I have a somewhat unique perspective on the political process in the United States. As a professional speaker and debater with extensive experience around the globe engaging in polemics and debate (and as an Independent, unaligned with either political party), I watch the drama playing out in the US with a mixture of horror, disgust, revulsion, shock, and what would pass for humor if our freedoms, liberty, and future were not at stake. It is not that political debate has been particularly in-depth or appropriate in years past. Real “debates” have always been a rarity, but the 2016 Presidential election has reached new heights in absurdity. And this time, “evangelicals” are smack-dab in the middle, playing a pivotal role in what I am convinced will be their own downfall.
I write from the perspective of one who believes the great experiment with liberty that was the United States Constitution is breathing its last. That grand document has reached the end of its time of usefulness. It is not that the form of government it created does not remain a perfectly valid and liberty-granting institution. It is that the people it was written for no longer exists. It was not written to govern a self-centered, ignorant, arrogant, sinful, secularist people. It was written for a “moral and religious people,” as John Adams rightly said, “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It is hardly surprising that we would see confusion when the words of the Constitution have lost their meaning and their ability to provide guidance.
…a demagogue. The definition is: “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.”
But there is much more going on in this election year. I see clear and compelling evidence of supernatural activity in our land. Yes, I see the judgment of God upon a people who can see the videos of Planned Parenthood, aka Molech International, and not only refuse to immediately shut them down—out of simple, common humanity—but instead they prosecute those who documented the evil, and rally to the defense of the caretakers of the ovens of Dachau! This is the same nation that has festooned its government buildings with rainbow-colored lights in celebration of the overthrow of the ordinance of marriage by five robed oligarchs. Yes, judgment is in the air. Our apologies to the Third Reich. You guys were amateurs. We are up to 55,000,000. And unlike the Germans after the war, we don’t seem to care.
So I am not exactly shocked that we are seeing some truly amazing things in this election. I am not really surprised that the Democrats are finally cozying up to a much more accurate definition of who they are and what they want: socialism. We’ve all known they are socialists for a long time, but a little honesty from them is unexpected. They are truly progressives, for they seek to progress the entire nation right over the precipice into the junkyard of all the failed socialist states of the very recent past.
These surprisingly honest socialists count on one thing: millennials are historically ignorant on a level never before seen in our nation. They can’t tell you who won the war between the North and the South, they can’t identify D-Day, or Eisenhower, or the Berlin air drop or anything else, because, quite simply, they do not care about the past. Everyone in the past was stupid because they didn’t have an iPhone, so why worry about it anyway? And so they dance merrily to the pied piper of socialism and demonstrate not that those who forget the lessons of the past are bound to repeat them, but that those foolish enough to not even care about the past will themselves be mocked by the future.
The Socialists are not really on my mind as I write today. We know more than any generation in history about life in the womb. I expect the party that has enshrined the right to murder unborn children to fight tirelessly for the glory of Molech. How any child of God could ever seek to advance their rebellion against life and marriage and everything godly, I cannot understand. But this is not new for the socialists. My concerns today are closer to home.
It did not take too many debates in my career to come to understand the centrality of cross-examination to the process of debate. It is when you can press your opponent on the consistency of his position that you actually make the process useful, at least for the person following the reasoning closely (I am aware that these days, this can be a minority of the audience). Cross-examination exposes presuppositions and forces thought on the clash of worldviews that is at the heart of meaningful, theological debate.
(Trump) is… completely unmoored from any serious concept of jurisprudence or moral or ethical grounding… He just doesn’t care…
With proficiency in the art of cross-examination comes the ability to identify non-responsive answers. That is, many people, sensing the direction you are taking the examination, will seek to change that direction by answering a question you did not actually ask. Or, it may be clear that they do not have a meaningful answer, and are well aware of it. And so they dissemble. Mislead. Misdirect. If they are good at it, they will get the audience to think they have actually answered the question when you well know they have not. If you press the issue you can discover fairly quickly whether they actually have any depth of knowledge of the topic or whether they are simply playing games with you and the audience. Maybe they are simply repeating what they have heard from others, and are not capable of defending the position at all. After many decades of doing debate, I have learned to detect early on whether the person I am debating is a reflective, thoughtful person, or a person without substance who is simply seeking to sway the audience with emotions and rhetoric. There is a term for that kind of speaking when it comes to politics: demagoguery. And a person who engages in such activity regularly is called a demagogue. The definition is: “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.”
