I just finished watching the second presidential debate with my husband and two sons. Now I need to talk about what we just heard and witnessed. Please know that these are only my personal thoughts and observations. You are entitled to your views, just as I am entitled to mine.
First, you should know that I am normally not involved in politics. It isn’t that I don’t care that I have the right to vote, it’s just that politics matter little in what I believe God requires of His believers. Right now I know some of y’all just picked up some stones to chuck at my head. 😉
Let me explain. My personal views on what a Christian life should look like stem from my observations of Jesus’ life. Jesus’ popularity developed at a time of great political unrest. The Jews hated that they were under the rule of the Romans. Jesus knew this and could have taken advantage of that charged political atmosphere to garner supporters and amass a great following. He could have secured followers using forceful political rhetoric, and challenged Roman rule with the backing of his fellow Jews. It would have seemed a noble cause, a great rallying point, a quest for justice and freedom. But that is not what he did.
Why not? The first reason is that Jesus came not to establish His kingdom on earth, but to plant the seeds that would come to fruition at a later time. When seeds are planted, it takes time for them to sprout, strengthen and grow. The seeds of faith that Jesus planted needed time to grow. The seeds which grew into young plants needed pruning to help strengthen and train them into useful living organisms. Jesus came to plant the seed which would one day flourish, grow into mature plants, and be harvested into His eternal kingdom. He did not come to tear up all the weeds and stick a bunch of adult wheat in the ground. The Church, his holy bride, had to develop and mature over time, until she was ready. If Jesus’ method for bringing about the Kingdom of God did not incorporate the political system of his day, why should ours?
If Jesus had chosen the political rallying method of establishing his kingdom, he would have been operating according to man’s ways, not God’s ways. So I tend to take a long-term view of God’s Kingdom and politics in general. I know that political leaders and parties will come and go. I know that laws and policies will change. However, I also know that God will NEVER change. I base the direction of my life on God, not any political party or leader. There will never be a political leader who will accurately represent the God I love. A fallen man can never fill the shoes of God.
So I don’t usually concern myself with politics. Whatever is happening around me politically, I know what God has commanded me to do, and that is to glorify Him and make disciples. I can do that under a Democratic President, and I can do that under a Republican President.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Romans 13: 1-7 (NIV)
But there comes a day when the political rhetoric and obtuseness in your country becomes so great that you can’t keep your mouth shut any longer. That day has arrived for me.
When many of my fellow Christians endorse a candidate who is so much the opposite of Jesus, whom we are called to emulate, there is something wrong. What I saw of Trump tonight convinced me that he is a person who:
- Plays the blame game extraordinarily well. I couldn’t believe how much finger-pointing and blaming he did. He blamed Hillary for not fixing inner cities, for not changing tax laws, for the failure of Obamacare, for any issues in New York (where she was Senator), for the failings of the Senate, for foreign policy failings. Is there anything that he believes she is not solely responsible for? I had no idea this woman was juggling so many hats all by her lonesome! Point: Does God call us to play the blame-game with others or to own up to our own faults? A political candidate needs to accept criticisms without automatically reverting to blaming others.
- Does not reconcile the things he says and believes. I don’t even know where to start. Trump has said so many offensive and hurtful things to people from a variety of different people groups–African Americans, POWs, women, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims, etc. Yet, when asked if he would fairly represent all people in America, he answered yes. His insulting words contradict his claims about wanting to fairly represent all US citizens and undertake the leadership of this country. You can’t disrespect and belittle whole swaths of American citizens and then in the next breath, say that you will serve and represent them in an unbiased manner. Point: A politician who is cavalier about mocking, belittling and disliking numerous people groups is not someone who should be put in a position of power over those people groups.
- Lacks specific, concrete plans. I cannot count the number of times he used broad generalities in his language which conveyed absolutely no facts. Language such as: very, so much, a lot, really, awful, terrible, etc. do not convey any real meaning. This is the language of someone who wants to make you think something, but they don’t bother to gather any facts to back up their statements. Please use numbers, names, and hard facts. Facts, people, facts. If you hear a sentence from a candidate which is meant to send you into an emotional state and it isn’t backed up by anything more than their assurance that things are really, really awful, put your emotions on hold. Check out the facts before getting drawn into the emotionally charged mire. Also, when Trump talked about what he would do for America, he did not share specifics. If he is to inspire confidence in his followers, he has to know where he is going. I got the sense that he was simply bluffing by saying the things people want to hear, without actually having any plans to follow through with. Point: A political candidate should not be so cavalier about spreading messages which are based on nothing more than their opinion and vague, emotionally-charged statements.
- Lacks focus. I found myself saying ‘huh?’ on multiple occasions. Some of the things which Trump said didn’t make any sense. Perhaps he was flustered, but the President of the US needs to be able to utter coherent sentences. I just want to hear some thoughts which a reasonable person can follow and make some sense of. Another issue related to lack of focus was his tendency to go off on tangents. Trump had an uncanny ability to take a seemingly straightforward question and completely derail it so that he could talk about whatever he wanted to talk about. I get that politicians do this, but what we need are real answers to real questions. At least do the American people the dignity of talking to us like your peers.
- Acts immature. This came through in what seemed like petulant remarks which a politician with more experience would understand is not a desirable trait in a President. There were also remarks and behavior which reminded me of how a bully would behave. Do we want our President to employ bullying tactics with the people he disagrees with? Really?
- Knows how to play both the business system, and now the political system. This is a man who knows how to manipulate. He is confident, commanding, and knows how to get people to see and/or feel a certain way. If Trump wants to make you upset about Muslims, all he needs to do is use language which will incite fear in his listeners. Then he will manipulate you into thinking that he has the answer for this problem. Of course you’ll see him as the political savior! This man plays peoples’ emotions and fears like a harp. Do not submit to such manipulation!
That’s it. Those are my thoughts and observations based on tonight’s debate. I wish that I could keep silent at this time and just let politics play out its normal back and forth shift, but there are people who should not exercise control over others. I believe that Donald Trump is just such a man.
I fear for our country should he come to power. I fear for women, people with disabilities, American Muslims, African Americans, and Latinos in the US. Do I want to see my fellow countrymen belittled and made to feel less than? Do I want the leader of our country to deny the worth which God has placed in all of his created beings? No way!
I’m not advocating Hillary, but I’m pleading with my fellow Christians to stop allowing Donald Trump to use his hatred, bigotry, and divisive rhetoric to divide us. Our identity is in Christ first. Period. End of sentence. How will others know we are true Christians? By our love for one another. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ–male, female, old, young, disabled, African American, Latino, and all other colors under the sun. I even love Muslims, though we are not brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because my Father created and loves them, just as much as he loves me and those I hold dearest in my heart. Let the unity of God remain between those who love Christ.
Trump doesn’t even enter into it.