So, What Now?

To some waking up this morning, it is a dream come true.

To others it is the beginning of a long nightmare.

In case you do not know yet, Donald J. Trump is now the president-elect of the United States of America.

Let those words have their impact.

As Candice and I watched in astonishment, he kept Wisconsin and Michigan close and then began to win Pennsylvania. We kept hearing on CNN that there would be, “another batch of votes” from this Democratic county or this inner city that would tip the scales. Finally, those votes came in but they were not near enough.

And then I told Candice, “Oh my God, he is going to flip Pennsylvania.”

And he did.

Not long after, the state of Wisconsin, and the presidential election was called for Donald Trump.

I watched as several commentators were on the point of tears; Van Jones of CNN asking the question, “How do I explain this to my children?”

Turn over to MSNBC, and they had already broken out the shots; commentators angrily attacking each other at points, James Carville looking absolutely distraught and Michael Steele looking quite sober as the former RNC chair. Rachel Maddow was blaming Gary Johnson and Jill Stein; while Chris Matthews looked disgusted with life.

Wolf Blitzer’s irritation was evident in his even more than normal staccato speech as he would tell John King to go here on the map, or if King looked even remotely like he was calling a state too early, Blitzer would cut him off with, “It’s no over yet; there are still votes to be counted.”

I turned over to Fox long enough to see the name “Sean Hannity” and turned right back.

At first it looked like it was Clinton who was not going to accept the results of the election, sending John Podesta to say that Clinton was not going to speak tonight and in Al Gore fashion, “It has been a long night; you have been here a long time. There are still votes being counted, and we believe that they need to be. If you have waited this long, I think we can wait a little bit longer.”

I agree with the Trump team on this, Clinton should have come out and addressed her supporters; it is a good thing that she called to concede, otherwise it would have been a hugely hypocritical move.

She gave her concession speech this morning, saying “I’m sorry.”

Let me say that from the beginning I thought she was a terrible candidate; she is qualified and she is a center-left politician who knows how to get things done, but she was a terrible candidate.

Clinton could never get past her own shadow and her own scandals. Yes, most of the charges set against Clinton were circumstantial, however, she would never openly deal with those allegations and charges…and the circumstantial evidence is quite substantial.

I had no problem with Hillary Clinton being a woman; I am a big fan of Elizabeth Warren and I think she would make an excellent president or even vice-president (much better than the banal Tim Kaine ). But I was indifferent to her being the first woman president.

Clinton was never herself, except when she talked about women’s rights or abortion; those were issues that would not endear her any further to people in my camp. (though I do believe that the pro-life movement often misunderstands the position of the pro-choice camp) The rest of the time she carried a demeanor of arrogance, and held this fake smile; changing her viewpoint to match her focus group.

This was a losing combination when angry, white Trumpites (actual Trump supporters, not people who voted for Trump out of conscience or against Clinton) wanted to hear about what she planned to do to help the economy in the Rust Belt, where manufacturing has taken large hits and people are not feeling the economic recovery at the end of President Obama’s term. She would never address the issues that mattered to the voters as much as the issues that mattered to her.

She was old; she was white. She was mired in scandal, and she was universally unpopular. The only reason she had  a chance in this race to begin with is because of candidacy of Donald Trump; all she had to do is put him away. Instead, she put herself away and she only has herself to blame. At the end of the name, being a Clinton would not be enough.

The liberal progressives have argued for a long time that the base of the Democratic party will not be energized until they become the champion of liberal causes again. The question of whether Bernie Sanders could have beat Donald Trump is already being asked. Oh and by the way, those Rust Belt states that Trump turned red; those are states that voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. The rift in the Democratic Party never really healed, despite the Clinton camp thinking that they had pulled them back in.

There was a lack of enthusiasm among blacks, lack of enthusiasm among millennials; yes, the hispanic vote upticked but almost 25% of them voted for Donald Trump; those are better numbers than either McCain or Romney. All in all, it was recipe for disaster for a careless, overconfident candidate.

She never saw the writing on the wall, and now we will all pay the price.

 

And then there is the media.

Today, the media has not learned from their mistakes, demonizing Trump-supporters and encouraging their readers with such inflammatory headlines as:

Electoral College About To Screw Democrats For Second Time In 20 Years

Islamist Extremists Celebrate Trump’s Win

White Women Sold Out the Sisterhood and the World by Voting for Trump

and

Pro-Trump Swastikas Painted in Philly

Even the History Channel had an ill-timed reminder that today was the anniversary of the German “Kristallnacht”, where Nazis vandalized Jewish businesses and assaulted Jewish citizens in their streets.

Not cool, History Channel.

(Quick note: it is also the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, for something more pleasant to remember)

Let me be quick to say, this not at all helpful.

Once again, instead of admitting its overconfident arrogance, the media is acting as if it had to be anything and everything but Hillary Clinton’s own electibility that cost her the White House.

It was misogyny.

It was the FBI.

It was third party candidates.

It was the smear from right-wing Republicans.

It was because of racism.

It was because of how unpopular Obama’s policies were. (Not Obama’s popularity, which is at about 55%)

And the list goes on. Now, I am not saying all of those things did not contribute to her defeat; they most certainly did. However, it was her own inability to convey a compelling narrative that doomed her. It was her own inability to connect with the lower/middle class white voter that left her without the 270 needed to win the presidency.

Obama promised hope and change; Trump has also promised change.

Hillary Clinton banked on people wanting a third-term for President Obama, but while people are starting to warm up to Obama as a person, his initiatives and policies remain very unpopular among certain demographics.

She was wrong; of those who came to vote, the message was a complete repudiation of Obama’s presidency. We can point fingers at who is to blame for this (including the President himself), but his legacy is about to turn to ash.

