Saturday, December 17, 2016

This election truly has been like no other election in our lives or, for that matter, in U.S. history. Trump lost the popular vote by a record margin of nearly 3 million votes (five times greater a losing margin than any previous U.S. President in history). Meanwhile his Electoral College victory was not substantial by historical standards. At the end of the day, Trump is President because of a total of about 100,000 votes which put him ever so slightly over in three key states. And his victory is deeply tainted by his crass appeals to the worst in American values, by Russian interference, by the injection of "fake news" and by a coordinated Republican campaign to disenfranchise minority voters.
Based on that, you might think Trump would try to earn legitimacy by acknowledging the facts and seeking to conduct himself in a conciliatory, unifying manner, But he continues to make outrageous statements, to issue inflammatory denials of the facts and is signalling through his cabinet appointments a governmental agenda that will be extremely right-wing.
And so a great many Americans, including many Christians (including yours truly) are struggling to accept the legitimacy of his election based on these factors (that's in addition to his demonstrated lack of character and lack of qualification). He is dangerous. That's not a view ginned up by conspiracy theories; that's a stone-faced assessment based primarily on his own words and actions. We Americans tend to think we're immune from having happen to us what happened in the 20th century to Germany or Italy or Russia or Spain or Japan or many African and Middle Eastern nations. We tend to think we're immune to having done to us what we did to Chile and Iran. We're not immune.
History also shows us with painful clarity how often Christians have gone along with injustice, corruption and even tyranny if it suited their agenda or gave them advantage or kept them out of trouble. But there have also always been those dissenting minority Christians who (in the spirit of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus) engaged the culture by speaking truth to power and (nonviolently) challenging unjust leaders and oppressive systems.
Time to go read Bonhoeffer...
-- DC 


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