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Archive for November, 2016|Monthly archive page

Running (For President, or Away From It All, Either One)

In Politics on November 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm

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SERIOUSLY.

Since I’m always long on thoughts but we’re all short on time, I’m going to break this into sections. Feel free to scroll to whichever one applies to you.

If You’re Caucasian

If You’re a Doctor

If You’re a Christian

If You’re Not a Trump Supporter

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If You’re Caucasian

If you’re Caucasian and a Trump supporter, you should know that seeing a Trump sign in your yard or a pro-Trump post on your Facebook feed feels like a personal punch in the gut. It hurts, because it means you aren’t bothered by the danger he poses to me and my children of colour. For the first time, I’m frightened of my fellow citizens.

This is a man with a long history of racism. Starting in 1973, he has faced housing lawsuits for openly discriminating against people of colour. He claimed an American judge was unable to perform his job because of his Mexican heritage (because that Mexican heritage would mean the judge would be against Trump. Because of Trump’s racism.) The children of Trump supporters have begun taunting children of colour in schools. (This actually happened to the young son of a friend of mine, whose schoolmates jeered that he’d be deported once Trump became president. He and his parents are U.S. citizens.) Trump did not immediately denounce the endorsement of David Duke. He has been endorsed by the KKK. The white supremacist movement sees him as their saviour. No matter how much you might not want to believe it, all this doesn’t happen unless Trump is doing something racist.

His supporters claim that his 1990s lawsuit against the town of Palm Beach to allow his club Mar-a-Lago to accept blacks and Jews is evidence that he is not racist. Except … that’s not exactly what happened. Unsurprisingly, he benefited financially from their membership. Please, don’t just believe whatever Donald Trump tells you. You know he doesn’t always tell the truth. And he tells you it’s the media’s fault, and incites violence against the press even when they report the truth, so the blame can be shifted from him.

Donald Trump is running on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Which clearly means he doesn’t think America is all that great at the moment. But when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee to protest America’s current condition, Trump supporters issue death threats. Where is the justice there? Also, when his supporters say “Make America Great Again,” we hear, “Go back to a time when racial discrimination and gender inequality was legal.” Do you see how that sounds? What if we said we wanted to go back to a time or place when whites were oppressed? How would your feelings change then? The idea that Trump should be celebrated because he’s “not politically correct” is dangerous. Political correctness is not bad; it’s kindness and decency. It’s saying that we shouldn’t mock the disabled or make fun of a person’s appearance because as human beings we should have compassion and empathy for others. Why would you want a world where that isn’t valued? Being against political correctness is the first step in going back to normalizing hate.

I’m not a liberal, and I very much believe in the liberal bias of the mainstream media. (I talk more about this later in this post if you’re interested.) But I have a journalism degree, and I have to tell you: the left has been more honest in their reporting than the right during this election cycle. If you refuse to consume news from any source you consider liberal, you are not being told the whole truth. 

Knowing all this, if you are OK voting for Trump because the prejudice he would usher in against others would not affect you, that is kind of the definition of white supremacy. At least you should know that.

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If You’re a Doctor

This is what Trump thinks of us.

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So let me get this straight. Doctors, who have devoted themselves to helping people, who save countless lives, and who have sacrificed years if not decades of time with their own families to care for patients on weekends and holidays and in the middle of the night, don’t deserve to walk on a “very expensive and chic” avenue – but Donald Trump, who has never cared about anything but himself, does? (I don’t actually believe doctors should be zillionaires, but I’m pointing out the hypocrisy here.) Let me also note the absurdity of Donald Trump, who has zero medical training, claiming that he believes his friend’s foot injury should have healed naturally. Oh, so of course the board-certified, residency-trained doctor who operated was wrong then, if Donald Trump thought it would have healed on its own. Silly me.