The media needs to show some humility; they were incredibly wrong about the pulse of the average, white, working class American. Instead of lecturing the Trump-supporters like they are five years old, they need to start reaching out to understand and feel their pain.

 

Now, let’s talk about those poor to middle-class white voters.

My parents are such individuals (I am too, but to lesser degree because I am college-educated), and we disagreed strongly over this election. I voted for Clinton; they voted for Trump. Their votes came mostly from a place of personal disgust for the Clintons, and they are not alone in that regard.

But my parents are also struggling, especially under burdens of healthcare and getting my dad the disability that he needs. They do not like Obama; they say it has nothing to do with his race, and I hope that is true. They blame his policies for a lot of the problems that America is facing today.

In a bit of humble pie of my own, we talked on Sunday about how we all needed to respect the conscience of the other in regards to who we voted for, and who wins. Like the media, I would never have thought in a million years that she would actually lose.

And now I am having to live up to my promise.

Like my parents, millions of Americans did not recover under the Obama administration; in some cases, their lives were made harder. Conservatives already have this nasty distrust of government, and when you prove them right they tend to bite back. Government has been no friend of my parents and people like them for quite some time.

Now, here is the caveat.

Just because many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate complaints and issues with the way the country is, does not excuse them from the kind of rhetoric they have used.

Racism is not acceptable, and we should not tolerate it under any circumstances.

Misogyny and sexual violence against women is unacceptable, and we should not tolerate it under any circumstances.

Fear and intimidation are not acceptable means to get others to do what you want, or to draw attention to yourselves.

Finally, be so absorbed in your own group’s needs and feelings at the expense of the others in our country leads to the dissolution of a peaceful, pluralistic society.

In no way, by legitimizing the plight of these individuals, am I advocating for how they responded.

What is ironic to me, is how the Black and Latino community that live in urban areas have not demanded more out of the Democrats who have traditionally represented them. (though Black Lives Matter is the beginning of such an awakening)

These three groups of people have more in common than they want admit: they have both been manipulated and used by politicians in elections, and ignored by them until the next one.

Perhaps it would have been more productive for those angry, white voters to join hands with Blacks and Latinos in the same situation, rather than running to the arms of the KKK and other white-nationalistic groups.

You don’t endear people to your cause by embracing the people who hate them.

As one friend put it, the vote for Donald Trump was a vote against the establishment on both sides of the isle. If we are to be honest, the far-left was not thrilled about a Clinton candidacy to begin with. That is clearly demonstrated by how those voters deserted her in the Rust Belt on Tuesday night.

But polarized candidates and parties cannot lead the way forward; it will mean the ultimate destruction of dialogue and progress, and will lead to nothing but violence.

Next time instead of electing Trump, these voters might just have our heads.

Ask the elitist aristocrats of the French Revolution.

 

So, what now?

I do believe that my country just elected a man who has the spirit of Antichrist; even if I am dead wrong, he used the anger and hatred, and all the worst things in each of us to become President.

And I must forgive him for that.

I never thought I’d see such hate become so real in my lifetime; I never thought my world would start to look slowly but surely more like the nihilistic world of The Walking Dead.

What troubles me the most is not that Donald Trump is President, but rather how Donald Trump became President in first place.

As I said in my previous post, I have friends who though not Trump-supporters, voted for Trump. The reason they did was because Hillary Clinton was so repulsive, and so wicked that a man of such questionable character was the best option for president when compared to her.

I do not understand them at all.

I see them like I see my parents; I love them, and I enjoy their company; but on a lot of things that matter to me, we could not be more different.

And as I live, that divide is growing and not shrinking.

I am not angry over this election; that does no good, and my days of social media ranting are over.

But I am disappointed.

I am a light-blue independent surrounded in a sea of red. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats; these last two cycles I have found it increasingly difficult to even consider the Republicans. But I have to be honest, the Democrats don’t exactly inspire me either.

Even though I voted for Obama in the last election, I was undecided right up to the ballot box.

What does God have in store for us with a Trump presidency? I really don’t know. This could turn out to be a secret blessing for us, though I highly doubt it. Instead, I do believe that we are going to reap what we have sown, and that once again younger Evangelicals are going to pay the price for the political demagoguery that many of older leaders have participated in. I believe it is going to hurt the gospel, even though for a time Christianity may become more powerful and enjoy more forcible prestige. Already, the hatred of the world is being stirred up against one another, and unfortunately Christians are stuck in the middle, regardless of who we voted for. Persecution is inevitable, but it should be because of the gospel, not our political allegiances.

But as I am so fond of saying, because it so incredibly true, God is on his throne. The most high God rules over the kingdoms of the earth, and he gives them to whomever he wishes. My hope is not in the government of the United States of America, though it would be nice to see our institutions used for the good of others. My hope is in the omni-benevolent King Jesus. These may indeed be dark times for those of us who believe in John Leland’s version of religious liberty, and liberal, pluralistic democracy, but God is still in control; none of this is beyond his knowledge.

I am tired; I am sore.

I feel the hurt of so many; I feel the hate from Trumpites now being matched by the very people who just recently spoke of tolerance.

The United States of America is coming apart; it may not last much longer.

Regardless, I am going to promote love, grace, and forgiveness that ultimately finds its expression in Jesus Christ. I am going to continue to speak out for those who demand justice and equality; I am going to continue to defend the rights of all, while being willing to give up my own rights. I am going to let Christ’s glory and majesty and holiness shine through me so that all may know him and make him known.

Donald Trump does not define me.

America does not define me.

It is Christ who defines me.

 

-Will

Mercy always triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13

 

NOTE: I have decided that it is time to really look at my political views and what I believe; I want to be able to articulate my case in a way that honors the spirit of the scripture and is honest about the difficulties. More on that in the next few posts.