Trump change redux

In my November 10 post, Trump change, I reflected on the result of America’s November 8 presidential election. More, I wondered about the character of the Trump presidency, recognizing that it’s too early for me to tell, too early for me to arrive at a conclusion, any conclusion. Hence, as I wait, looking forward to what will be, what may be, I looked back and asked questions in regard to some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises.

Now, on this day after the day after the day after the day after Election Day, reflecting afresh on my November 10 point of view, I realize that my fundamental internal stance on that day was what I’ll term egalitarian idealism. In a word, believing in the God-given equality and respecting the dignity of all people, I gave Mr. Trump the proverbial benefit of the doubt.

This morning, I’m in a different place; one, in some abiding measure, the product of my responses to life’s disappointments, more akin to my typical skeptical, even pessimistic realism. In this light or perhaps more truly said, shadow, I ruminated on Jesus’ word from the Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of false prophets…You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7.15-17).

Prophecy, particularly of the biblical sort, is not a prediction of the future (which, I believe, is a common perception or rather misconception), but the proclamation of God’s revealed word to a community (which, in calling for a response from the people, bears within their choosing to obey or reject it future consequences).

I do not presume to cast Mr. Trump in the role of a biblical prophet. However, in the same way that I, in my November 10 post, looked at the substance of some of his campaign pledges, I think now of the spirit of his rhetoric. In this, Mr. Trump, as I perceive him and his words, fashioned his appeal on a homophobic, nativist, racist, sexist foundation, each element and all elements of which, in the brilliance of God’s love and justice, God’s unconditional benevolence and fairness for all, I believe to be bad fruit.

Given that a sufficient percentage of the electorate that cast ballots bought and ate of this fruit, I do predict that the future of America, indeed, the world will be difficult.

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2 thoughts on “Trump change redux

  1. The image of Mr. Trump that I cannot get out of my mind is the video of his mockery of the disabled journalist, coupled with the later outright lie (provably false) that his words and gestures could not have been mockery since he had never met the journalist. This, of course, is only ONE of the indelible images that many if not most Americans now live with of the man who is to be our next president. The scenes of his encouraging his supporters to immediate violence against protesters come to mind. The tweet that he sent only last week characterizing President Obama’s wise and beautiful defense of the Trump protester at the Clinton rally against those who wished to silence him as precisely the 180 degree opposite of what it actually was caused my mind to reel and my heart to crack once again. To be honest, Paul, I never heard a single promise that Donald Trump made during the course of his campaign. His demeanor and his behavior, revealing character built over the course of a lifetime, screamed so loudly and so distractingly over the past 18 months that I could not hear a word that came out of his mouth about anything regarding policy or substance. I could go on and on and on. Donald Trump has told us a million times over since he announced his intention to become president who he is and what he cares about. I believe him. I deeply sincerely believe him.

    I suppose the fact that there are now serious discussions by serious pundits, journalists, experts, politicians, etc about the policy positions of President-Elect Trump should cause us to make every effort to put those scenes and words described above and all the others that are indelibly in our memories out of our minds and begin to consider him a serious leader. I don’t know that I can do that. I will try, but I cannot, will not wrench my sanity to begin to believe that the man is something he has given us no indication he is. I believe he is the man he has shown us. Whether that can change overnight after 70 years is a question I’m willing, with great caution, to hold in abeyance.

    I awoke the morning after the election with the thought running through my head that surely there is some failsafe in our institutional structures that will prevent what could be a cataclysmic disaster when he takes office, that surely there are people in our government who are at this moment planning to do whatever is necessary to keep the worst from happening regardless of the fact that he will be our president. And I wondered who those people are. And as I wondered I began to conclude with great reluctance but with great clarity: I am that person. Everyone who cares about and loves this country is that person. Everyone who cares about the dignity and safety of women and girls, everyone who cares about people whose skin does not happen to be white, everyone who cares about GLBTQ people, everyone who cares about those who have only limited, if any, access to health care, everyone who cares about refugees and immigrants and those whose names don’t happen to be familiar European surnames – those people are the people who now must be vigilant, must be attentive, must be available and must above all be courageous. I am willing to give the president-elect every benefit of the doubt, but I am not willing to close my eyes and trust him.

    Yesterday I pinned a safety pin to my jacket. I understand that many Brits adopted the practice after the Brexit vote and that it is now being adopted by those in this country who wish to convey that we are willing and ready to offer safety to those who may not feel safe in this new world we entered on Wednesday morning, that we are willing to stand guard and resist, in whatever ways may be necessary, what needs to be resisted in the coming months and years. I hope I can be worthy of the symbolic promise of my safety pin.

    I hope that Donald Trump is a magnificent president who can heal our division and the wounds that so many people in this country appear to be feeling. I hope that he can offer solutions to bring our world to a more peaceful and secure place than it has been in for many years. I don’t know what he promised, but if it is good and just and peaceful and productive, I am all for it. I give him my sincere good wishes. But I and many others will be watching what he and the party now completely in power in Washington will do. My safety pin is on my lapel for a long time to come.

    Thanks, Paul, for spurring me to put my own feelings into words. God bless us all as we enter this era.

    Love and hope,

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen, yours is a sane and sage voice in response to November 8. I, too, pray to have greater courage in defense of the sanctity and security of self of all those persons and groups who were disparaged, savaged during this campaign, whilst, at the same time, being able and willing to grant Mr. Trump and his administration the benefit of the doubt unless or until his intentions, especially those that match his campaign rhetoric, come into brighter light (or darker shadow).

      I had not heard of the safety pin on the lapel. What a wonderfully symbolic act of solidarity for the marginalized anon us, verily, for all of us who harbor in the heart of our hope the fulfillment of the dream of inclusion.

      Much love,
      Paul

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