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If You’re a Christian

If you’re a Christian and a Trump supporter: I’m astounded that any Christians are supporting Trump. But that being said, I do understand one particular train of reasoning: that Christians no longer have religious freedom (eg. pharmacists are being punished for refusing to stock the morning-after pill, CEOs are being ousted for supporting Christian groups) and that the only way to protect people who are just trying to obey God is to make sure there are more conservative judges on the Supreme Court. The people who follow this line of logic say they will have to hold their noses to vote for Trump, but they will do so because there is a better chance of him nominating a conservative justice than of Clinton doing so. I at least understand this viewpoint, though I don’t agree. (My pet issue is gun control, for which Hillary Clinton and more liberal Supreme Court justices are the only solution. I do agree that that there is no sociolegal protection for Christians, but I don’t think such protection is ever coming our way. That’s kind of what God has always told us, isn’t it? “They will hate you because of me“?) So I can at least see this perspective. What I cannot abide are the Christians who are actively trying to convince themselves and others that Trump is actually a decent choice.

The fact that Wayne Grudem initially wrote an article explaining why Donald Trump was a “moral” choice made me ill, not least because I knew many Christians would take it as gospel. He claimed voting for Trump is the moral choice because Trump is more likely to be tough on abortion. First of all, Trump is not pro-life. He’s an opportunist who’s claiming to be pro-life now to get Christians to vote for him, and they’re falling for it. Secondly, how on earth can fellow Christians determine that abortion is a more pressing issue than racism? We care about the unborn, but not about the suffering of the post-born? How dare a Christian leader imply that the lives of us non-white folk are less important than trying to get Roe vs. Wade overturned (which, come on, is never going to happen)? I so appreciate this rebuttal and the fact that Grudem ended up coming to his senses and renouncing Trump. Personally, I feel there is no way I can stand before Jesus one day and tell Him that I voted for a man so evil, no matter to what end.

We know that Trump is not a decent man. He talks about sexually assaulting women, he makes fun of women’s bodies, he criticizes the looks of Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz. Why would we reward a person who behaves this way by handing him the Presidency? Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus our thoughts on things that are pure, noble, right, and admirable. By no stretch of the imagination does Trump do this. And it’s not intellectually honest to convince yourselves that “Hillary probably does worse.” No one has ever heard her say things like this, and he has. It’s as simple as that.

We know he is not a Christian. By their fruit we will recognize them. He’s a proud adulterer, he’s had three wives, he cheats those less powerful than him, he repeatedly attacks those around him. More than that, he’s never asked God for forgiveness. I love Max Lucado’s response to a self-proclaimed Christian never having asked for forgiveness: “Can a swimmer say ‘I’ve never gotten wet’?” Compare the version of masculinity displayed by Trump to that displayed by Tim Kaine. Which one of them is the true Christian?

The hypocrisy is astounding. To paraphrase a Daily Kos meme, imagine how Trump’s supporters would bellow if Hillary Clinton showed up on stage with her five children by three different men, was a serial adulterer, had filed for bankruptcy multiple times, rooted for the housing crisis that caused untold suffering for thousands, wouldn’t release her tax returns, admitted to tax evasion, and had no political experience. And was a reality TV performer! Why is all that disgusting history suddenly OK when it comes to Donald Trump? I’ve heard that Donald Trump’s children being relatively normal should reflect well on him. Except he left them, and it was their mother who raised them, so she should get the credit. And by that standard, Chelsea Clinton should reflect well on Hillary. (And I don’t think DJT’s kids ARE all that great. Donald Jr.’s repulsive Tweet comparing refugees to Skittles should give any Christian pause, given what the Bible says about how we are to treat foreigners.)

And how, I ask you, can anyone justify this incredibly disturbing story?

Then there’s the utter cruelty and hypocrisy of blaming Hillary Clinton for her husband’s infidelity, but not holding Donald Trump accountable for his own. Trump supporters, once called out on this, then pivoted to say that Hillary Clinton denigrated the women who accused her husband, so she should be blamed for that. Except that, at the time of the Lewinsky scandal, Hillary believed Bill. Would you expect a wife to embrace people she thought were telling lies about her husband? If that’s the case, why don’t you demand that Melania Trump embrace the exhaustive list of women who have accused her husband of assault? Then there are the people who blame Hillary for staying with Bill. Is that not Biblical Christianity, to stay in a marriage? Yet, if she had left, those very same people would have vilified her for divorcing him.

