An Evangelical friend of 50+ years, after some back-and-forth on Trump, rejects the “lousy choice” escape route I offered and insists:
I’m thrilled to vote for Trump, the BEST candidate of my whole lifetime of being a voter.
Also, some of my mentors, now I’m learning, are feeling exactly this way …
Praise the Lord!
I wish I was making that up. My friend has been voting since 1968. She has seen a lot of qualified candidates. But Trump, the notorious con man, is the BEST.
In her heart of hearts, I don’t think she believes this, but she says it vehemently (and, if I’m right that she doesn’t really believe it, profanely, by adding “Praise the Lord!”).
Having repeatedly mocked, scorned, belittled and berated both Trump and Clinton, I want to reiterate that if someone in 2016 says “What a lousy choice this election poses!” and then votes for Trump (or Hillary), I have no particular problem with that. Servility to the two-party system is so common that should I vilify people who feel trapped by it, I’ll have no friends left to speak of.
What really bothers me are all the rationales for either Trump or Hillary being a really fine choice – particularly Evangelicals plumping for Trump.
Surely there are Evangelical rationales for voting for Hillary (I may have seen one or two on Patheos), but I was never the kind of Evangelical to whom such rationales would have appealed, and I rarely see them.
But I was the kind of Evangelical to whom Old Testament analogies would have appealed, such as Trump-as-Cyrus. Cyrus, King of Persia, sent Israel back to rebuild their Temple. Nice work for a pagan. Ergo, pagan Trump is our Cyrus.
But that was after Nebuchadnezzar, also reportedly as God’s unwitting, pagan agent, burnt the Temple down.
Hmmmm. Maybe you can’t cherry-pick your preferred Old Testament pagan antecedent as a sovereign God’s agent. But Evangelicals have been “proving” all kinds of preposterous things by rejecting the Christian Tradition, cherry-picking verses, and eisegeting the Bible for centuries now.
Not only do we have a rotten, rotten choice between major party candidates and people pretending the Trump’s spit is God-sent rain, but we have a Clinton-opponent Governor saying, in the immediate context of whether the country can survive Hillary, that “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood of who? The tyrants to be sure. But who else? The patriots.” Eisegete that, Values Voter.
And we have a U.S. Civil Rights Commission, plus Democrat and Libertarian Presidential candidates, who despise religious liberty. The Democrat has even demanded that religions change their supposedly atavistic views (in a remark about reproductive rights, Hillary declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed”).
This may end even more badly than I’ve thought, and I’m a real glass-half-empty kinda guy.
Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal columnist, answers NeverTrump for Dummies questions. This much I agree with:
Q: The choice is a Republican candidate who may disagree with Wall Street Journal orthodoxies on trade and immigration but otherwise wants to cut taxes and regulations, strengthen defense, appoint conservative judges, and take advice from people like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan.
A: You seem to think we elect a policy menu. My fundamental objection to Mr. Trump is that he is unfit, as a person, to be president.
Q: Oh, please. I’ll grant he’s a bit rough around the edges, but that’s because he’s a nonpolitician. He’s also a brilliant businessman who made billions of dollars.
A: I might believe that claim if he would release his tax returns, or if six of his businesses hadn’t gone bankrupt, or if he hadn’t been involved in more than 4,000 lawsuits, or if he didn’t routinely shortchange his suppliers or stiff his charities.
Q: Spoken like an elitist who doesn’t know what it’s like to run a business.
A: The successful entrepreneurs I know run their businesses with prudence, openness and integrity.
Q: Still, you can’t argue with success.
A: What Mr. Trump has achieved isn’t success. It’s notoriety. He has more in common with Kanye West than he does with Steve Wynn. And he isn’t just rough around the edges. He’s rotten to the core.
Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler. One was a psychopath who believed his raving rants. The other is a con man.
“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
The [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights] report is called “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling nondiscrimination principles with civil liberties.” Its top finding is this: “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws, and policies, are of pre-eminent importance in American jurisprudence.”
Translation: Nuisances including the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion guarantee take a back seat to the rapidly multiplying non-discrimination causes such as the “right” to coerce any baker you want into baking the cake you want for your same-sex wedding.
In her own submission to the report, the commission’s Gail Heriot pinpoints the flaw in the finding. A University of San Diego law professor, Ms. Heriot says she could easily imagine a case for Mr. Castro’s position. But instead of an argument, she says, the commission offers a decree.
“By starting with an assertion that antidiscrimination laws are ‘pre-eminent,’ she writes, “the Commission’s analysis essentially begins with its conclusion. Why should anyone accept it? The Commission said so.”
(William McGurn, emphasis added) I don’t accept it. Antidiscrimination laws are not pre-eminent. They’re exceptions to a more general rule of freedom of association even for people in business, and discrimination on countless bases that lack the LGBTetc. cachet remain unprotected still.
In Mr. Castro’s world, those who dissent from the prevailing pieties are deemed unfit for the public square . . . the judgment of federal agencies substitutes for Congress . . . and Justice Anthony Kennedy is free to take his own private mystery of the universe and impose it on the nation by unearthing constitutional rights unmentioned in the Constitution at the expense of the rights that are.
(McGurn, emphasis added) The world of Hillary is a world where Barack Obama, the worst President yet on religious freedom, loses his crown.
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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)