Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sore winners, sore losers

A number of supporters of Donald Trump are noting that many of his opponents, skewing young, have taken to the streets in major cities, some apparently rioting. Such supporters are pooh-poohing the demonstrators, complaining that they’re sore losers and can’t accept that he’s the president-elect.

Why can’t they just grow up? seems to be the refrain.

Frankly, those folks don’t have the authority to tell anyone else to grow up and accept the voters’ verdict. The last two Democratic administrations — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — faced unrelenting opposition from those same folks. And I don’t mean just demonstrations, either.

During the 1992 campaign conservative activists filed suit in Federal Court in Little Rock, Ark., to get Clinton off the ballot. Just after he took office early the next year the bumper sticker “Don’t blame me — I voted for [George H.W.] Bush” began appearing. Not long after that conservative media started running smear campaigns, from “Troopergate” to Vince Foster, and he was finally impeached on frivolous charges in 1999.

As for Obama, GOP congressmen and senators said even before the 2008 general election that they wouldn’t work with anyone who didn’t agree with them. Sen. Mitch McConnell said that they intended to make him into a “one-term president” (which had never been said before). Then you have the “birther” movement, which questioned whether he was even born in this country (and that essentially kicked off Trump’s campaign). Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin even suggested that Obama might or should be impeached.

That being said, people are grieving not just because Hillary Clinton lost — they are really scared, given Trump’s bullying tactics, willingness to abuse women and open disdain for people of color and Muslims, which was part of his appeal. Indeed, that’s part of the reason they voted for Hillary in the first place, and dismissing that possible threat serves only to divide further.

Bottom line, many of the people supporting Trump have been sore losers in the past and are acting like sore winners today. As such, as far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t tell anyone else how to respond to defeat or victory, as the case may be.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Judgment at the door?

If it’s possible to think like this, the judgment of God against many of His people in America began to accelerate on Tuesday.

That, of course, was Election Day, when Donald J. Trump who, as one writer put it, ran the “most secular campaign” in decades, was elected President of the United States. And, as a shocker to me personally, exit polling indicated that he won 80 percent of the evangelical vote.

Yes, 80 percent for the thrice-married philanderer who, among other things, has never given a credible testimony as to his faith in Jesus Christ, not only made racist remarks and never disavowed white supremacists who endorsed him but had participated in discriminatory business practices, said at a campaign rally that someone needed to be “punched in the face,” ran casinos and virtually bragged about seducing married women.

And why? Solely because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. In my view, not good enough and probably idolatrous because people ended up trading Biblical principles for political power.

In an arrogant, graceless post, evangelist Franklin Graham wrote, “While the media scratches their heads and [try] to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country.” Implying, of course, that if you voted for Hillary — as many Christians did, believe me — you were part of the problem.

That dog won’t hunt. Not only does Graham ignore the real pain of people who really did feel that Trump, whom he endorsed, was not only a threat for purely political reasons but also that — as I learned yesterday — some women who had survived sexual abuse were in fact triggered by his tendency toward what he dismissed as “locker-room talk.”

Over the past couple of days there has been talk about “unity,” mainly from Trump supporters eager for everyone else to get behind the president-elect. But there can never be such without the acknowledgment of feeling wounded and the healing that needs to take place in the meantime, not to mention the real fear that they won’t be heard. That’s why we saw demonstrations in major cities early Wednesday morning, after the votes were counted.

And if my experience is any indication, this is what many conservatives will never do — they’ve put their lust for power above people.

Do that too often and you become useless to God, Who will never share His glory with anyone else. Such folks tend to put Him in a certain box, assuming that He will work only when they’re in power. And that’s where the judgment comes in.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Could Hillary be 'God's tool?'

One justification for Christians voting for Donald Trump is the hope that, despite his profane lifestyle, God would use him as a tool to bring righteousness to America — based only on his support of the “right” issues. (Pun intended.)

I think that He would have bigger fish to fry than that. And for that reason, it could be that Hillary Clinton might play that role.

But Hillary doesn’t support a ban on abortion or religious freedom, you might say. How can that be the case?

Work with me here …

Since 1992 we’ve seen a lot of ugliness in the Christian community, especially toward the Clintons, for Bill’s getting elected in the first place. We’ve not only believed but in many cases spread the lies about their alleged corruption, for which there’s no real proof. And no, the media aren’t hiding anything.

The first thing we need to understand is that God cannot work through dirty hearts more interested in mischief than justice. That might be why the attacks on the Clintons are having precious little effect — at least, not enough to keep her out of the White House as things stand now, and with the election less than a week away I see no way that she’ll lose.

So some repentance might be in order.

Second, we forget or don’t even consider that change comes not from the top down but from the bottom up. The “religious right” didn’t understand that, which is why, despite its appeals to politicians, it has had little effect and even began collapsing once Bill left — because it was always an opposition movement and never held the people it supported to the same standard. That’s why its support of Trump is problematic.

What Hillary might end up doing is showing the world our hypocrisy — and, were we to acknowledge it, it might make us stronger. If that happens, spiritual renewal might be just around the corner.

But not until then.