America’s Jeremiah Moment

From the heart today. Well, everything I write is from the heart, but this one is burning within. I have been doing my best to warn conservatives—and Christian conservatives, in particular—about giving any aid, verbal or otherwise, to the candidacy of Donald Trump. Some of you, I’m sure, are tired of hearing my warnings.

No one has responded to my warnings with anger, I don’t believe, yet I’m still astonished by people I certainly love and respect giving room to Trump in the sense that they seem to enjoy his braggadocio and politically incorrect comments.

Yes, we do need someone with courage to speak up. We need those kinds of people in government at all levels. My concern, though, is that we are confusing Trump’s self-aggrandizement with Biblical courage.

In my spirit, I’m coming to the place where I believe America is now experiencing its Jeremiah moment. We are at a crossroads in a way we never have been before. The Obama administration has openly advocated the killing of unborn children, has led the way in the destruction of marriage, has done its best to destroy the economy, and has put America in a weakened position around the world.

What is needed at this critical juncture is not a man who brags about how much money he has made, who claims to be smarter than everyone else, and who strikes back at any criticism by calling his critics names: losers, stupid, third-rate journalists, bimbos, etc.

JeremiahRather, we need a chorus of Jeremiahs throughout the nation calling people to repentance and humility—the very last things one would associate with Donald Trump.

Jeremiahs are not usually treated well. The Biblical Jeremiah got on people’s nerves; they kept telling him to be quiet, don’t stir up trouble. Yet he continued on, despite his own inner desire to stop. There was a fire from God in his bones that wouldn’t allow him to back off.

Jeremiah’s message was dire, but if you look closely, his main theme was that the nation needed to humble itself before God. Only through a humility that led to genuine repentance would Judah have any hope for the future.

That’s where America is right now. Our only hope is in a thorough repentance that begins with God’s own. Those who call themselves Christians must see clearly now as never before. We can’t let ourselves be caught up in a reactionary attitude that gives credence to any politician who makes us feel better because he “fights back.”

So I don’t write my warnings about Trump out of any kind of spite toward him personally or just because I’m on my own little hobby horse. I’m truly fearful of what a Trump presidency would bring. I fear it would be no better than a Hillary Clinton presidency, and I don’t think God will bless either choice.

I will continue to write and express my deepest concerns. I will attempt to do so in a redemptive manner, not merely offering denunciations. But the truth needs to be spoken. Our reception of that truth needs to lead us all into a personal examination of our faith and the kind of response God now requires.

This is our Jeremiah moment. How will we respond?

A Weird Campaign Season

This has been a weird campaign season. On the Republican side, no one expected the rise of Donald Trump to the top of the pack. As for Democrats, everyone anticipated a Hillary coronation. She, however, has been her own worst enemy.

Front-Runner

At first, most commentators, myself included, fully expected her to weather the storm simply because she is a Clinton, and Clintons always get away with their misdeeds.

Robs Bank

But lately, with the Democrats themselves in a panic over her obvious hubris, blatant lying, and possible criminality, they are desperately seeking an alternative that isn’t Bernie Sanders.

So what do they come up with? An extension of the Obama presidency in the person of VP Joe Biden. This is the best they have? I can see his soul-stirring message already:

Campaign Slogan

He’s also been called a human gaffe-machine (and possible serial-groper). At the very least, he would be entertaining. Unfortunately, if he is the candidate, the media will allow him to do and say almost anything, in contrast to how they will treat whoever the Republican candidate may be. Here’s one scenario:

What a Character

I, of course, shudder at that scenario, for the many reasons I’ve outlined in previous posts. Let me summarize once again:

Trump's Changed Mind

Wouldn’t it be better if the Republicans nominated a genuine Republican conservative this time? A self-aggrandizing opportunist is never the answer.

The Trump-McCarthy Parallel

I admit to being amazed at the support Donald Trump seems to be getting, not only from what might be called “movement conservatives,” but more specifically, from evangelical Christians. One article indicates that he is the leading candidate among that latter group. I don’t know for sure if that’s true, but if it’s even close to the mark, it’s astonishing.

Donald Trump 2I won’t go into detail again (see a previous post) on why I do not support Trump’s candidacy, but I can offer a short summary: supreme arrogance (he says he’s never asked God for forgiveness for anything; constant boasting about how rich he is and how smart); other personal character traits (favorite words being “loser” and “stupid”; resorting to twitter jibes on an adolescent level toward those who criticize him); and his recent “conversion” to conservative policies.

On that last point, some have tried to compare his change to conservatism to Ronald Reagan’s. I’ve studied Reagan in some depth and know that his worldview changed over time as a result of intense study and grappling with foundational philosophical issues. I’m not convinced that is the case with Trump; neither do I trust him to remain true to what he now says he believes.

