In my last post, I said that in this one I’d explore what I think is an interesting — perhaps unique since I haven’t observed any expression of it in the media — perspective on all the hype about how “devastating” recent revelations about Trump have been to his presidential campaign.
I don’t hear anybody saying Trump’s remarks about women in the 2005 tape NBC exposed are OK [and that’s the way it should be — they were terrible]. Interestingly, though, when I look at who seemed to be the quickest to openly denounce Trump [the candidate, not just the remarks themselves, which everybody is denouncing (and rightfully so)], it’s politicians who are pulling away from Trump — interestingly, not the most prominent among religious leaders who have been either openly backing him or at least referring to him as a better option than Clinton.
Think about that … Many people, including many Christians, might argue that religious leaders, particularly those who most Christians probably consider the best known and most influential ones, should all pull away from Trump because he is so “immoral” and isn’t a good role model for Americans and their children. So why would almost all of these key religious leaders maintain their previously-held positions on Trump [e.g., James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Ralph Reed, Robert Jeffress, …]? And what additional light might be shed on this by looking at which politicians are “running” from Trump and which aren’t?
As I’ve read and heard statements by two Tennessee Republican U. S. Representatives [Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black, both of whom are women, I should emphasize, and one of whom was a victim of physical assault by men as a young adult], neither of them is dis’ing herself totally from Trump. Both of these women seem to me to be principled people with sound value systems. In what they’ve said and written, they’ve stated that they are standing with their party because their country is more important than “how they feel personally”.
It would be great if we had a personal profile and belief system description for each of the politicians who came out formally against Trump, withdrawing their endorsements, etc. — i.e., it would be interesting to see if most of them are principled people like Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black, or simply “say/do whatever is needed to get elected/re-elected” politicians.
As for the best-known, most influential religious leaders, we do have belief system descriptions for them — it’s the Bible. Their statements after the Trump video exposure indicate their continued belief that the Republican platform and ideology are much more closely aligned with Christian values than is the Democrat platform and ideology, and that Christians need to view this election from that perspective regardless of their feelings about the candidates at the top of the tickets of the parties.
I believe the basic reason for this dichotomy between how Christians might expect these key religious leaders to react to Trump’s overall profile and how they actually do react to it is explainable in one word: perspective. They realize what is at stake in this election, and as leaders they feel a responsibility to lead. In their view, leading in this context means communicating to people who have a level of respect for them and listen to what they have to say that Christians have the capacity numerically to be the deciding factor in the outcome of this election, and that this is a time when all Christians need to rise above their personal feelings and vote for the party most likely to at least begin to “right the American ship”.
It is important to note that these religious leaders are not saying that the solutions to America’s problems will stem from this election. Trying very hard to avoid any terminology that could be construed as formal endorsements, they are simply saying that the country’s moral decline will most certainly continue and even accelerate if we align ourselves with the Democratic platform [by voting in a way that essentially is a vote for the Democrats, or even by not voting — see previous posts to this blog as to why a vote for anybody other than Trump, or not voting, may actually be an unwitting vote for Clinton], and that the decline will at least have a chance of decelerating — and maybe even beginning to stop — if we align ourselves with the Republican platform.
A recent FaceBook post that got to my Newsfeed through indirect Friend connections expressed this very well. The person said “I am not defending Trump, I’m voting for him. I’m defending America against Hillary Clinton, who will fundamentally do much more damage to our beloved country than Trump will” [emphasis mine].
If Democrats win this election, it will be because of five factors: 1) they came together and supported their candidate whether they “liked” her or not, and in spite of her many shortcomings [while the Republicans scattered themselves in all directions and openly denounced their candidate rather than finding tactful ways to coalesce around him]; 2) they used their vastly superior [to the Republicans’] campaign and election process management “machine” to figure out precisely where to spend their campaign energy to maximize their probability of getting 270 or more Electoral College votes; 3) the heavily liberally-biased media was essentially another forceful arm of their campaign; 4) the same percentage of Christians who voted Democrat in 2008 and 2012 [something that is very difficult for me to understand in view of the Democrat platform] did so again this year; and 5) other Christians [Republicans, Independents, Democrats, or whatever] who align more closely with the Republican platform and ideology than they do with the Democrat platform and ideology either stayed home or voted for anyone other than Trump.
So we’re back to an underlying theme in all of my previous posts, and in the pages at this web site — it’s not about the people who are the candidates; it’s about the platforms [ideologies] of the parties of which they are a part.
The bottom line of all this is that the “he said / she said, he did / she did” battle is a toss-up from this perspective [see my last post, Mirror, Mirror On The Wall] — all the more reason to make November 8 ballot decisions based on party platforms [and maybe even factoring in the profiles of the vice presidential candidates], not the attributes of, or the personal issues associated with, the presidential candidates.
I’ve entitled my next post Back To The Future. In it, I’ll describe a decision-making technique I found very useful during my career, and apply it to the decision before us at this time.
Charles M. Jones