I recently wrote four simple thoughts before election day and now I will offer three simple thoughts in the wake of a Trump victory.
Media and America
Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan critiques her profession and says, “In the end, a huge number of American voters wanted something different. And although these voters shouted and screamed it, most journalists just weren’t listening. They didn’t get it.” The past eight years of the Obama administration has brought significant change to the social and cultural landscape of our country. Issues that are primary for many urban-based, liberal-minded Americans, which constitutes most journalists, received unprecedented attention and action. For the first time, issues related to the LGBT community were not just rhetorically batted around but actual policies were implemented. For the first time, universal healthcare was not just a wish to be discussed among fellow dreamers but became the hallmark of President Obama’s leadership. And so forth.
In light of these radical changes that occurred over a relatively short amount of time, I believe there has been a reluctance at best and a refusal at worst to remember the millions and millions of working-class Americans who fundamentally view things differently. It is as if any voice other than the progressive voice of a specific social agenda is barbaric, reflecting an ancient time where people were less educated and ill-informed. Surely America has moved on from those dark ages of our political past and surely their voice is not one we have to worry about, right?
Well, it seems the media has received a wake-up call on the power of every American voice, not just those who fall into a certain ideological camp. Sullivan summarizes her thoughts and says, “although we touched down in the big red states for a few days, or interviewed some coal miners or unemployed autoworkers in the Rust Belt, we didn’t take them seriously. Or seriously enough.”
The Conservatism of Trump
I’m not very good at predictions. I would have made a terrible biblical prophet. But here is my prediction – in addition to the plethora of character concerns related to Donald Trump, those of us who identify as politically and spiritually conservative have been questioning his conservatism from the very beginning. I can’t help but think that on several key issues for conservatives, such as the right to life, Donald Trump will backstep into the shadows where he hopes conservatives can’t see him while he politically moves toward the center. In this way, I wonder if progressives might find his administration to be rather kind to many of the social issues for which they and President Obama have been advocating. Having said that, there are still other areas where Trump seems to be determined to go the other direction from Obama, such as climate change and universal healthcare. So, we shall see.
I really like President Obama. I really dislike most of his policies. But he seems like a great man who loves his family, loves children, and loves our country. I respect President Obama because he had a clear agenda in 2008 and for the most part, he achieved what he set out to do. Conviction – Vision – Implementation. Now, it just so happens that my convictions and his convictions are usually polar opposite from one another and I grieve the impact over many of the laws that have been established by the President. But here’s the thing…
Whether or not I might be happy if some of President Obama’s policies are repealed by President Trump, I can nevertheless empathize with President Obama. Can you imagine what it would be like to have worked a significant part of your life to make something that millions of people told you was impossible become the law of the land? In the process, dealing with attack after attack after attack. And finally, when your life goal is met, it could very well all be undone with a stroke of a pen by the next President. That is brutal. Again, I’m not commenting on whether it is politically correct or best for our country. I’m simply saying that from a human-to-human standpoint, I feel bad for the guy if a big part of his presidential work is undone with a signed document. That would be hard to take.
I have been working at my church for 5 years to establish a culture of gospel-minded discipleship. To help our congregation see the power of the righteousness of Christ in them (we are hidden!). To help them view the bigness of God like never before and desire to be fed by the Bible. I have worked with my staff and volunteers to implement ministries to achieve these things, to adopt language for our church that signifies these things, and so forth. I can only imagine what it would be like if a pastor came in behind me and essentially tore it all apart. That would sting.
So, depending on what President Trump does the first year in office, I could anticipate President Obama having the wind knocked out of him as he watches much of his life work erased away.
Grace and peace to you all, and remember, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God first. Always and forever.