Trump as Chemo Man

Introduction:

Now that the Mueller report has been turned in, and it does not appear that any new heads will roll, and we are witnessing a reprise of Election Night Horror with leftists sobbing, I thought that this would be a good time to present my thoughts on Trump that have been gestating for some time now, thoughts I have teased and promised on various occasions. What on earth are thoughtful Christians supposed to do in the upcoming presidential election of 2020?

I ask this question on the supposition that Trump will run again, and that one of the likely Democratic candidates will obtain the nomination. We do not yet know who that will be, so let us use the placeholder name of Some Commie (SC).

To set the problem up, I believe the honorable options to choose from would be 1. To refrain from voting for president at all; 2. To vote third party or a write-in candidate; or 3. To vote for Donald J. Trump. Given how the Democrats have made the slaughter of infants their bloody and non-negotiable sacrament, and how pride in sexual perversion is highlighted on the front of all their political brochures, I believe that for any Christian to vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless of who it is, represents a deep moral confusion, compromise and failure.

But for the Evangelical Kool Kids it won’t look or feel like deep moral confusion, compromise, and failure, and because the #3 option that will be chosen by most evangelical voters will look to them like deep moral confusion, compromise, and failure, I thought I should outline my thinking now. I say this as I have come to the decision that—if things remain largely the same as they are now—I will be voting for the president. 

And so here’s my thinking. I would really like to have a discussion on this one, so I am going to leave comments open on this post. Have at it, but behave yourselves.

To Review:

In the interests of full disclosure, I need to say at the outset that I did not support Trump through the primaries of the last round. Not only did I not support him, I would say it would be fair to say that I strongly opposed him, and if you want to rummage in the archives of this blog for some of that opposition, it will not be all that hard to find. I supported Ted Cruz through the primaries, and in the general election I wrote in a candidate for president, someone who wasn’t running, as a protest vote. Not only so, but given what I knew and believed, I think I did the right thing.

I did this because, to use the short form, character matters. Proven character over time is the best indicator of what is reasonable to expect from someone in the future. This is a preeminently biblical rule of thumb. I did not trust Donald Trump to do what he was promising to do. I flat out didn’t believe him. If a man doesn’t keep promises to his wives, for example, why on earth would I expect him to keep his promises to a solitary voter in Idaho?

All my life, Republican presidents have been running to the conservative right, and governing to the middle. Trump was running to a sloppy and inchoate right, and so I fully expected a New York liberal to emerge from the smoke of the campaign, if he were in fact elected. But contrary to my expectations, Trump has been the first president in my experience to be governing to the right of where his campaign made me think he would.

So when he was running in 2016, I had no expectation that he would, for example, appoint a boatload of Federalist Society type judges. But now, coming up on 2020, I do have an expectation that he will continue to do so. And that is what creates our situation.

One other thing that needs to be included in the review of the last presidential election, and which should certainly affect the reader’s evaluation of my bandwidth as a pundit. It has to be said that I completely misread the mood of the country. I mean by this that I thought that Trump’s initial primary successes were a fluke, or a joke, or some kind of flukey joke. I was among those who thought that an actual Trump presidency was not in the cards at all. There was no way, thought I, that the American people would actually elect that man to that office. So factor that missed call in if you have any inclination to give undue credence to my thinking now.

In Tucker Carlson’s recent book, Ship of Fools, he makes the extraordinarily insightful comment that a happy people do not elect Donald J. Trump president, but that a desperate people do. I was focused on the inability of the electorate to see or identify Trump’s flaws, which were and are manifest, and which is what I thought was going on, and not nearly focused enough on the ABILITY of the electorate to see and identify the flaws of our shuckin’ and jivin’ respectable establishment types. That was my central miscalculation.

A Metaphor to Make Sense of It All

I am currently reading a very capable book by Victor David Hanson, a classics scholar and intellectual, who has written The Case for Trump. This is not a rah-rah election year book, or a flattering puff piece at all. Hanson does not in the least overlook the tawdry details of Trump’s business past, or his bombast, or his unhelpful tweets, or his lurid sybaritic past, the way he vents his spleen, or his fourth-grade level expressions of his political intentions. Hanson sees all that, and notes all that, and provides us with the most helpful metaphor I have heard in any of the discussions of it. Hanson uses a metaphor, almost in passing, that explains what is happening here, and which in my view explains it almost completely.

So Trump is chemo-therapy. The way chemo works is by poisoning the patient, with the doctors doing this rash thing in the pious wish that the poison will kill the cancer at a faster rate than it will kill the healthy tissue. But everyone agrees that it is poison, and that it negatively affects the healthy tissue. The point, however, is to kill the cancer dead before killing the patient dead. The healthy tissue can recuperate at leisure later. That’s what a Pence administration will be for. Pence would be a great bed rest president.

I have previously used the metaphor of Trump as a wrecking ball, but a wrecking ball just takes the whole thing down. It doesn’t discriminate between the parts of the building you want to save and the parts you want destroyed. But in the hands of wise doctors, chemo does discriminate, provided that the cancer dies more rapidly than the patient does. But the intention is to discriminate.

