Today is a big day in the 2016 Presidential Election. Today, Iowa is caucusing and America gets its first official glimpse at the sordid road that we will travel together in 2016.
This morning I caught a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh and heard an exchange where a caller made an impassioned plea for Donald Trump. He moaned that we’re always trying to convert people to our way of thinking and that makes Trump the perfect candidate! Here’s someone – Trump – who used to be against everything we believe but now embraces our principles with his whole heart. We would be hypocrites not to nominate him as our candidate!
It’s great when we can help someone see the light, but that doesn’t mean I want them as a presidential candidate. Especially when he just had those opposing views a few months ago. And the only thing that seems to have caused his conversion is that he’s running for president. And there are other people who actually share our beliefs ready for the job.
Republicans have always claimed to believe in two things: personal integrity and constitutional values. It doesn’t take a Ben Carson to see that Trump is unqualified because 1) he clearly lacks integrity and 2) he does not share our constitutional values. Consider how he speaks of anyone with whom he disagrees. We wouldn’t tolerate this from a Democrat candidate. Remember the whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky thing? “Character matters” was the mantra of the day. It was the reason why Republicans wanted Clinton impeached. Democrats said, “He only lied about sex. Everyone lies about sex.” Republicans responded “CHARACTER MATTERS! If he lies about this then who knows what else he’ll lie about?” It supposedly mattered then, so why are Republicans ignoring it now?
So, character no longer matters now; we only care about electing an outsider. People who think Trump is an outsider are delusional. As a donor, Trump has been more involved in politics than just about any other person on the stage. And the people he has donated to are mostly the Anthony Weiners, Harry Reids, Lindsey Grahams, etc. (this page has a breakdown). Can you imagine any scenario where you would donate to Charlie Rangel or Tom Daschle?
I’ve heard friends say they don’t like Cruz because “he can’t get anything done in Washington.” Okay, I disagree, but let’s think this through. This coin has two sides: one side is the politician who makes enemies and “can’t get anything done” and the other side is the politician who knows how to work with others. Kind of like John Boehner. The one we forced out because he did such a good job working with others to get things done in Washington. Why did we ditch Boehner but then embrace Trump? Consistency is apparently not one of our core values. (Note: this coin actually has an edge in addition to the two sides. The “edge” is the fraction of politicians who use principled compromise to get things done instead of doing a fire sale with everything we believe.)
Switching course, a few weeks ago I taught a lesson in church that was not about politics. Of course, when you have things on your mind then the scriptures take on different meaning as you read. In an effort to preserve my soul, I’m not going to use scripture to make a political point; however, I’ll provide one of the quotes that I found interesting:
And what of the meek? In a world too preoccupied with winning through intimidation and seeking to be number one, no large crowd of folk is standing in line to buy books that call for mere meekness. But the meek shall inherit the earth, a pretty impressive corporate takeover—and done without intimidation! Sooner or later, and we pray sooner than later, everyone will acknowledge that Christ’s way is not only the right way, but ultimately the only way to hope and joy. Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that gentleness is better than brutality, that kindness is greater than coercion, that the soft voice turneth away wrath. In the end, and sooner than that whenever possible, we must be more like him.
Those words came from Howard W. Hunter and were certainly not about Donald Trump. But they could have been. Moving on!
Hopefully this doesn’t sound blasphemous, but consider faith. In a religious context, we know that you cannot have faith in something which is not true. Rather, you can exercise perfect faith in a golden idol, but this will get you nowhere because your faith is in something false. I believe many have turned Trump into a false idol and they are either too stubborn or too ashamed to look away. Maybe the false idol is that only he can beat Hillary. Or that he is the only one who can get things done in Washington.
So, who is the right candidate? Well, it’s easy to pinpoint who’s not. It’s also easy to identify who the right candidate might be. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” First, look for the candidates with personal integrity. Next, identify the ones that believe in the values put forth by our Founding Fathers. If you’re left with multiple choices, then you might want to consider who has the best chance of winning. In any case, you’ll be better off than if you select someone just because you think he might be the only person who can beat Hillary.
Support for Trump has come from surprising apologists like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, etc. They may not be crusading the way many Americans are, but they are certainly turning a blind eye to this catastrophe. It’s up to us to look at the facts with both eyes (my apologies to any readers who may have lost an eye) and do the right thing. Not the cool thing, the popular thing or the “logical” thing. The right thing. And then find a friend and bring them along.