If Donald Trump Had Been an Honorable Man . . .

If Donald Trump Had Been an Honorable Man . . . November 2, 2017

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, he would have been exactly what the country needed. Perhaps the most significant casualty will be Christianity.

US Capitol: should be occupied by an honorable manHe would have brought in wise and creative people who would say, “This system is stuck. I’m going to unstick it and help it regain its vitality” and “this regulation was necessary at one time, but it is no longer. I’m going to eliminate it.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his educated aides and advisors would look at the health care situation: “We have a real challenge with our health-care situation in the US. We know that too many with inappropriately vested interest are making decisions. We are aware that the Affordable Care Act needs some important restructuring to stay viable. We need other voices at the table. We need to find creative solutions that work within our free-market economy. As we do, we must stop bringing too many on to financial ruin when faced with impossibly high health care/drug/insurance cost bills.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his advisors would say aloud and in private: “Washington functions as a closed-off society, unknowing and uncaring about what is happening in much of the US. It’s time send them away and put fresh voices and fresh ideas at work here.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his advisors would discuss serious economic disparities: “There is growing resentment against the extremely wealthy. And let’s face it folks: we who sit at these tables are among them. It does none of us any good to have so many making a minimum wage that has not for a long time meant a decent standard of living, even with two wage earners in the household. People living in despair are people from whom revolutionaries are drafted, revolutionaries who might destabilize the US in an already unstable world. It is in our self-interest, as well as just good sense, to get wages up and invest far more in job growth and US manufacturing. We also need, as the wealthiest segment, to pay a disproportionate share of income taxes. How do we do this?”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his advisors would speak honestly of corruption and scandal: “A corrupt government will eventually collapse on itself. Everyone who has decision-making power must immediately divest themselves of any assets that could bias decisions. Yes, we will expose our financial lives to the world. That’s the nature of public service. We must put the common good above our own. Anyone who even has a whiff of scandal or corruption about them will have their employment terminated. We are going to drain the swamp, and it starts with us.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his advisors would insist on surrounding themselves with expertise: “We need the most knowledgeable people around us as advisors. We need to hear multiple viewpoints about subjects that are controversial. Even as we work to break through the red tape and strangling rules, we need to be aware that the safety of our people is in our hands.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, his advisors would speak honestly of primary concerns: “The economic health and security of the US is our primary concern. We want to focus on what is best for this country. If anyone in the administration has at any time been in the pay of a government outside the US or if anyone in this administration owes money to a foreign bank, put all that information on the table right now. The people of the US have the right to know if some of these obligations or entanglements could be detrimental to our self-interest. All of this information must be disclosed well in advance of Senate Confirmation hearings. We will not tolerate lies and omissions. If discovered, you will be asked to vacate your office immediately.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, he, aware of his needs, would have said: “I expect extreme loyalty from my staff. We cannot function if we cannot trust one another. But on top of loyalty, I expect you to speak up if you see problems. I promise to receive your words with respect.”

If Donald Trump had been an honorable man, the truth would matter, and Trump would say: “We have emerged from a grueling campaign and an unexpected victory. The vote was close—and I did not win the popular vote. Yes, a lot of my campaign rhetoric belittled and disparaged my opponents. Those tactics did bring a victory but now is time to heal and go forward and prove that they put the right person with the right team in place. We also have to acknowledge that there are many questions right now about Russian influence in the US election process. We must get any possible interference brought to light and addressed so that it doesn’t happen again. I pledge my support to any legitimate inquiry process.”

But none of this happened because Donald Trump is not an honorable man. Trump’s staff, advisors and Cabinet members are either so morally compromised as to be unable to function, or so unqualified that all they can do is destroy without any plans to rebuild. He replaced an admitted and unhealthy swamp with even more massively disease-bringing pestilence. The promised focus on doing serious work to help the growing dispossessed and disenchanted citizens of the US has been lost in the quest to win something in Congress, anything, no matter how much damage it does to the people of our nation.

Their lies and “forgotten” conversations wrap ever strengthing tentacles around them, rendering them increasingly on the defensive and ineffective.

A pro-Trump columnist for the Wall Street Journal wrote this in an opinion piece:

Instead of an honorable man, we have a scorpionTo understand the dance of death in Washington now between Donald Trump, Robert Mueller and the media, you need to watch the first 10 minutes of “The Wild Bunch,” Sam Peckinpah’s classic movie of the Old West.

