Trumped Up ‘Crisis’ and Reality: Will It Just Go Away?

In an 1861 address delivered in Cleveland, Ohio, Abraham Lincoln said, “This crisis is altogether artificial. It has no foundation in fact. It can’t be argued up, and it can’t be argued down. Let it alone, and it will go down of itself.” Ah, well, tragically enough the crisis at that time did not “go down of itself,” but his words still sound very applicable to the present situation we face in our country.

Trump has created an artificial crisis at the southern border, all in order to build an unnecessary and (would-be) largely ineffectual wall. We discussed the proposed merits of building such a wall in a previous article, “To Build or Not to Build: Educate Thyself.” Looking at the raw facts, we found (I believe) that a wall all along our southern border with Mexico is simply unnecessary at best.

However, the President dragged out his same worn-out arguments, false claims, and misleading (mis)information in his address to the nation last night to hopefully convince the American people that we really do, indeed, face a “crisis” in illegal immigrants flooding into the U. S. from Mexico. As we showed in the above-cited article, and as plenty of media outlets, think tanks and other groups have reported, this is not true.

What is, perhaps, more disconcerting at this point, though, is the seeming intransigence of the Republican establishment. They seem determined at all costs, no matter the consequences, to follow Trump even should he lead them into the depths of hell itself … but why? It has been amply proven there is no crisis at the southern border, but if there is, does it make any sense to keep the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) largely shuttered in a continuing (non-sensical), partial government shutdown?

Think about it? If we were at war, would we expect the President and Congress to do something stupid to cripple our Armed Forces? Ha! would you lay off more than half your army smack dad in the middle of an armed conflict with another nation? Of course not, so it would only make sense for the Republicans ~ and particularly the Republicans, because they supposedly believe there is a crisis ~ to push to at least temporarily fund DHS … if not the other gov’t departments as well, but at least DHS!

Some other things to note regarding the curious Republican lemming-like devotion to Trump: 1) the President’s approval ratings have never been high, but now they’re hovering somewhere around 38 to 40%, 2) Most Americans believe, adamantly, that the continuing government shutdown is nonsensical, detrimental, and completely unnecessary, 3) a majority of Americans fault Trump for the government shutdown, as opposed to blaming Democrats, and 4) most Americans really don’t want a wall anyway!

So, what are these GOPers thinking? Especially Mitch “Turtlehead” McConnell? Do they imagine they’re gaining anything? Perhaps they’re just playing politics and protecting their positions of power… Maybe. But even though I’ve never claimed to be a political prophet, I fully expect two (or three) things to happen:

1) the Republicans will lose control of the Senate, which means, of course, that several GOPs will lose their bid for reelection, 2) Democrats will very easily maintain control of the House, and 3) if Trump even makes it to 2020, he will most assuredly not be reelected.

It would really be nice if this manufactured “crisis” would “go down of itself,” but that’s not going to happen. So … it seems Trump and his Republican cohorts will have to go down, and go down they surely will. Independents and moderate Republicans are more than tired and aggravated by this administration, and they’re growing impatient with Republican senators, especially, who refuse to exercise the duties of their office, all in blind adherence to POTUS. Time will tell … but that time is quickly drawing near.

 

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The Evangelical Rump of Trump

Can we expect an unprincipled man to lead with wholesome values? Can we expect an immoral leader to lead with virtue? Can we expect an arrogant and domineering man to lead in the humility of a servant? No, and yet the vast majority of evangelical Christians are doing just this, having sold their souls, and sullied their reputation, in following Donald Trump with a loyalty that would impress Napoleon Bonaparte.

Once upon a time, evangelicals were known for their adherence to Holy Scripture and Biblical standards of living. They were committed to “demonstrat[ing] that Jesus is real and that his salvation radically changes … lives through … faith, actions, service, relationships and community…”[i] And an integral part of this involved living a virtuous life, as well as promoting such virtues in the larger society.[ii]

Now, however, the larger part of the evangelical Christian culture in America has taken a fortress mentality, surrounding itself and the current President with unquestioning and practically unbelievable walls of defense, not only overlooking Trump’s obvious blemishes, but also somehow excusing his blatantly anti-Christian attitudes, perspectives and actions:

Trump’s unapologetic materialism—his equation of financial and social success with human achievement and worth—is a negation of Christian teaching. His tribalism and hatred for “the other” stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for “losers” smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ.[iii]

And how any self-respecting American, much less an evangelical Christian, can do anything less than cringe at the innumerable kitschy tweets, caustic remarks, unbridled imprudence, and callous quips is beyond imagination. But “the moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption,” according to self-professing, evangelical Michael Gerson.[iv]

Then again, evangelical associations, groups and leaders have benefitted from Trump in very tangible ways. For example, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to Iowa’s Family Leader (in 2013), $10,000 to Samaritan’s Purse (2013), and a whopping $100,000 to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (2013). On top of this, Trump drew the largest convocation audience in the history of Liberty University in 2012, and was referred to by Jerry Falwell Jr. as “one of the great visionaries of our time.”[v] And yet as Gerson points out:

Trump’s court evangelicals have become active participants in the moral deregulation of our political life. Never mind whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, and whatever is of good repute. Some evangelicals are busy erasing bright lines and destroying moral landmarks. In the process, they are associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.[vi]

And this is a high-stakes game that the evangelical Christian community is already losing, as witnessed by the continuing, mass exodus of professing Christians from traditional, evangelical churches.[vii] There is an undeniable hemorrhaging that can only be stopped by evangelicals actually being  what they profess to be, and genuinely living the way they say they believe Christians ought to live … and this decidedly does not include playing the rump of Trump.