In the era of Bill Clinton, we Christians argued that character matters. We risk losing all our credibility with non-believers (if it isn’t lost already) when we don’t apply that same standard to Donald Trump. Believe me, you won’t find a Hillary voter who is more appalled by Bill’s behaviour than me. When I was in college, I was a White House intern during the Lewinsky scandal, and I was assigned to the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic investigation. It was very uncomfortable to be a teenage Christian and probably the sole person on that team who believed that Bill Clinton was in the wrong. But I did, and I still do. And because of that, I hold Donald Trump responsible for his actions. I also would not vote for Bill Clinton. But I don’t for a second believe that any wife should be punished for her husband’s behaviour.

Speaking of non-believers: they see us as craven opportunists, aligning ourselves with Donald Trump, someone they can clearly see does not live a Christian life, because he promises us something in return (conservative judges.) So what that tells them is that when it benefits us, character apparently doesn’t matter. Christian support of Donald Trump is doing more damage to American Christianity than a liberal Supreme Court justice ever, ever could.

The same people who believe the Republicans’ constant harping about HRC’s e-mails as evidence of “if there’s smoke there’s fire” should apply that same axiom to this: a list of all the women, including a 13-year-old girl, that Donald Trump is accused of assaulting in one way or another. It is our responsibility as voters to read this and think about it. At the very best, this man has not behaved honorably. At the very worst, he is an unrepentant criminal.

And if you think Hillary Clinton is a criminal because she deleted e-mails and because four people died in Benghazi, you must also be outraged by the fact that George W. Bush lost 22 million e-mails and that thousands died because of his fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Because if you’re not, I’ll know not to take you seriously.

I am voting for Hillary Clinton in this election because I consider it my moral duty to stop Donald Trump, I believe voting for her will be more effective to that end than voting for a third party (but I have no problem with people who choose to do that), and I think she is an intelligent, experienced, hard-working woman who has been totally smeared by the right — but I will never identify as a Democrat. The Democratic Party certainly is not Christian-friendly and it strongly supports abortion. However, the Republican Party, with its pro-gun stance, anti-poverty measures, and white American nationalism, does not represent true Christian ideals either. So I’ll always be an independent. However, it’s important to remember that being pro-life is not a reason to vote for Trump. There is so much more to being pro-life than believing abortion is wrong. Being against gun violence; being against cruelty towards minorities; supporting programs for the poor; these are all aspects of being pro-life. Otherwise, we’re not pro-life, we’re just pro-birth. And on these counts, HRC clearly wins. That’s why this article is titled I’m Pro-Life and I’m Voting for Hillary.

On another note, the similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler are so clear to me that it’s terrifying. People who point this out are often accused of making “lazy” arguments. What a convenient way to denigrate an argument that is true! Every time I’ve been in a Holocaust museum, I’ve overheard people wondering aloud if Hitler’s rise could happen here, and smugly concluding that no, it never could. Every time I’ve thought to myself, “Oh yes it could.” After this election season, no American can deny it. This can absolutely happen here. It is happening here. If Donald Trump were Hitler himself, his supporters would not renounce him. What do you think will happen by giving ultimate power to someone with these, and these,  and these similarities to Hitler? No doubt Hitler had some good policy ideas too. Should it not give us the slightest pause that people are turning a blind eye to this?

I always find it funny (in a really sad and depressing way) to imagine what would happen if Donald Trump was running as a Democrat. All of a sudden, the very people who are currently adoring him would be screaming that his lying, cheating, bullying, tax-evading self was totally unsuitable to be president. As an independent, I will tell you that I do not think that the Democratic Party would twist themselves into pretzels to support Trump’s nomination like this. In that way, they have found themselves in the position of having more integrity than Republicans.

Finally, the fact that every living president is against Trump, multiple prominent Republicans are against Trump, and multiple historically Republican newspapers have refused to endorse Trump, does not mean “Trump is his own man who can’t be controlled” or “the establishment doesn’t like an outsider coming in.” How is Trump an outsider? He is a white, wealthy, New York male who is the very essence of an American insider. Think about this: if every one of these people was trying to warn you of impending disaster, how would you prefer they tell you?

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If You’re Not a Trump Supporter

One of the most disturbing aspects of the world we live in is the disappearance of truth. There is no longer any truth. People simply choose not to believe whatever facts you present before them. Trump is not a person who stiffs small businesses. He’ll fight for the little guy! Trump didn’t lose the debate. Republican polls say he won! Trump may be unpleasant, but Hillary is just as bad!