In fact, he’s rather mixed up on some things: he claims to be for repealing Obamacare, yet says a universal, government-run healthcare system is workable in some countries. He doesn’t quite say why he considers it unworkable here. Perhaps he really doesn’t. Perhaps, were he to attain the presidency, we might be subject to another failed promise from a politician.

Joe McCarthyI’m also seeing a historical parallel with another situation. Back in the early 1950s, Sen. Joe McCarthy made a big splash as a crusader against communism. He was bold and brash and developed a large following. Many in conservatism at the time saw him as the leader against the establishment and flocked to his bandwagon. Yet he was little more than an opportunist, seizing on a hot topic that he did not really grasp clearly.

As evidence for this conclusion, I turn to Whittaker Chambers, a genuine champion of liberty who left the communist underground, gave his witness to Congress, and suffered publicly for doing so. Yet he succeeded in unmasking the underground movement, with the climax being the conviction of Alger Hiss—who had been his compatriot in the underground and then became a top State Department official—for perjury.

McCarthy wanted to tie his crusade to Chambers. They met. Chambers came away with some rather pointed comments about the senator. In a letter to William F. Buckley, Chambers summarized McCarthy’s approach in this way: “Senator McCarthy’s notion of tactics is to break the rules, saturate the enemy with poison gas, and then charge through the contaminated area, shouting Comanche war cries.”

Chambers at DeskThese heavy-handed tactics were of deep concern to Chambers, who wrote:

I know he thinks this is a superior technique that the rest of us are too far behind to appreciate. But it is repetitious and unartful, and, with time, the repeated dull thud of the low blow may prove to be the real factor in his undoing. Not necessarily because the blow is low, or because he lacks heart and purpose, but because he lacks variety, and, in the end, simply puts the audience to sleep.

He tried not to come to a rash judgment, but concluded, “It is more and more my reluctant opinion that he is a tactician, rather than a strategist; that he continually, by reflex rather than calculation, sacrifices the long view for the short pull.”

What worried him the most was the damage McCarthy would do over time:

In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.

Chambers was correct: McCarthy stumbled on his own arrogance and ignorance; his actions discredited anti-communist efforts to this day.

Personally, I have those same fears about Donald Trump. Everything Chambers said about McCarthy looms in my mind when I hear Trump speak, and I am concerned that his nomination, let alone his possible election as president, may be the death knell for true conservatism, and Christians who currently look past his character failings will one day regret their willful blindness.

There are some who say that God doesn’t need a committed Christian to accomplish his purposes, that He can use someone who is terribly flawed and not in touch with Him to carry out His will.

I understand that position. God does work in all situations. He did use Nebuchadnezzar to carry out His judgments on His people of Israel. But that was for the purpose of punishment for sin. Frankly, He has a lot of politicians to choose from if He is ready to unleash His judgment on America. Trump is not unique in that sense.

Since when do we deliberately choose a spiritual renegade over a committed Christian man or woman who is seeking to do His will? Those men and women do exist, and some are running for president right now. Why would we throw our support behind someone who is more egocentric than anyone else in the political realm?

I don’t want to have to defend myself before God after making a choice like that. I’m going to give my vote to someone who at least has a heart for righteousness and the God who defines what is and is not righteous.

If Trump is the Republican nominee, we may be destroying whatever remains of principle in that party. If he should ever be elected president, we may see in that office someone who is a combination of Nebuchadnezzar and Joe McCarthy. He may be the channel for God’s judgment, but I will not willingly go that route. I still want to help save America.

My musings in this post will not be accepted by all, I know. But I hope you will, at the very least, avoid being caught up in an emotional appeal and will take some time to reflect on the concerns I have expressed here. May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Trump & the Loss of the Conservative Mind

I’ve witnessed a myriad of political delusions in my lifetime: the Kennedy administration as Camelot; the Great Society; Jimmy Carter as the outsider who will redeem us from Vietnam and Watergate; high approval ratings for Bill Clinton despite all the scandals and gross immorality; the belief that Barack Obama is a great healer, uniter, and messiah. All of these, though, were delusions in the general public primarily.

What I’m seeing now—and finding it difficult to swallow—is the delusion on the conservative side of politics when it comes to Donald Trump. Normally clear-eyed commentators are throwing away all their practiced discernment in a foolish rush either to support Trump for the Republican nomination or at least to defend what he says and ignore his history.

It’s truly dismaying to hear Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter—just to name a few—rally to Trump’s side. Websites that I have relied upon for unfiltered information about the culture and politics are doing the same.

Is this the equivalent on the Right of the mania for Obama on the Left in 2008?

