In all fairness, I have tried to stick with the general truism that it’s better to only write about what you know. My attempts at fiction and my assertions about what it takes to be successful as a human being are pretty one dimensional, because it is rather difficult for me to develop and hold together a complex world that is not my own. If my writing seems overly self-absorbed and/or boring, it’s because I strive to only write about what I know.
In complete and sober honesty, I have not been a very successful prophet, when it comes to predicting the future. At one time, I honestly believed that George W. Bush was going to declare martial law as he mustered in the Patriot Act and ramped up the country for war with Iraq. I believed that he was a sinister man from a dark cabal of a family who played the role of the buffoon and verbally inadequate public speaker to make people think he was a lot dumber than he really was.
I can say truthfully that I only once believed that Obama was going to radically change America for the better, and that was after his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Every speech he uttered after that seemed to indicate a man who was not quite prepared to take the office of President, but between him and Biden, there was more qualification than McCain plus Palin. There were a few times where I was marginally concerned that Obama might even be the Antichrist, that he was overstepping his bounds of power too much, and at the beginning when he held such a strong majority America having a favorable opinion of him.
I never have been convinced that Hillary is as bad as those on the right say that she is, nor has the left ever done a good enough job of convincing me that she is as great as they say she is. I am too jaded to believe in third party candidates and Bernie Sanders types. Once again, in 2016, I basically weighed the qualifications and competancies of the two people from each party, and the Democrats seemed to be slightly more favorable. Also, Trump frankly terrifies me because of his lack of predictability. Who knows what he will ultimately end up doing? In all of my attempts to objectively assess Trump and Clinton, Trump seemed more likely to be the kind of individual who would declare martial law and crown himself king–and also have the backing of a bunch of fearful Americans following some kind of Reichstag burning event.
But, from where I sit now, I hold no more illusions that I can change anything that happens at those levels of power. I am having a hard enough time changing myself for the better–making myself into a more sociable and likeable person who would excel at being the associate pastor of a medium-sized mainline Protestant church in a small city or large town that was predominantly a college town somewhere in the Midwest, Northwest or Southeast.
At seminary, I have met some genuinely good people. I have gotten an opportunity to see what really good, decent, giving and caring people look like. I know that I have an enormous amount of work to do before I could call myself one of these people.
I still have some faith in the Lord. I wish I had more than I do. I think I am going to need a lot more faith to get me through the next few years. I believe that God ultimately has a plan for me and my family, and for humanity as well. I just can’t read the news anymore and see it at work. As a Christian, for me, the most important thing is being a good Samaritan, a loving neighbor. This comes before any sense of what is best for my country. Maybe it is heresy for me to say that as an American who is supposed to put country slightly before God or family these days, but I think that any careful reading of Christ tells you to put Christ first, and country and family second. This isn’t about leaving your family to a pack of wolves, but about putting yourself and your family in God’s hands instead of in the hands of the President or the military.
As a Christian, then, the idea of refusing hospitality to those who are in most need of it is exceptionally abhorrent. When Trump said things like, “We aren’t going to have a country soon, if things keep going they way they have…” I first of all don’t believe such rhetoric for a minute. But, secondly, if I did, I shouldn’t care, because those who would put country first have created an idol of their patriotism, and they are now worshiping that idol. I firmly believe that those who would put their gun rights over the safety of children worship guns as idols. I believe that those who are concerned about too many brown people in their country have made an idol out of their own white skin and their flag and all of the myths that accompany this country that would prop up the idols they worship first (including football, pickup trucks, guns, etc.) before they would consider what it means to follow Christ.
“If you don’t like it, you can leave…” is a common response. There are many things you can say to that. First of all, why didn’t all of Obama’s detractors leave during Obama’s presidency? That would have been helpful. Why do these people insist on following the laws of the land and quote Jesus’ saying “give to Ceasar’s what is Ceasar’s” when the laws are in their favor, but seek to abolish the laws and change them when the laws aren’t? But, my response these days is: “no, I don’t have to leave, because God put me here on this earth in this time and place. I follow Christ first, who the hell do you follow? Mammon? Guns? A flag? Your own warped ideas about who belongs here?” And, more realistically, I still do keep on the table leaving as a possibility. I don’t have any qualms about becoming a citizen of New Zealand, except for how hard it would be on my wife’s parents who seek to have an active role in my son’s life.
Today, I am prepared to die for Christ, if it were to come to that. I am not quite ready to offer up my family as additional martyrs, though I must contend that having faith in an ultimate afterlife means that I must be prepared to lose everything during a relationship with Christ. I do believe that most evangelical Christians who support Trump have lost their way. They have made a bargain with the devil in hopes that it won’t hurt too much and that the devil will keep his promise to put a judge on the Supreme Court bench who will do away with abortion. They have chosen a man who has spent his entire life lost in a love of mammon and sin as their President, because a few of their leaders like Dobson and Falwell believe Trump has sincerely converted to their so-called authentic form of Christianity in the past year.
We’ll see what happens. I think a lot of people are going to be very disappointed when their Mexican wall and their ending of Obamacare doesn’t net them the golden calf of more manufacturing jobs they were hoping for. They will, of course, buy hook line and sinker Trump’s assertions that the jobs didn’t come back due to Obama and Bill Clinton, and then before people get too mad, Trump will allow a terrorist attack on our soil that is on the level of 9/11, and people will get scared, and Trump’s approval ratings will go through the roof–Herr Trump, we are so sorry we ever doubted you. Trump will even have Alex Jones believing his false flag is the real deal–the one false flag Alex Jones should have seen coming is the one that fat sack of shit will miss.
One thing that I keep swearing I will stop writing about and obsessing over is Donald Trump and the news articles that are coming out daily about how bad things are. It makes me feel better temporarily to drop some random opinion down about everything, but I’m not really changing anything. Nobody will read what I write until after I’ve been dead for a long time.
Inevitably, my thoughts return to politics, because it is that odd sort of world where I can maintain the illusion that I have some control over what is about to happen when I really don’t. I don’t have any more control over what Trump will do next than I do over what God will do next, but saying shit about Trump feels better most of the time than talking smack about God.