It shows a trapped scorpion struggling in the dirt as it fights off hundreds of ants. A group of children are watching the scorpion fight the ants, and sometimes they poke it with a stick.

In Washington’s wild bunch, the scorpion is Donald Trump and the children delighting in his struggle are the Washington press. Robert Mueller is their poking stick.

It’s sad because the nation did need an honorable Donald Trump. We did need an informed outsider who could function more independently of the sycophants and lobbyists and corrupt politicians who care only about their careers rather than the health and justice of the nation they were elected to serve.

What we did not need is a petulant, ignorant person who values loyalty over truth or competence, and whose own business practices haunt him. Perhaps, because he just didn’t care enough to find out what his staff was going, he is not guilty of collusion with the Russians to win the election. Nonetheless, his business entanglements with Russia, including a likely history of money laundering and possibly crushing debt, may at some point bring him down. Simple honesty could have prevented all this. But Trump does not know that kind of honesty.

We have a complicated kind of government, inherently unstable

Government, as envisioned by our founding fathers has always been somewhat volatile. The problem with moving from autocracy, like royal families or dictators, to a democratic republic is that a lot of people get to help make the decisions and also get to question the decisions of others.

We don’t have a consistent ruler at the top. That is by design, but it also means that change, often genuinely radical change, becomes the constant condition. Our form of government always been problematic, often severely corrupt and inept, never, ever smooth. Nonetheless, somehow, slowly, and in many ways, we have become a more just society.

Many of us wonder if the US will survive this presidency. As much as I hate to say it, we will probably survive it better than a Hillary Clinton presidency. Note, I did vote for her, despite my misgivings, because I could see early on the problems with Trump’s character.

Although Clinton was far more prepared to take office, the same stench of corruption, legitimate or not, surrounds that family. The press beating taken by Trump would have been nothing compared to the one she would have been subject to. I suspect she would have given us a failed presidency, and it would have been blamed on her being a woman.

We need clean individuals for clean politics

Is it possible to clean up politics? Yes, but it requires clean individuals. Here’s where the church could have a role in the future of the US. Not the kind of role that the Evangelicals played in this one when they married this inappropriate and fundamentally indecent man.

No, the role of the church comes from any influence we may have left to practice the reality of a good God interested in redeeming the entire world, to teach morals and to internalize truth and integrity. I say, “any influence we have left” because I am thinking the big casualty of this election will not be our system of government but the community of faith.

Pastors like Robert Jeffress have soiled the name of Jesus by their unwavering support of Trump and their unwillingness to call him to account. They, like what we thought was the incorruptible John Kelly, the current Chief of Staff, have sold their collective souls to stay on the good side of a man who is slowly and inexorably being exposed as an unfit human being, cruel, only self-serving and without self-control.

It’s all sad. My ever-present hope, however, is that new life always follows death. Perhaps from this debacle, something good will emerge.

US Capital photo by Martin Falbisoner – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Scorpion photo by Shantanu Kuveskar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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  • Reese

    Oh my goodness. What a distraught Democrat!
    Maybe we define “honorable” differently. Here is my current scorecard:.
    Avg income UP. Food stamps DOWN.
    Employment UP. Unemployment DOWN
    Stock Market UP!!! Illegal aliens entry DOWN.
    Consumer confidence UP. EPA regs DOWN!
    New home starts RISING. Socialist initiatives FALLING
    New Pipelines IN. Coal mines OPENING.
    Police and all Law CELEBRATED. NFL HUMILIATED.
    Considering the INCESTUOUS/INSIDIOUS swamp he is trying to drain, I am very pleased with progress so far!

