Left had for accusing Obama critics of being racists? Yeah.  Good for geese and ganders after all. People have a right to oppose Trump without being told they must therefore fantasize about Lenin and Stalin.

Things could turn around.  Trump could walk out and say it was just an act, do wonderful things, and set the country on the fast track forward.  Or not.  The pre-election hasn’t been promising, either from Trumptweetland or his detractors.  We’ll see.

In the meantime?  A little passage that was tossed around the Catholic blogosphere after Obama’s inauguration:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”

Sounds good.  Or in more contemporary terms, some wisdom by widely respected Tom Hanks:

“This is the United States of America. We’ll go on. There’s great like-minded people out there who are Americans first and Republicans or Democrats second. I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his re-election in four years.”

May God grant Trump the ability to surprise us and earn my vote for the first time in 2020, if he chooses to run.  And may I avoid being part of the problems that got us here in the first place.

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