 

[i] William Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Global Dictionary of Theology, 298

[ii] David J. Atkinson, David F. Field, Arthur Holmes, Oliver O’Donovan, New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology, 881

[iii] Michael Gerson, “The Last Temptation: How Evangelicals, Once Culturally Confident, Became an Anxious Minority Seeking Political Protection From the Least Traditionally Religious President in Living Memory,” The Atlantic, April 2018 Issue as published at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/the-last-temptation/554066/

[iv] Ibid

[v] Betsy Woodruff, “Why Evangelicals Worship Trump,” The Daily Beast, August 2015 as published at https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-evangelicals-worship-trump

[vi] Michael Gerson, “The Trump Evangelicals Have Lost Their Gag Reflex,” The Washington Post, January 22, 2018, as published at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-evangelicals-have-lost-their-gag-reflex/2018/01/22/761d1174-ffa8-11e7-bb03-722769454f82_story.html?utm_term=.2c9d531bb063

[vii] Terry Heaton, “Evangelical Christianity’s Big Turn-Off,” Huffington Post, September 12, 2017, as published at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-christianitys-big-turn-off_us_59b2b0f3e4b0bef3378cdf91

The Project

Millions pray, millions cry, many even die
All for wars to cease and for peace to reign,
And the truth is most people do get along
Just as fine as well-aged wine and would
Gladly dine with one another in harmony;
So who is it that incites violence and war?
Who first tore the delicate fabric of peace?
We need a new lease on life in this world,
And this is the daunting project haunting
And taunting those of us who love to love
And live in serenity with all of humanity;
Ah! But this is quite a feat even as we hear
The drumbeat of the battles to be fought
By those who have been sold and bought
And brought into the service of those who
Will never see the field soaked with blood;
Most of those who have seen the horror
Of war want war no more for they know
How high the price to pay
And will not roll the dice!
Oh, but somebody does . . . who are they?
And how do they hold at bay peace
In our day; how do they block the way?
Ah! How do we go about this, our Project?

Your Cozy Little Eggshell

Not that I’m angry but you never seem to see
What is as obvious to me as a great big tree!
Temperatures are rising causing tidal waves
As oceans misbehave while you calmly claim
That it’s all the same without a bit of shame;
And you don’t seem to hear the cries of fear
From around the earth in all your jolly mirth,
And I ask you why ‘n try to talk but you balk;
Meanwhile masses starve and ruffians carve
Their weapons of terror ‘n it’s a bloody error
To be so blind and to bind your whole mind
Against all the world around you,
But you’re bound and determined
To be whatever it is you will to be
And see only what you want to see!
No, I’m not angry, only bound to be astounded
How you can live in such a cozy, little eggshell!
And I know hell will crack that shell one day . . .
Hell will crack your shell

No Romero, Not Here! Not Here!

Dearest Romero, you cannot come here out of fear;
You see, we don’t know you and only a few want to;
You have made your pilgrimage at such a young age,
But all for not for we have bought this wall
As a clarion call that we’re surely not for all,
Even the weak and small like you, O Romero!
Say, can you see the torch held high up into the sky?
Fire once burned there to light the night sky
As a bright beacon of hope for those who cry;
But now we must say ‘good bye’ and just let you die,
For we have no place for your face ‘n no more grace;
O Romero, what are you thinking as you’re blinking?
Skies here are not blue for you,
And your skin is the wrong hue!
From sea to sea shall we be ever so discriminatory?
Dearest Romero, you cannot come here out of fear!
Not here, lad, not here . . . for we are filled with fear!


Note: Romero is both a Spanish and an Italian surname meaning: A person on a religious journey or pilgrimage . . . (also) an herb of rosemary symbolizing remembrance and fidelity.

Idiocracy

Some say that democracy is the best form of government,
And perhaps this form of governance should be the norm;
However, it can breed a storm from dorms to living rooms,
From kitchens to legislative halls that fall to self-interest;
And what happens, then, when government is truly an icon
Of the people governed, and becomes of cupboard of idiots?
When entertainers are pundits and tweets become so sweet
That they make daily news and kindle views from officials?
When pictures that should be trashed are brashly shown
In public buildings as art by the self-designated oh-so smart?
When unimportant issues call for tissue to wipe crying eyes?
When the rest of the world calls for the best, but the best
Are given a vest in lieu of the grave and are called to invest
In the circus as government becomes more like giant Argus?
What happens, I ask, when democracy becomes an idiocracy?
I say the Revolution is long over, and God Save the Queen!

Or . . .

kakistocracy

Looking for Long-Lasting Peace?

Like a lightning bolt of realization to jolt us out of our stupor:
We call ‘peace and goodwill to all,’ but before we can have peace,
We have to be peace ourselves from the inside-out and about all
Of the world around us, abounding in heavenly love from above!
Peace is not something grand you lease for some period of time,
Oh no! This is more than some vaudeville show, we should know;
This is real reality, not carefree game or some tawdry marquee
In which we’re free to simply do as we please;
No! This action takes place first on our knees!
And before we cry in any protest, we have to say goodbye
To anger and lust, hatred and all danger to genuine peace;
It is then wars shall cease, the end of cruelty just round the bend
As love will send serenity to the hearts of one ‘n all everywhere!
Do you really want peace? Then be peace and live out peace . . .

peaceonearth