I watched the Trump acceptance speech – all of it. I also watched Ivanka. In Trumpspeech: Not that pleased with the first – Surprisingly pleased with the latter — Believe me.
I live among people who are not happy with Trump. But sometimes I think they are posturing, since they probably have a relative from the South or Middle Pennsylvania (or keeping quiet in Philly, at least) who thinks Trump is great. So they must have some sense of affinity with the guy. Don’t worry if you do or you don’t — It is crazy politics, people, but it is still just politics. And even if the election turns out to be a life and death matter for some people, we are still Jesus followers. Every election serves to remind us why we are glad to have a savior who triumphs over death. I don’t say that in a fatalistic way, just a realistic one. I know Americans think they can control everything so nothing bad will happen or happen again, but how many times does our control system need to be proven faulty until we give up on it?
In the spirit of charity I would like to try a third way to judge Trump – not work hard to take him seriously and gloss over his faults, and not just point out all the lies he told last night and despair over his angry, divisive approach, but a caring way. I want to try an understanding look at Trump from the bluest of cities. Why are people voting for him? And why might he win the presidency? Here are seven things that people find positive about him:
- He understands how irritating the overreaching government is — all the way down to telling you how to speak.
- He understands how people are tired of the 1% getting away with everything. Hillary’s emails are another example. He at least admits he gets away with things. People admire how he hoodwinks the system for his own benefit because that is what they have to try to do to get by.
- He understands that people want Americans to be Americans. It is a nationalistic country. People don’t want it divided up and don’t want people to call them bigoted when they want a citizenship standard.
- He understands why people are mad and scared. It is hard to get by. Every time you turn around someone has their hand in your pocket, mostly the government and those who have the inside track with the government. It is hard to feel safe. People all watch TV all the time and don’t trust anyone to tell the truth, but bad things are happening all over and we know about them.
- He understands that people have finally gotten wind that the system is rigged against anyone who is not rich. People want the authorities to “do their job” and lock up people who sidestep the law.
- His children are good looking, well-spoken and loyal, even if they did come from three mothers.
- He has gotten things done and the government has been a gridlocked mess for sixteen years. Every major decision that is made seems half-baked (Obamacare) or wrong (Iraq).
Jesus followers can see the good in everyone, or at least we can have some empathy for why they think what they believe is good. We love people.
When I was watching the RNC reality show, I kept thinking of what Hillary tweeted during it, “We we are better than this.”
I am not sure Hillary can do better (unless she can repent of skirting the law and the truth all the time). But I do think we Jesus-followers (at least the ones who are not trying to run the world) can do better. We ought to do better, too, rather than just reacting to politics as if they are the focus of all our hope or the end of the world.
I think we and many Jesus followers are doing a LOT better. If we speak the truth in love and build communities that look and act like we share the love of Jesus, then we can offer people an alternative that is better than whatever is already messing them up. Whoever gets elected is going to need a lot of prayer; they are winning a position that is nothing but trouble — what else is new? But Jesus told us not to let our hearts be troubled with the latest trouble. He still overcomes the world, no matter what the trouble in whatever country. Let’s overcome with Him. Why should people get stuck with Trump and Hillary as if nothing better is available to them?