Donald Trump, in my view, is not presidential material. First, his character precludes giving him the respect that is due any president. His massive ego, far more evident than in any other candidate (with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton), should, in itself, be a disqualifier.

Losers

Those who have spent so much time criticizing the moral character of the Clintons and Obama are now trumpeting Trump? How sad.

Then there’s his suspicious “conversion” to conservative beliefs, all, it seems, within the past few weeks as he decided to jump into the field as a Republican candidate. Has the collective memory of the conservative movement self-destructed?

My Record

For Trump, I get the feeling that winning the presidency is just another in a long line of trade deals.

Acquisitions

Consider this post a plea for conservatives to regain their political acumen based on true limited government philosophy and Biblical principles of character. Return from the wilderness, please, and reestablish your reputations as trusted sources for sound reasoning.

Trump? We Should Know Better

I will attempt today not to vent my frustration but to have a calm, rational post about Donald Trump. For the past six-plus years, I’ve been distressed with the foolishness of the American voter overall for putting Barack Obama in the White House. That distress is almost equaled by the possibility of Hillary Clinton returning to that address. Yet almost as frustrating is the boomlet for Trump among potential Republican primary voters.

You all should know better.

Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls is astounding, to be sure. When asked why they support him, many are saying it has nothing to do with the issues but merely admiration for someone who speaks his mind so boldly.

Nothing to do with the issues? Is that how Republicans display their political/governmental knowledge?

Supporting a candidate should be based on two things: where he/she stands on the issues; the character of the individual.

Trump is a new convert to all the “right” side of the issues for voters angry with the path this nation is on under Obama. As I noted in a previous post, he historically has been pro-abortion, in favor of a government-imposed healthcare, soft on illegal immigration, etc., etc.

On the character side of the ledger, his many divorces, his superficial Christianity (which is the same as a non-existent Christianity), his tendency to say whatever just happens to enter his brain, and his incessant boasting about his wealth and his intelligence should send warning signals to all. He reminds me of the central character in this old tale:

Humpty-Trumpty

When the fall comes, it will be disastrous.

I’m particularly distressed over evangelical Christians rushing to Trump’s side. Where is the discernment that is sorely needed for this upcoming historic election? Bruce Jenner (yes, I’m still using his real name because he is still a man regardless of his protestations to the contrary) says he is a Republican. Does that mean those of us who take Scripture seriously should look the other way because that puts him “on our side”?

Dream Ticket

A dream? No, more like a nightmare.

Then there’s Trump’s not-so-subtle insinuation that he had better get this nomination or else:

Be Nice to Me

If that should happen, we will have to endure another four to eight years of radicalism in the White House.

I sincerely hope the Republican electorate awakes from its stupor and begins to see more clearly. The outrage over the Obama years and the weak Republican leadership in Congress should not drive us to commit intellectual suicide. Voting primarily on emotion will be our downfall.

The Trump Factor

Donald TrumpYes, I must write about Donald Trump. He’s become such a controversial figure that I have no choice. One wing of Republicans seem to view him as the straight-talking savior they’ve been waiting for, while a broad swath of Republicans deem him the out-of-control candidate that is going to ruin everything. Which group is closer to the truth?

I hoped Trump would not jump into the presidential race. When he took the plunge, I didn’t anticipate he would do so well in the polls. So it’s crucial to know Trump’s character and where he stands on issues, both past and present.

He created a stir with the announcement of his candidacy when he attacked the government’s policies (or lack thereof) on illegal immigration. Most of the country agrees with the anger he expressed over that issue. Critics pointed, though, to his choice of words when speaking of Mexico; they said he was painting a broad brush and stereotyping.

This past weekend, new controversy ensued when, at a forum in Iowa that included most of the Republican candidates, he commented that John McCain was not all that much of a hero for suffering torture during the Vietnam War. He said he preferred people who didn’t get captured, thereby seeming to denigrate not only McCain for having been captured, but all prisoners of war.

Got My Vote

The furor over this has been high-pitched, and may I say, rightly so. One doesn’t have to particularly appreciate McCain’s record as a senator to feel this was a low blow at someone who did suffer significantly during that war. He didn’t choose to be a prisoner of war; he didn’t become one because he was a “loser,” which was the impression Trump gave.

Trump is hitting a nerve with some Republicans who are angry with Obama and fed up with the lackluster performance of a Republican party that controls the Congress and could be setting a stronger agenda. Trump is their outlet.

To jump on the Trump bandwagon is a big blunder for Republicans.

Let’s start with what he really believes. Talk about evolving—he is the champion in that sphere.

His history of political donations leans heavily Democrat, even to the support of Hillary Clinton. He is on record as favoring Obamacare and would like to see America go further and adopt the Canadian universal healthcare system.