    • Reese

      P.S. And I fail to see how any of this would destroy Christianity. The biggest threat to the Christianity I know is the cancer of liberalism which is now metastasizing in the Methodist church. It has just about destroyed the Episcopal church and has membership numbers sinking in most of the old denominations. But, that won’t destroy Christianity because so many of us are simply moving to the conservative non-denominational churches or just staying home and watching on TV. No reason to go be subjected to liberal babble…

      • Reese, since ya don’t back your accusations up with facts, then allow me the same to simply state…you’re biased thinking is what is going to be the downfall of Christianity if it ever comes to that…you’re turning religion into oligarchical politics…

        • Reese

          I don’t do your homework for you. You can google and find that the Methodist church is losing about 100,000 per year now and when the “way forward” gives its report in 2019, that will likely quadruple. A good example is the Episcopal church which turned hard left in 2003 and has lost hundreds of parishes and spent $18 MILLION in lawsuits to keep the real estate from parishes who wanted to join the Anglican church. So, those buildings are often vacant and some become bars… Google things like “the demise of the Episcopal church” or “how to kill a church” you will find a plethora of examples of what is coming for the Methodists. I have already left… Read deep into the leftward movement of the UMC if you want to know about oligarchical politics, whatever that means…

          • Reese…so your facts come from someone’s opinion, fair enough I’ll give ya another…

            You claim to be a Christian huh…do ya even know what it means to be Christian? The word comes from the Greek ‘Christos’, which infers to those that follow Jesus Christ and his teachings. Jesus was not only for the poor, but the destitute. His favorite stories were by far against the rich and for the minority, such as threading a needle through the eye of a camel would be easier than the rich going to heaven (Matthew 19:23-26), or the ‘Parable of the Great Banquet’ ( Luke 14:15-24) and the ‘Good Samaritan’ story ( Luke 10:25–37), among numerous others. So as ya dole out money to these get rich TV right-wing televangelists, know this…ya might have the Jew’s Old Testament god behind ya with all his fear mongering, jealousy, vengence and indirect or direct murdering of over two million men, women, children and infants, but for sure Jesus today would be camped out with liberals.

            Right-wingers have warped Christianity just as much as Muslim terrorists have warped Islam…

        • Reese

          Even though you look more like an old hippie than a Texan coach, I’ll give you one authentic article to ponder:
          “Ross Douthat, a columnist for The New York Times, asked on Sunday “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” In it he looks at the Episcopal Church as they adapted the changes that John Shelby Spong, the Bishop of Newark, advocated in the 90s.

          Douthat writes:

          As a result, today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.

          Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.” (Wow! That is some “oligarchical politics”…)

          Me: If Methodists cannot see what is coming, they are going to wreck churches, careers and retirements!

    • Reese…I see that you appreciate the trending efforts of Obama’s administration that Trump is riding off of and claims the fruits for himself. Obama’s Fiscal year ending was just this past September…all those things ya list were a direct result of Obama’s administration after inheriting the worst recession this nation and the world has ever experienced. Trump inheirted those upward trends riding off the coat tails of Obama.

      Name one thing Trump has done to create this remarkable trend, except for actually making a bigger swamp in swamping his administration with more billionaires than all the combined recent presidents put together and those that aren’t billionaires but are carrer politicians that were with the Bush W. administration.

      This article is quite accurate whether the biased blinders ya wear won’t allow ya to see it or not…

      • Reese

        In a physics class once, the prof pushed a beach ball way down in a barrel of water. When he let go, that ball just shot straight up, even out of the water! That’s a physical fact which helps explain why the last two quarters have been 3% growth and the market is straight up. After we got rid of that socialist community organizer, the economy went up. Simple physics!

        • Chuck Johnson

          We should refer to beach ball physics to prove that Trump is a great president ?
          You are trolling.

      • Steve Bailey

        I don’t know what universe lives in. I can only feel sorry for him.

  • Donalbain

    If Trump had been an honourable man, he would not have been a racist. If Trump was not a racist he would never have been president.

  • Steve Bailey

    Thanks for the article. There’s an attractive hint of the prophetic here that I hope Christian writers with integrity and insight will continue to develop into a powerful voice to counteract what has happened to American Christianity to make it so weak and blind. If the U.S. ever needed an Amos, or a Jeremiah, etc. It is now.

  • ken

    When it comes to who would have been a more honorable president, Trump > Hillary and recent events have spoken to this truth. AFAIK, because of what has happened recently and the last 8 years, I will never vote for a Democrat ever. I wanted to switch parties to the Democrats 8 years ago and I am glad I didn’t as they have done nothing but make more disgusted with the direction they want to take America. Republican’s aren’t perfect as I am disgusted with the GOP equally as well but the Democrats have topped the GOP. I will vote for anyone who is not Democrat nor traditionally GOP, but Republican > Democrat any day.