For this elimination of truth, I actually place the original blame on the liberal media. I have a journalism degree, and the liberal bias of the mainstream media has been well-known in journalism for decades. As a non-liberal, it’s been painful to witness day in and day out. Here’s an example: when the New York Times published an article last month about the Christianization of the Berenstain Bears books, I knew just by the fact that it was the New York Times that the piece would be negative. Liberal sources never like Christianity. If the source was truly objective, I should not have been able to know that before reading the article.

But when mainstream journalism decided to allow this bias to go unchecked, it was only natural that conservative forces would eventually decide to create their own media. When FOX News came about, Truth was on its deathbed. Now, people simply tune in to the news that fits their worldview, rather than allowing themselves to be educated on what the world actually is. Which means there is no way to get the truth to everyone. I know people, Christians no less, who refuse to believe anything they hear about Trump if it’s reported by a “liberal” source. Even if it’s true! Because truth no longer matters. If the mainstream media had held firm to the cherished journalistic principle of objectivity all along, we would not have needed a right-wing media counterpart, and we would not have Donald Trump, buoyed by millions of deluded supporters, where he is today.

There are many Republicans who have shown true integrity, though – Lindsey Graham, the Bushes, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and many more – and history will treat them kindly. I also want to point out that there are many Christians who have spoken out against Trump from the beginning: Max Lucado, Russell Moore, Joshua Harris, Beth Moore, Jim Wallis, Jimmy Carter, and many more.

In closing, you know how people want Muslims to apologize for ISIS? I feel that exact responsibility as a Christian. So here it is: To non-Christians everywhere, I am so very, very sorry that some of my fellow Christians are supporting Donald Trump.

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Here are some additional articles I think are worth a read before the election:

  • Texas Newspaper Destroys Myth that HRC is Lesser of Two Evils

http://www.politicususa.com/2016/10/02/texas-newspaper-destroys-myth-hillary-clinton-lesser-evils.html

  • Mark Amore’s FB Post on Each of the Lies About Trump and HRC

https://www.facebook.com/markamore/posts/10208559836286327

  • Atlantic Endorsing HRC

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump/501161/

  • Theologian Miroslav Volf on Who Christians Should Vote For (mentions that American Christians have been brainwashed)

http://religionnews.com/2016/10/05/who-should-christians-vote-for-theologian-miroslav-volf-makes-a-surprising-case-for-one-candidate/

  • This Election is Challenging My Faith

http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/15/election-challenging-faith/

  • 10 Reasons Why You Can’t be a Christian and Vote for Donald Trump

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/02/29/pieper-and-henderson-10-reasons-you-cant-be-a-christian-and-vote-for-donald-trump

  • Democrats Raise Money To Rebuild Firebombed GOP Office

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrats-raise-funds-north-carolina-republican-firebombed-office_us_580430eee4b0162c043cb7e1

  • Mormons Have Put White Evangelicals to Shame

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mormons-consciences-have-put-white-evangelicals-to_us_5802d33de4b0985f6d15724c

  • HRC is the Best Choice for Voters Against Abortion

http://www.christianpost.com/news/hillary-clinton-is-the-best-choice-for-voters-against-abortion-170258/

  • Pro-Lifers Who Support Donald Trump Are Kidding Themselves

http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/10/25/13380272/donald-trump-pro-life-abortion

  • This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and His State’s Economy is One of the Best

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibson/mark-dayton-minnesota-economy_b_6737786.html

  • Trump Booted a Black Man From His Rally and He Was a Supporter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/29/trump-booted-a-black-man-from-his-rally-and-called-him-a-thug-turns-out-he-is-a-supporter/

  • Trump: Tribune of Poor White People

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-us-politics-poor-whites/

  • 23 Things Donald Trump Has Said That Would Have Doomed Another Candidate

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/17/23-things-donald-trump-has-said-that-would-have-doomed-another-candidate/

  • Have We Forgotten the Point of Christianity?

https://sojo.net/articles/have-we-forgotten-point-christianity

  • How the Heck Can Voters Think Donald Trump is More Honest Than Hillary Clinton?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/02/donald-trump-hasnt-told-the-truth-repeatedly-in-this-campaign-voters-still-think-he-is-more-honest-than-hillary-clinton/