Today is "Super Tuesday" in our country. After today, we'll probably have a good idea who the Presidential nominees will be from our two major political parties. We've talked before about how our hope is in the Kingdom of God, and not in who our "king" is. No matter who is elected President in the USA, the church will go on, and our expectations for the government should remain in check.
Having said that, "under the sun", there are some very interesting things going on in our politics, . . especially as it relates to one, Donald Trump. I've never seen as many articles written about one candidate. I've never seen the polarization of opinion as stark as it is with Donald Trump. (I mean, . . have you ever seen a sign like the picture above?)
I have a lot of thoughts about this :) I am aware of, currently, two friends who would vote for Donald Trump. After thinking about it, I also have a strong feeling, if he were still alive, that my dad would vote for Trump. It's not a circus sideshow anymore. This is happening. What has happened? Here are some of my thoughts:
1) People are angry. People feel disenfranchised. They will not read our various intellectual pieces decrying Donald Trump. My two friends probably won't read this :) In fact a large part of what Mr. Trump has tapped into is. . . "I don't want them (the people in Washington) to tell me what to think or say anymore". There is a large group of people in our country who have felt unwelcome and patronized by our government. Some of them are voting for Trump, at some level, because everyone is telling them not to. Revenge is a big part of this. Trump supporters are mad as h--- and they aren't going to take it anymore. It doesn't matter if there are more logical alternatives, they want to be heard, and want the government to be "reset". We should be careful who we're patronizing, how we speak about various regions of our country, and keep an open mind. People get sick of being treated with an attitude of "how could you think this way?". A large part of America is tired of that.
2) Trump is also running on a platform of fear and xenophobia (fear of "the other"). The reason this works is partly because fear mongering always works :), and like we said above, . . .many people are tired of being told how they should feel about a certain group of people. They want the freedom of thought. Ironically, Trump is giving them a strict protectionist stream of thought. But, at least, they feel free to express things that are seen as "inappropriate" by most.
We have no one to blame but ourselves. The number of "evangelicals" supporting Trump is a scandal. Not because the core members of our churches are voting Trump (even though two of my friends are), but because so many "fringe" Christians are not really connected to a church, yet self-identify as evangelicals. And, we're all ok with this. . . . apparently.
As Christians, our political instincts should be exactly the opposite of anger, fear, and revenge. We have a "better country", Hebrews tells us. This should give us steady hope in the face of any injustice we feel is being perpetrated against us. Our hope is not in any authoritarian leader, our own guns, or our own strength. We trust "in the Name of the Lord our God". Christians in the 1st Century gladly accepted "the plundering of their property" because their hope was sure in Heaven, with Christ.
So, do we always just "take it". . . and just let injustice against us, stand (real or imagined)? No. The apostle Paul did not "just take it". But, the way we push back against it, is with the Gospel in view. . .with our "better country" in view. . . with our redemption in view, kept for us in Heaven where it cannot "spoil or fade". We don't fight with the weapons of this world. When we advocate for things we believe in strongly, we do it while LOVING one another. We don't have to demonize others while advocating for something we believe in. We don't have to be afraid of the unknown. When we aim to protect our families, we should do so without alienating and hating others. We're not in control anyway.
The USA is not a church, and our President is not the pastor. So, I don't expect our whole country to interact politically with the Gospel in view. But, I do expect Christians to interact that way. And even if our next President is Donald Trump, and we find out a lot about ourselves as Americans this year. . . . . let's press on with our Savior and use the opportunity for the church (yes, . . opportunity) to show ourselves as a true "counter-culture". The Gospel changes things. The Gospel is more powerful than fear, anger, or revenge. We have a better country. . . .