On the illegal immigration issue, where he is making a huge splash today, back in 2012, he criticized Romney for being too harsh with his “self-deportation” comments.

He’s always been a supporter of abortion “rights” and is, we are told, “evolving” on the same-sex marriage issue.

The controversy over the McCain comment overshadowed another one he made at that same Iowa forum: he said he had never asked God for forgiveness for anything. According to those who reported on the aftermath of his time on stage there, that was the comment that created the most stir in the audience, as many, for the first time, realized he has no concept of what it means to be a Christian.

When I look at Donald Trump, I see a man who is in love with himself more than anything else. He is self-centered to the max, akin to Barack Obama’s constant usage of the words “I,” “my,” and “me” in all his speeches.

Trump seems to think he deserves to be president because he has made a lot of money (to which he refers constantly) and is super-smart.

For all these reasons, I cannot support the Trump candidacy, and I think Republicans in general, and Christians specifically, who do support him are either ignorant of his true character and beliefs or are letting their anger over what is occurring in our nation influence their vote.

Some seek to portray the Trump candidacy as a split between true conservatives (his supporters) and the Republican wishy-washy establishment that fears he will take away their authority.

Combover

That’s not an accurate assessment. Those who understand Biblical truths and a conservative philosophy of government should be the first to avoid a Trump candidacy.

And all those “establishment” Republicans? They have a point. Trump, when asked directly, refused to rule out a third-party candidacy if he should not win the Republican nomination.

I can say with some assurance that he will not win the Republican nomination. If he then follows through with a third-party candidacy, what will be the result?

Welcome to the Hillary Clinton presidency.

That, by itself, should be enough to shake his supporters out of their dream world. He could be the instrument for ushering in a new nightmare.

It was a strong third-party candidacy—Ross Perot back in 1992—that gave us Bill Clinton. Isn’t it time to learn something from history?

The Baneful Effects of a Third Party in Presidential Elections

Earlier this month, I spoke at the Winter Haven, Florida, 9-12 Project. Last night I was closer to home at the Lakeland 9-12 Project meeting. As with the Winter Haven group, these are sincere citizens who want to see substantive change, as opposed to a vague, dreamy “hope-and-change” mantra without meaning. They are committed to restoring the original intent of the Constitution and in helping educate the public on basic principles.

My topic was the effect of third parties on elections. Here are a few of my prime examples.

In 1844, the Liberty Party entered the presidential election as an alternative to the Democrats and Whigs. This party had one issue only—the abolition of slavery. James G. Birney, a man of principle and courage was its presidential candidate. He had put his life on the line many times for his beliefs. I admire him. But since this was a one-issue party, defeat was inevitable; you have to develop a broad agenda and distinct philosophy of government to attract more people to your side. However, this small party probably turned the election in a direction it wouldn’t have gone otherwise. The Democrats were the pro-slavery party, while the Whigs, though divided on the issue, at least had some reformers who wanted to take steps to eliminate slavery. If any progress were to be made for abolition of slavery, it would have been far better had the Whigs won. However, the Liberty Party, although it took only 2% of the popular vote, drained enough support from the Whigs that the Democrats carried New York, the state with the largest number of electoral votes. If the Whigs had won that state, their candidate, Henry Clay, would have been president. Instead, we got James Polk, who supported the slave system.

Then, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt challenged sitting president William Howard Taft for the Republican nomination. Roosevelt was denied the nomination, and was so angered by it that he started his own third party known as the Progressives [with a nickname of Bull Moose]. Roosevelt effectively split the Republican vote in that election, putting Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House. Wilson, who was even more progressive than Roosevelt, championed the idea that the Constitution was a “living document,” and that original intent should be shelved. If Taft hadn’t been opposed by Roosevelt, he probably would have won reelection and Wilson never would have become president—he garnered only 42% of the popular vote.

Finally, in 1992, the entrance of Ross Perot into the race took away 19% of the vote that traditionally would have gone to the Republicans. The result? The presidency of Bill Clinton.

More often than not, third parties allow someone to win who normally wouldn’t. And the one who wins quite often is worse than the one from whom votes were drained. In an attempt to achieve the perfect, third parties usually end up providing us with a raw deal. As the cliché goes, the perfect can be the enemy of the good.

If I have one electoral fear right now, it’s that someone, whether it be Donald Trump or Ron Paul, will decide to run as a third-party candidate in 2012, thereby ensuring an Obama reelection. I hope history can come along and be a guide—don’t destroy our best chance of reversing what has occurred on Obama’s watch. Don’t allow disunity to give this man a second term. I’m not sure the country can survive another four years.