President Trump & the Worst Thing That Could Happen Now

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I stand amazed at the American political system.

In the bizarre, 2016 Trump/Clinton election it would appear that the people have spoken in ways that few predicted. Even though, as always, the voters are split nearly 50/50. If you are a liberal reading this, please bear with me as I hope to find common ground with you.

I hopefully believe that what we saw is not “whitelash.” Nor is it a “pro-Trump” movement. Nor is it “a resurgence of bigotry and hatred,” as so many fear.

Rather, I think we have reason to hope that what we saw is the people voting for freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and constitutional government in general. Despite serious questions around Trump’s temperament, voters nonetheless voted down the epitome of a connected, politically entrenched ideologue in favor of a political outsider.

It is also probable that people who are not ideological racists are tired of being called racists. People who are opposed to illegal immigration are tired of being called xenophobes. People who don’t hate gay people are tired of being called anti-gay. People who think the jury is still out on transgender issues are tired of being called bigots. People who are concerned about radical Islamic terror are tired of being called anti-Islamic. People who uphold the sanctity of innocent human life are tired of being called anti-woman. Caring people who hold a biblical worldview are tired of being called hateful.

Each of these issues deeply affect what American culture will be. There needs to be free discussion around these issues. There needs to be deep thought and the airing of opposing viewpoints. Remember how everyone was amazed at how quickly public opinion changed on gay marriage? Well, just maybe a lot of people simply shut down in the toxic environment because they didn’t want to be viewed as hateful and anti-gay. Maybe they felt it wasn’t worth getting on somebody’s poop list, or risking a lawsuit, or losing their job over. But that’s not change of heart.

Maybe they voted for freedom of religion and expression for everyone rather than for a creeping, Orwellian totalitarianism, complete with thought police.

Coming on the heels of eight years of an administration and its supporters attempting to impose political ideology onto the country from the top down, half the voters chose a political outsider over another 4 years of continued labeling, shaming, psychological manipulation, indoctrination, and forced participation.

Remember these labels?
Holier-than-thou
judgmental
self-righteous
imposers one’s morality on others
censor

Within my own lifetime in the not so distant past, these labels were always associated with “religious people.” Remember how the mention of one of these labels would call to mind “religious fundamentalists”? Remember how everyone hated these attitudes when religious people practiced them? Remember how the left framed these labels to be synonymous with Christianity? I do.

Well, it turns out that these labels are not exclusive to religious people. It turns out these things are simply attitudes that all human beings are prone to adopt whenever they feel strongly that they are right, religious or non-religious, right or left. It’s always arrogant, no matter which side does it. Today, the shoe is on the other foot. I have become fond of pointing out in online discussion that, just because it’s liberal bigotry does not make it good bigotry.

I remember reading a comment years ago from a conservative writer. I no longer remember who said it, but I remember hoping it wasn’t true. It was something like this:

“Pluralism is never an end in itself. Pluralism is a transitional strategy employed by the less powerful faction until power shifts from one orthodoxy to another.”

I’ve always remembered that, and wondered if I would live to see if it were true. The past eight years have suggested that it is. As a young conservative adult attending a very “progressive” art college, I was frequently reminded that liberals were the champions of open-mindedness, free speech, tolerance, and anti-censorship. But now, having believed they have the truth, majority support, and power on their side, the progressive movement has become every bit as censorious, judgmental, self-righteous, and holier-than-thou as any fire and brimstone TV evangelist. The difference is that, unlike TV evangelists, progressives attempt to promote their agenda using the power of the state.

That is an enormous difference. After all, one can ignore a TV evangelist.

What we’ve seen for the past eight years is the smug arrogance of liberal politics in action. Over the past eight years the Obama administration has gone around the U.S. Constitution and around the will of the people in order to enact public policy. It did this because voters would not have willingly approved Obamacare and gay marriage. But even worse, not only did the administration go around the people, it stubbornly refused to allow conscientious objection to these liberal policies.

The actions of Obama and his supporters essentially said, “This is way it’s going to be. You don’t get a say, and you must participate. Anything less than participation is hateful, racist, or bigoted and is a punishable offense now.”

As “victory” after liberal victory was won over the last 8 years, I saw a lot of gloating and mocking as dissenting conservative views were shut down. Businesses fell in line for fear of left wing retribution. There was no point in allowing conservative viewpoints to be aired, since those viewpoints were “bigoted” and “hateful.”

Then the election happened.

The worst thing that could happen for America now
The worst thing that could happen now would be for the Trump administration to do the same thing that the Obama administration just did: force its political ideology down everybody’s throats from the top down.

There is a remarkable opportunity now in America that I didn’t think could’ve existed before the election. I do not believe that Donald Trump was a sound presidential candidate. Nonetheless, this administration actually has an opportunity to restore constitutional government. If only it has the will to do so.

At some point all sides are going to have to recognize that both sides have legitimate concerns, and we’re going to have to negotiate how to live together in such a way that both sides feel their concerns are being addressed. For America, the U S Constitution is the answer.

If the American people cannot unite around the American constitution, then the American experiment is over. Christians do not need a Christian president, because constitutional government will protect their rights. Secularists do not need a secularist president, because constitutional government will protect their rights.

How to respond when things get ugly
Restoring constitutional government will mean that some unconstitutional “accomplishments” will have to be undone, and then redone constitutionally. To the left this will seem like an attack, of course. “Progressives” have sworn they are “not going back” because they feel they have gotten some of what they want, never mind that they got it unconstitutionally. But ultimately, restoring constitutional government will be as good for liberals as it will be for conservatives.