When the political season started, long, long ago, I, like many, assumed the candidacy of Donald Trump was simply another media ploy to promote his name, promote his brand, and that he would not be long in the fray. If this was a normal time in history, that would have been the case. I mean, seriously—the man has changed party affiliation as often as most of us change our socks. As the months have dragged interminably by, he has somehow remained at the front of the pack. In the process I have come to realize that unless he steps to a microphone tomorrow and says, “Ha! Gotcha all! Visit my casinos!”, he is in it to stay, no matter what that ends up meaning. This has left me doing a lot of thinking.
DONALD JOHN TRUMP THE MAN
Many great American leaders have been womanizers. Many great American leaders have had foul mouths (Patton and Eisenhower, I’ve come to learn, could rival each other in their use of expletives, though Patton enjoyed doing it for fun in public, and Eisenhower did not). Some great American leaders began in one party only to switch to the other (though, in the past, the difference in worldview that required was not nearly as big as it is today). When Carter was interviewed in PlayBoy it was a minor scandal. Times have changed.
I have heard often that we are not electing a pastor, and that hardly needs to be pointed out. As far as I can see, none of the current candidates are worthy of the eldership (though one, as far as I know, is not far from being thusly qualified). I have voted for non-Christians in the past, and to be honest, I am not sure how a truly professing Christian can survive today’s secular, rebellious political system.
When it comes to Mr. Trump, I am completely lost as to how anyone can take the man seriously.
When you combine his multiple, ungodly divorces with the Playboy interview, and his being proud that he has bedded down many powerful, married women in his life, and his continued pride even in his elderly years, no thinking person is unsure that this is not a man of honor, consistency, or morality. Right? But as if to shine more light on the matter, when asked if he has ever asked for forgiveness in the context of Christianity, his response is something along the lines of the classic liberal moralistic deist: “Me? Ask for forgiveness? Nah, Norman Vincent Peale told me to just keep pulling myself up by the boot straps! I don’t need no stinkin’ forgiveness!” We are hardly surprised to find him standing in his opulent office giving us a thumbs-up next to the Playboy cover with him and a scantily clad woman on it. He loves it. He’s Trump.
Back in the old days, people recognized that when you invest power in a single man as the POTUS, there is a need for basic character in that man—a character that would give you confidence that he will act in accordance with the Constitution, and that he will do what he said he would do when you decided to vote for him.
the United States Constitution is breathing its last… It is not that the form of government it created does not remain a perfectly valid and liberty-granting institution. It is that the people it was written for no longer exists.
I have to express my utter shock at how quickly Trump’s demagoguery (and that is what it is) has completely banished the common sense of the past from about 33% of the allegedly “conservative” electorate. They do not seem to care that one can easily pull up videos of Trump debating and contradicting himself on almost every topic imaginable: partial-birth abortion, Hillary Clinton, gun rights, etc. They just don’t seem to care that this man is the Odo of the 2016 elections (sorry, DS9 reference—Odo is a Changeling, a shapeshifter). He does not hesitate to change his position at the drop of the proverbial hat. How can anyone voting for him think he will still be saying and believing the same things a day after the election? What about two months after the election? But again, his followers just do not seem to care about the mundane things that used to deeply concern the general populace. As he himself has noted, his followers don’t really care what he used to believe. They just care that he is, for now, saying what they want to hear. Which, I note, is how every tin-horned dictator the world has ever known has gotten elected—but I am getting ahead of myself.
