“This president poses such a clear and present danger to the things we should value most that I think it’s incumbent on all of us who believe that to say something.” Jon Meacham
“When the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding.” Proverbs 28:12
Many years ago as a young pastor I read a book called, Bringing Out the Best in People, and had our leadership team read it too. It’s something every leader, whether of a church, a company, or a country should aspire to do. I believe that Donald Trump, instead of bringing out the best, he has brought out the worst in American culture. By word and deed he has emboldened his fans to release the darkest of human impulses. He has cleared the way for those shadowy instincts to be expressed in our national conversation and political interactions. It’s not his fault that we’re bad, but his influence has, like a hurricane, brought up the raw sewage that hid beneath the surface.
This is the danger of Donald Trump. His influence has normalized vitriol, lies, relativism, and violence. When he stands before God, I believe these are things for which he’ll be judged. Instead of making America great, it’s my opinion that he has brought out the worst.
The nature of demagogic leaders is to appeal to the basest parts in human nature. A cursory evaluation of all historical demagogues––both fascist and communist––will reveal this unique “skill” to give permission to the lowest of human propensities. While Mr. Trump may not qualify for that particular list of usual suspects, his leadership style opaquely mirrors those who drug their countries into subhuman behaviors, that apart from the historical record, no one in the “civilized” world would believe it.
Donald Trump is not just subpar or simply inadequate to the task. I think he’s dangerous for his policies, his personality, his persona, his approach to governing, and his character. It’s my view that the relentless tornado of chaos and moral debasement that he brings to the table is toxic to our national wellbeing.
He’s been sued dozens of times for not paying vendors, forced to shut down his so-called charity for misappropriation of funds, ordered to pay twenty-five million dollars to former students of Trump University after a judge determined it was a sham, called the dozens of women who have accused him of sexual assault “liars,” and was impeached for shaking down a foreign country for dirt on a political rival.
Theologian Ron Sider says, “Trump is a significant danger to our country, a man with no moral core, someone who is psychologically disturbed, a political and religious con artist, and the most incompetent president we have ever had.”
My list of specific dangers he poses, albeit incomplete, is conscience-driven and rooted in my understanding of Jesus and his Bible. While you may come to other conclusions about Mr. Trump, I hope you’ll at least give these a quick read or listen and apply your own critical thought.
Please note that rather than labeling and name-calling I identify his behavior. I don’t call him a “liar” but I do call him out for lying. That may seem like too-fine a distinction, but to me it’s a matter of civility and retaining the dignity of fellow image bearers. Plus, I hate labeling and being labeled by others. It’s too broad a brush and too narrow a box to put people in.
Note also that my objections are not based on my personal preference or party affiliation. I’m not, as some have labeled me, a “hater.” Nor am I a lib, a snowflake, a progressive, or even a Democrat. I have no party nor do I ascribe to any political category. I’m just a guy who loves Jesus, studies the Bible, and applies it to all things, politics included.
I started this project intending to lay down a short list of concise bullet-points. But it wasn’t long before it grew beyond the length of one blog or video episode. So I’ve broken it up into more achievable sections. I hope you’ll stick with me through the entire list. These aren’t in order of importance, nor do I make an effort to corroborate these with links or references. If you’re interested in those I suggest that you Google them yourself. I think you’ll find that all of the things to which I refer are common knowledge and none of them misdemeanor infractions or lapses of judgment on Mr. Trump’s part.
From where I sit most of these points by themselves constitute a danger to the country, if not the world, but adding them all together makes a pretty solid case.
OK, here we go…
• What could be more of a danger to our democratic form of government than a Commander in Chief untethered from truth?
This president liesabout anything and everything. I presume it’s been his habit throughout his life, but certainly for the last 5 years. He lies about things that don’t matter like crowd size and how many times he’s been on the cover of Time Magazine. And he lies about things that really matter, like national security, the pandemic threat, and the content of conversations he has with world leaders.
I believe he can’t help himself. It’s pathological. He’s broken and unhinged and he lies so frequently that his fan base is anesthetized to it. Someone said, “He lies about the time of day while standing under a clock. He lies so often it must be considered involuntary and incurable. To him all truths are elitist lies perpetuated by those who did not like him.” Yes, all politicians lie, and we’ve caught many presidents, governors, and members of congress in fabrications. But nothing, I repeat, nothing like this.
Again Ron Sider wrote, “You simply can’t trust a leader who pathologically lies. Couple Trump’s relentless lying with his utter remorselessness about it, and you have a dangerous mix of defects in the president that will continue to cause great harm to our country and countries around the world.”
“Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 17:7
“Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.” Isaiah 9:16
• Without the slightest knowledge, wisdom, or acumen to run the executive branch of our government Donald Trump is a danger to all Americans.
He admits he doesn’t read but gets his lion’s share of news from cable TV, FOX News in particular. Under the guise of “draining the swamp” he refuses to inform himself about the workings of government and its traditions. There are some good ones after all.
He doesn’t know how to pronounce “Yosemite” or “Thailand” (let alone know where they are). He thought Andrew Jackson could have stopped the Civil War, which is funny since Jackson died 20 years before the war started. He thought Canada burned down the White House during the war of 1812 and didn’t know that Lincoln was a Republican. When he visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial he had to ask an advisor, “What’s this a tour of?”
Ignorance is different than deceit and can be even more dangerous. What he learned from the cutthroat world of high-end real estate, casino ownership, and reality TV might have made him a lot of money but doesn’t qualify him to run the country.
Longtime conservative pundit George Will said, “He is as bewildered as a kindergartener at a seminar on string theory.” I for one don’t feel safe with a person of his intellectual caliber in possession of the nuclear football.
“By me (wisdom) kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just.” Proverbs 8:15
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2
Next time we’ll look at the advisors he surrounds himself with, his handling of the Coronavirus, his treatment of the poor, and the effect of his impeachment.