In the meantime, our way of relating to each other has to change. America is now horribly divided. We have to stop digging in and, instead, reach out to those who hold differing views. We must listen to each other. Both sides have to stop trying to hit “the enemy” back harder. There are compassionate people on both sides of the issues that divide us.

The election results were so surprising and disturbing that some liberals are trying to understand why things turned out as they did. This is a great opportunity for conservatives interested in building community, (which should be all conservatives.) It’s not that liberals are questioning liberalism. But some realize that they need to understand how their seemingly-nice neighbors could have voted for someone like Donald Trump. It’s a good question.

To help at least a few understand, after the election I joined a “Safe Persons” discussion group composed almost entirely of liberals. It was good for me. I learned that a lot of liberals really are afraid. A couple of members expressed feeling unsafe that I was even part of the group. Of course, they were not actually unsafe, but the point is that they truly felt that way. Some of the other members wanted to interact, and, though it took some time and effort and some overlooking of insults, I feel it was worth it. In my next post I will print some excerpts from our dialogue that I feel are worth posting.

Post election, I’ve seen other encouraging events in my small corner of the world. One friend of mine, along with several of his liberal friends, is starting a book club. Elsewhere, a conservative evangelical friend in a neighboring town has been invited to be on the editorial board of the local newspaper. Apparently the board has decided it needs to broaden its perspective. These things speak well of all parties involved. For some of us, bridge-building could be as simple as going out of our way to initiate a relationship with a neighbor who had a Hillary sign in his or her yard last autumn.

I’d love to hear about how you have reached out in your community to build bridges. Please do share your thoughts and ideas below.

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12 comments on “President Trump & the Worst Thing That Could Happen Now

  1. Yeah, what you said. Pretty much sums it up. Let’s pray for the best.

  2. Amber says:

    I’m planning on starting a similar group but specifically for building a bridge between traditional Christian communities and the LGBTQ community. There is such a great divide that I wanted there to be a safe place where we could share, mostly listen, build friendship and learn with the hope of realizing that eachother is not the enemy.

    • Amber,
      Thanks for sharing this. I wish you all the best with this endeavor! There IS an enormous divide, and for some people, I’m not sure it is bridge-able. But I still think we should build the bridge. I think the problem is that many in the LGBTQ community do see Christians with a biblical worldview as the enemy, because we cannot affirm the things that they believe while remaining followers of Jesus. The only solution I can see for this is to guarantee freedom and pluralism for everyone, within the constraints of constitutional government. But even coming to an agreement on this proves to be very difficult in the present environment.

      It worsens matters that the church has historically not done a good job of loving and providing community to LGBTQ people. At least we can seek to change that; to listen, and seek to understand. But sexual identity is so basic and personal that disagreement feels like an attack to many in the LGBTQ community. Even progressivism is now rife with factions.

      Grace and peace to you.

      • It IS unbridgeable because it’s not just about world view or private behavior. It’s mainly about public policy which affects everyone. I could leave the entire homosexual community alone and let God deal with their sin, but when it affects my neighborhood, my children, or my wallet, it becomes my business and I can’t simply “live and let live”. And therein lies the unbridgeable gap. Someone has to give up ground; and while an activist, Constitution-ignoring judiciary has granted the homosexual lobby territory by diktat, the church has a moral duty to push back (within the law, of course).

        • Right. I just think we need to make a distinction between discussions about public policy and discussions about the value of human beings. The left doesn’t seem to be able to (or doesn’t want to) separate the two. I think people like Amber or myself may try to promote understanding, but my experience has shown me that it is cold comfort for a lot of gays to hear us say we value them as people if we don’t also agree with their political agenda.

          • MercyTriumphsOverJudgement says:

            I agree and would add that while physical wounds/scars can be readily seen, spiritual/psychological wounds/scars are largely invisible. If we can all admit that we are wounded (to a degree that may not even be apparent to ourselves) and act in compassion toward each other, bridges of understanding and healing can be built. Leave judgment to God – God is the only one with all the facts as they are, as well as the only one free of self-deception.

            • Mercy, I love your comment. I think it is very freeing to know whose job is whose. Ours is to love.

            • Because “judgement” is an equivocal term, I think we need to define our usage. If by “judgement” you mean condemnation or passing sentence, then of course you’re quite correct. However, if by “judgement” we mean to render a moral assessment according to God’s word, then of course it’s part of one’s duty to do so.

              Moreover, issuing the proposition, “homosexual behavior is a sin,” is not a judgement against anyone. It’s simply a moral assessment about a behavior. It’s no different than a speed-limit sign posted on the side of the highway. One wouldn’t yell at a traffic sign and say, “Stop judging me!” The sign is merely stating the law. If one violates that law, it is not the sign that condemns one; it is one’s behavior in violation of the stated law that renders one guilty.

          • I think Christian’s have made an effort to explain the “love the sinner, not the sin” message, but secularists with whom I’ve dealt balk at that as if it’s disingenuous or false (and I suspect it’s an intentional effort to force acceptance by painting homosexuals as victims). The best example I offer them is to ask whether there is anyone they love who exhibits behavior which they hate. When my child misbehaves in a manner God disapproves, I don’t suddenly hate my child. There is obviously a distinction between my child and some misbehavior and how I view each.

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