Consistency means everything to me. One of the greatest compliments ever paid to me was when I was told, “You are preaching the same message you did years ago!” I sure hope so! When I look at a man, I ask, “What has he done in life? Is he consistent? Has he produced a body of work that shows commitment to a goal, commitment to a worldview that reflects thought and consideration? Or does he lack direction, consistency?” The Greek term from the Scriptures that means so much to me here is ὀρθοποδέω, orthopodeo, “to walk straight in accordance with a rule” (Galatians 2:14). Does this man walk straight in accordance with a consistent rule of life, or is he wandering all over the landscape, blown about by every wind of doctrine, or in the political world, every wind of popular opinion?
millennials… demonstrate not that those who forget the lessons of the past are bound to repeat them, but that those foolish enough to not even care about the past will themselves be mocked by the future.
Though the founders did not intend it to be this way, today, the make up of the Supreme Court is central to the determination of the direction of our nation. The socialist left, purposefully seeking to undermine the system of government laid out in the Constitution, use activist judges to promote their agenda to the detriment of the nation. It is likely that the next POTUS will select up to four justices. That selection process requires a man who does not simply stand there and say, “Hey, I’m the greatest. I will hire the best. Just trust me.” It requires a man with serious intellectual attainments and a world view that will allow him to seriously consider the candidates. Trump has no meaningful worldview. He has been all over the map, and for crying out loud, still is! He is so completely unmoored from any serious concept of jurisprudence or moral or ethical grounding that he just zips around mouthing whatever he thinks his current audience would like to hear no matter how many contradictions and conundrums he ends up creating. He just doesn’t care, because I really don’t think he views his followers has having a long enough memory to even care. And this is the man people are actually wanting to determine the course of SCOTUS for the next quarter of a century? I am at a loss for words to describe the foolishness!
In Iowa, a group of pro-life leaders put out a statement basically saying “anyone but Trump.” When a reporter asked Trump about it, his answer was so vacuous that that alone should have been enough to abandon Trump immediately. The man rambles on, makes assertions without providing the first bit of meaningful substantiation, and moves on, always using the power of surface-level emotional appeal to cover his empty rhetoric. Truly, if a person cannot see this, I would honestly suggest that they never go to buy a car without taking an adult with them. It is that obvious, that clear, and that inarguable.
You see, if he truly is pro-life now (and we have all seen the video of when he wasn’t not so long ago) he would want to explain in that very situation why he is, what his grounds are, and what changed his way of thinking. These are worldview issues. Trump doesn’t do worldview. Trump does “I’m great” and “I wrote a best seller” and “I build the best buildings” and “I know how to win” and that kind of thing, but he doesn’t do “You know, I once even supported the barbarity of partial-birth abortion. I know, that’s amazing, and disgusting, but you see, I didn’t just change my view for political expediency—here is how my worldview changed and how it changed me as a person and how I see the world.” But that isn’t what you get. You get platitudes and brush-offs and sound bites. If you dare challenge him on it—watch out! The man has a temper like Mt. Vesuvius, and loves to threaten anyone who stands against him, even recently raising questions about libel and slander laws, etc. To say that the man is behaviorally and ethically immature is to say the Cardinals did not quite challenge the Panthers a few weeks ago. No kidding, Sherlock.
CHRISTIANS AND TRUMP
So we have a man who owns strip clubs, swears like a sailor, contradicts himself repeatedly, pretends to be a Christian when we all know he isn’t (did you see Cuomo about lose it when Trump said that maybe the IRS audits him all the time because he is such a strong Christian?), runs a fraudulent university, cannot enunciate a meaningfully deep pro-life or pro-family or pro-natural marriage position, seems to know next to nothing about the Constitution (let alone the KKK), and yet—he is winning the so-called “Evangelical” vote. And here I just have to step off the Evangelical bus and say “You all go on now—since I don’t think we are headed the same way, time for us to part company.” If Rachel Held Evans, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and the entire host of “Evangelical Trumpkins” are all on the evangelical bus—I will jump and roll if I have to, because I am getting off. There’s a cliff up ahead, and I think the brakes are gone, and whoever is driving is reading some fluff from Joyce Meyers, and well…boom. End of the line.
