I have spent the better part of this day wondering how to respond to the Election. (This was not just any election. This was The Election.) Here are a few take aways I have.
- Republicans finally put a nail in the coffin that contained the corpse of public virtue. It has been assumed that the person who occupies the highest office in the land would at least pretend to be a person of virtue (even though we know that many of them were not). That is no longer the case. A thrice divorced man who is caught on tape admitting to attempted adultery and sexual assault, who drops the F-bomb in public, who has baldly lied, who has no less than 10 allegations of sexual predatory behavior against him is now the leader of our nation. It was not the Democrats who killed public virtue; it was Republicans.
Stan Hauerwas, one of my seminary professors wrote, “Christians have failed to challenge the moral presuppositions of our polity and society…We simply accepted the assumption that politics is about the distribution of desires, any consideration of the development of virtuous people as a political issue seems an inexcusable intrusion into our personal liberty.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote that a society should be judged by the kinds of people it produces. The Republican party produced, and supported Donald Trump.
- The Big Surprise of November 9 is that it is Democrats who have to do the soul searching. We nominated a faulty candidate and the Democratic establishment produced this. This defeat cannot be laid at the feet of Bernie supporters and thankfully have not heard that yet, and I better not. Trump got more Hispanic vote than did Romney. We nominated the one person who could not beat Donald Trump. The Republicans did this with Dole in 1996 because “it was his turn.” This election turned about as badly for Democrats as that did for Republicans, except that we lost all houses.
- The Evangelical wing of the Christianity is officially dead. They have long asserted that they live in an immoral Babylon, and they want to bring back morality, but they just elected Nebuchadnezzar. Any moral high ground they have once claimed is not lost. Dobson, Falwell, Perkins and others have just proven to us that they are stooges of the Republican party, and not citizens of the Kingdom of God.
- The only thing worse than being a Democrat today is being part of the Republican Establishment. Your new boss is Donald Trump. Free trade? Gone. Russia? Our new best friend. Abortion? He is a friend of Planned Parenthood. Same sex wedding? He said he would do a same sex marriage if asked. Entitlements? He said he would not touch them. National Health Care? He praised it. All the things that traditional Republicans have run on, he is against. And he is more powerful than they are now.
- We still have a major problem with race in this country. A major problem. Let’s stop pretending racism is a thing of the past. It is just a lot more subtle than it was fifty years ago. (Although that is changing.
I am sure there are more things to say, but I’ll end with this—my son asked me this morning how he should face his pro-Trump friends. I told, “Just don’t be a jerk.” (I actually used stronger language.) There are angry people at there. Focus your anger. There are many very sad people out there. Remember when we talked about Hope? Hope ain’t dead yet. It just took a break.
What scared us about Trump? His hair trigger reactions, his racism, his bullying, his lying, and many of his followers. If we adopt their tactics, we are no better. I am not sure what progressives should do now, but it is not to become a Blue Trump.
Make America great again? Let’s make America kind again, just again, smart again, and tolerant—this last one for the first time.