I’m told repeatedly that if I don’t vote for Trump, I’m voting for Hillary. I’m told at least once that if I don’t vote for Hillary, I’m voting for Trump. If I lived on one of the left coasts, that doubtless would be reversed (as the pro-Hillary admonition came from the coast).
I’ve been mulling over this analogy:
As I struggle to survive in the storm-tossed sea, two boats arrive. From the first boat, an oar comes crashing down at me again and again. It becomes rapidly apparent that the occupants are not trying to save me. They are trying to kill me. I swim away as quickly as possible. The second boat arrives, and it becomes clear that there is some confusion on board. They try to extend an oar to me, but first it reaches wide, then it hits me in the head. Eventually I can grab on, but it is a struggle. Some are trying to bring me into the boat, others are interested in other things and get in the way.
All things considered, it is better to move toward the second boat than the first. It will hurt, but I stand a better chance of surviving, and even of thriving. It all depends upon where the power lies at the moment.
I’m a politically conservative, traditional Christian. You now know which party is boat 1 and which is boat 2.
So, isn’t it clear? If nothing better shows up by election day, I swim back to boat 2, right?
Here I sit, biting my tongue, trying to figure out what’s wrong with the logic of that.
I think the answer is that I can tread water, or let boats 1 and 2 sink themselves or each other (as they seem likely to do), or hope for a third boat. As “Thomas Hobbes” put in the protagonist’s mouth in Victoria, “An early lesson I’d learned about war was that if the enemy gave you two options, refuse them both and do something else.”
America is in a very bad way. So far as I can see, “Clinton vs. Trump” has “God’s judgment” written all over it (and our unintelligibility to one another, so very like Babel, reinforces that feeling).
I sing every Sunday “put not your trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation.” I don’t think God sent either of these boats to rescue me, so I feel no guilt rejecting both. I just feel sorry that America has come to this.
Under Clinton, I and mine will experience a deeper dhimmitude than that begun under Obama, as the new ascendant religion explains “رعشة الجماع akhbar!” I cannot vote for that.
If I vote for Trump, though, I’ll be complicit in God-knows-what narcissistic crap (since nobody, including him, has a clue what he really, enduringly believes, and
some much of what he says is seriously unhinged). Aware of Godwin’s law, I’ll just say that that’s all I’m going to say.
If I vote for neither, my conscience will be clearer than if I vote for either. Observant Christians have two millennia of experience treading water in hostile seas. We’re just returning, on our distinctly American path, to the historic norm.
“Hell is a democracy. Heaven is a kingdom.”
St. John of Kronstadt
Fr. Michael Azkoul provides an excellent charge for Orthodox Christians that applies to all Christians today:
“ … an Orthodox Christian is faced with the dilemma of living in a society which is basically hostile and alien to him. Of course, we must honor the president, obey just laws and do no harm to any man. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to become an intrinsic part of secular society. The early Christians were accused of being ‘anti-social’ because they would not become involved in the affairs of the pagan Roman Empire, so we must expect the same reproach.”
(Both quoted in On Christian Monarchy)
I still think I’ll pass on both boats.
I can be pretty shameless at times, so here goes.
If you’re an Evangelical for whom Tuesday’s Evangelical “get acquainted meeting” with Donald Trump, followed by formation of a big-name Evangelical Advisory Board for Trump, is the last straw, you really should look into Orthodox Christianity.
Disgust for Evangelicalism isn’t reason enough actually to become Orthodox, and I fervently hope that any Priest who catechizes you will prevent your reception on that basis. But I’ll work with anything that gets people to look into Orthodoxy, be it Donald Trump or whatever else brings on recurrent Sunday morning indigestion at Church time.
Here are two places to start, but the best is to visit an English-language Orthodox Church near you every Sunday for a month, since your first Sunday will be mind-blowing — either irresistibly seductive or powerfully off-putting.
as parable, might actually get me out to the movies.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)