I am thankful lack of discernment is not disqualifying for eternal life, quite seriously. But I am still left wondering how anyone, let alone a person with biblical light and guidance, can possibly not see through Trump’s tantrums and demagoguery. I seriously don’t get it. But, I know I have brothers and sisters who have stars in their eyes. I know they are going to come crashing down to earth in the future, and I will need to be careful about not doing the “see, I told you so” thing.
But why does anyone have stars in their eyes over this man? I hear it all the time from the supporters of Trump with whom I dialogue (briefly): “We’ve been lied to by the Republican establishment.” I don’t deny this, but does that give you reason to vote for a vacuous demagogue? Does this mean everyone outside of the “establishment” gets a free pass?
Another popular one is: “He will really shake things up in Washington!” Yeah, he would. I would predict gridlock that will make the Obama years look like a walk in the park. He will be in court constantly, and properly, because we still have this balance of powers thing and this Constitution thing.
What really worries me is that some of his followers seem to have missed a few portions of the Star Wars movies, and might well be easily talked into “temporarily” giving the Emperor powers to “get things done”, if you know what I mean. And I do not have the first reason to think the Donald would hesitate for a moment from taking such steps. Remember, he has no consistent worldview to guide him!
There’s a cliff up ahead, and I think the brakes are gone… I have brothers and sisters who have stars in their eyes. I know they are going to come crashing down to earth…
Well, this has gotten a lot larger than I had intended. I apologize. There is a lot more that I would like to say, but I will have to close with this thought. If God is putting an end to a sinful, blood-guilty, unrepentant nation, we can expect evil leaders who will do evil things and rejoice in ungodliness. God’s people will suffer, as they have repeatedly down through the ages. We are called to be faithful in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation. But let me say it now with as much clarity as possible: I will not—I refuse—to prostitute my vote as a citizen of this once great country. I cannot vote for a socialist, abortion-promoting, marriage-destroying secularist (let alone a person who should be behind bars). That is a given. Not even on the table. But likewise, I will not be a part in electing a narcissistic demagogue, either. It would simply be immoral for me, knowing Trump’s character and history, to pull a lever or mark a check box next to his name. #NeverTrump is trending on Twitter. I’ve adopted a twibbon with it. Senator Ben Sasse has written a very good article on why he would never vote for Trump. I know I am not alone in taking this stand.
But, that means you won’t have anyone to vote for! Possibly so! But that’s a vote for Hillary! No, it isn’t. I detest socialism and all it stands for, but detesting cancer does not mean that I like heart disease. And don’t tell me I have to vote for the lesser of two evils, because they are both still evil and to be honest, I am uncertain which one is more evil than the other! At least with the socialists I know what I’m getting. No one has a clue what Trump will do if elected, and the terrible thing is, we all know it, if we would but think with our minds rather than our emotions for just a few minutes in a row. Fascism isn’t a pretty thing, and that scowling face, foul-mouth, and constantly threatening attitude does not bode well for anyone who would dare oppose The Donald. He likes to say “You’re Fired!” and when he has executive power—well, as I said, we would be left with the courts as our final protection. Yeah, that’s dismal.
So, I may well be disenfranchised this election cycle—disenfranchised because sanity has flown out the window on both sides of the political aisle, leaving those who eschew emotionalism as a basis for action without a representation. I hope and pray this is not the case. There are still good candidates in the running. Miracles can happen; in particular, the election of one of those candidates would be a huge blessing to this nation. And as I see it, the only blessing this nation should be praying for is the blessing of heart-felt, soul-shaking repentance. It can happen. But if it doesn’t, well, Lord, make us faithful no matter what.