A City on a Hill

trump

In November of 2016 I cast my vote for President Donald Trump. To say I had researched this decision might be an understatement, and unlike most of Americans (at least from what the polls tell us), I was optimistic and remain optimistic in terms of our President and the direction our country is headed for the next four years.

Toxic. If there was ever a word to describe the media’s (and many bloggers’) narrative surrounding the election of 2016, it would be toxic. As we delved deeper and deeper into the inappropriate and more bizarre tales throughout the election cycle, the media actually became more disliked than the candidates themselves. “Fake News” became the biggest story, and continues today to overshadow all of the reporting coming out of D.C. Our distrust and distaste for the media has grown exponentially, and finding an accurate depiction of what’s really going on in our nation’s capitol takes some serious work.

“Wait. I thought you said you were optimistic.”

Totally. I still am, but just because I’m an optimist doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to the issues we face. Let’s keep it real. Seriously, how do we tackle an issue if we act like it doesn’t exist? Let’s acknowledge the issues, get granular about it, and come up with some brilliant solutions. My mission with this blog over the next few weeks (and could be months) is to draw out these issues, address them, and hopefully encourage all of us to work together to make America great again. Wait. Is that slogan taken?

But let’s just be honest. Writing from a personal ideological perspective in politics is easier than spreading chunky peanut butter on my toast (folks, I eat this almost every day and it is perfect). We writers can take our shots from the cheap seats, with no true damage done to our reputation or psyche. In fact, if we really juice it up and throw a few sucker punches, we can get more clicks than ever. For some horrible reason our culture gravitates towards the negative, but it doesn’t have to. We can help be part of the solution and change the tone once and for all.

Do you want to know what’s not part of the solution? Calling our President names. When has being harsh, negative, and disrespectful ever been helpful? This includes descriptions which mock character. It’s quite ironic that the most offended by the President’s bluntness are often leading the charge of negativity through postings, blogs, or in other forums online.

Even though many would classify me as a “conservative”, there was never a single a moment during the eight years of Barack Obama’s Presidency that I was ever disrespectful or used negative stereotypes to describe our President. Sure, I absolutely unleashed my frustrations when he and his administration pulled their secret payoff of hostages with Iran and then lied about it (which is all a matter of public record and noted). My furor over this was due to the countless American lives they put at risk in the future. This ransom paid let all terrorist states and organizations know that the U.S. is paying big bucks to get our people back, with absolutely zero retribution for the hostage takers. It didn’t matter if they were tortured or frightened beyond belief, we paid up and everything was just fine, right?

“Here’s four hundred million dollars. Have a nice day.”

Despite my absolute disgust for the former President’s deceit to his constituents and for putting so many overseas Americans lives at future risk, I still stuck to the facts and didn’t label anyone. And most assuredly, former Secretary of State John Kerry was also to blame, along with the Vice-President Biden and several others in the former administration. And if I had spoken of him disrespectfully, shame on me.

And for the followers of Jesus who are part of creating a toxic narrative from the cheap seats around our current President, shame on you. This is not in line in any way, shape or form with the teachings of Jesus, and grabbing a piece of scripture out of context or claiming that some confusing “new enlightenment” gives you grounds, is at best a grievous misunderstanding, and at its worst, heresy. Jesus himself said “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). Obviously, this includes everyone, not just your favorites.

As followers of Jesus we need to return to the issues, and stop calling names. We need to lead a new dialogue, where we seek to grow and learn from each other, not pick each other apart. We need to lose these crazy labels (liberal and conservative and progressive and whatever), and stop being afraid to discuss and debate in a polite manner. The days of memes are ending. The days of intelligent debate are on the horizon, and I for one am grateful.

Can you join me? Can you never click like or on a blog that is rude, disrespectful, or belligerent? Could we come together and unite politically in peace, working together for a better nation, and for our communities? Can we show love, the kind of love that Jesus showed, even when he stood in the middle of those holding swords and clubs and torches?

You might say “Doesn’t this start with the President?” Sure. But it starts with you, too, and it starts with me. If you can’t leave the toxic narrative behind, and if for some bizarre reason this is fueling your emotions and you’re now addicted to the destruction of our culture, then it’s most certainly time for a change. Only you truly know if this is you, and only you can make the choice to walk away from this bondage and into a place of freedom.

I’m not sorry if you disagree with me politically, but I have no reason to hide my beliefs or be concerned about what others may say about me. Donald Trump is our President, and he is also a human and deserves your respect. He also deserves a chance, and you should give it to him. A lot can happen in three and half years, and there are a million reasons for you to be optimistic, just like me.

There will be more posts over the next few weeks and months along these lines, but I leave you these words from Jesus, who has more to say about our culture today than anyone else –

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to  your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

2 thoughts on “A City on a Hill

  1. I did not vote for Donald Trump. After he won however, I gave him the respect due his office along with my support in hopes that he succeeds–because his success would also be a win for all Americans. I agree with you about the negativity of press and certain public, and can understand the political frustration his office feels by the roadblocks thrown while trying to roll out his agenda. I hold the role of President of the United States in highest regard, and here is where I begin to struggle. Since I can remember, it has always been a position that has been a target of personal attacks– I remember Ronald Reagan standing ground on issues that were less than popular. I remember both Bushes being challenged and remaining resolute–right or wrong–in their decisions. Criticism has always been adjunct to the role of President and I have never taken issue with defending a decision or position—even when I disagreed. My struggle this time is with the extreme viciousness of his responses, and the fact that he carries his pre-election bully persona into the presidency. He is reactive and vitriolic, and his verbal attacks are undignified and beneath his position. As our President he serves as a role model , yet he lacks the self-discipline to rise above and ignore any form of negative personal attack– this is not a characteristic that evokes confidence in a leader. Imagine these exchanges with North Korea or Islam radicals. I was taught at an early age that I cannot control what others say—I can only control my reaction to what they say. My reason for not voting for Trump was the same reason I am writing this today–I feared where his spontaneous outbursts might lead us. Media is wrong for what they say and write—but if people become outraged and stop listening and buying papers, their superiors will ensure it stops. Who controls our President, and will his inability to “ignore the critics without going for the jugular” someday cross an enemy line that there is no turning back from? I want our president to lead us to great things—but I also pray he ceases these unprofessional outbursts as they perpetuate the cycle of negativity. I want you to succeed Mr. President, so please think of how your words come across to millions of people–rise above it and lead by example.

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    • Thanks so much Chris for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts. For me personally, I believe we needed a new tone and new direction, and there are some strengths to the President’s intensity level and unwillingness to back down. If this is leveraged in a positive sense for our country’s benefit, it would be powerful. I don’t know when the media will come to terms with how badly they’ve disenfranchised so many of us. Until then, I think they will continue to gather folks who believe as they do, and do nothing to unite the country. Finally I am right with you regarding your rise above it Mr. President statement. I couldn’t agree more.

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