The Actual Debate

So the debate should not revolve around whether Trump is a good or a godly man. The actual debate has to do with whether or not our normal political establishment is in fact normal, or whether it is, as I believe, riddled with disease. Trump can be toxic, and still not be the cancer that is killing us.

And this is where Hanson’s book provides much needed context. If anyone was in need of a thorough review of how wicked the deep state is, and how real it is, and how dangerous it is, Hanson’s book provides that context.

Not only does Hanson’s book provide this damning indictment, but with last week’s utter collapse of the Russian collusion narrative, and the coming shambolic aftermath of that slow motion failed coup attempt, should reveal to every thoughtful observer that the respectable establishment is anything but respectable.   

Way More to Discuss . . .

So God’s standards for civic rulers remains what it was. We should want godly rulers, and in every situation where we are given that option we must take that option.

“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Ex. 18:21).

I don’t have time to develop it here, but I do want to note in closing that this is not an “end justifies the means” argument, and it is not a call for some authoritarian fascist to make our trains run on time. To represent what I am urging here in those terms is to completely misrepresent what is going on. I do not want a strong man to seize control of a chaotic situation. The question is whether we should want more of what has actually been happening—counter-intuitive sanity arising from a most unlikely source.

And so this is, in my view, simply a recognition of God’s mercy to us. And the choice we will face in the 2020 election will be a choice between situations, or a choice between two different conditions. Should we vote for four more years of chemo, or should we vote for the cancer to come roaring out of remission?

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drewnchick
Member

Trump as chemo-therapy; Pence as bedrest recuperation…I like it. It rings true.
Since my father was a forester, perhaps another analogy would be Trump as clear cutter; Pence as the few trees remaining to naturally reseed the forest.
But the diseased trees are plenteous and I can’t see the forest for the lot of them…
Thanks for your clarity.

Jeff
Guest

I would have equal difficulty voting for Pence as I will in voting for Trump. Pence is, as they say in TX, all hat and no cattle. I am a Hoosier and disappointment does not even begin to describe how I feel about Pence. During his tenure of governor there was a storm over the RFRA law. The alphabet soup and corporate minions threw the kind of hissy fit of which we are all familiar. He had the chance to be a Daniel. Or a Shack, Rack and Benny. Or an Esther. Who knows that he was made governor for… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Jeff, Good point about the RFRA and bathroom bill flare-ups. Note the differences between left-wing activist and right-wing activists and their relationship to corporate America. When lefties in NYC were upset about special tax relief (and other aspects) for Amazon HQ-2 they threw a fit. The neo-liberal arm of the democratic party tsk-tsked at them and told them how economically illiterate they were and what a boon the tax Amazon would be to Long Island City/Queens. The activists didn’t care, they stuck with it until Amazon pulled out. Compare that with what happened in Indiana and N. Carolina. Some businesses… Read more »

sloppyedwards
Member

I wouldn’t really have difficulty voting for Pence (given the likely alternatives), but he has been a major disappointment. He was much better as a talking head and reliable vote in Congress than he was as a governor. His hand-picked successor (Holcomb) has been pretty disappointing as well.

Brandon K
Guest
Brandon K

Even more fascinating to me is how Trump has been useful in revealing the rotting interior of evangelicalism in America. Esteemed Evangelical Leaders (EELs) have been lured into overplaying their hand and revealed their true colors too soon. The slow fade into oblivion was arrested by the appearance of Trump on the scene. Personally, I am more thankful for this than for anything else. A healthy culture must be initiated by a healthy church, and, as much more of us can now clearly see, we are anything but healthy.

Scott Z
Guest
Scott Z

The night before the election I was still torn 9n who to vote for. I was praying and seeking scriptures to guide me. A thought popped into my head, and brought some clarity : “This country needs a Dad.” I ended up doing a write-in for Pence, so my vote more or less didn’t count, but I was glad when Trump got the win. He’s not a good dad, more like a crazy uncle, but he is governing in such a way that I think we are benefiting as a whole from his brash, bull-headed (dare I say masculine) tactics.… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

I just think the “crazy Uncle” pejorative should be stricken from our lexicon.

adad0
Member

Speaking as a certifiable “Crazy Uncle”, I don’t think the term is perjorative at all!
Our fundamental value to the fabric of society is at least at the same level, if not greater,
than that of chocolate covered twinkies, or even a surprise “gift” of mongrel puppies! ; – )

prayersofadoration
Member

Chemo is a good metaphor. Medicine, not food, and not the usual kind of medicine either.

Yes Trump’s flaws were blatantly obvious but the electorate ate it up. The flaws were irrelevant and still are in my humble opinion.

Trump as God’s joke is another good metaphor you’ve used before. He’s like the smartest of the Three Stooges.

Jerry
Guest
Jerry

Doug, I remember having a conversation with you a couple months before the election and you thought a Hillary upset was entire possible if not likely. So maybe you weren’t expecting it, but my impression is that you would’ve flipped a coin.

Trump is chemo, sort of. What about making the world safe for homosexual “rights”? How much does that play into criteria?

demosthenes1d
Member

Quick question:

Other than appointments to the Federal Judiciary (admittedly a big deal) what are the other examples of extra-conservative governance?

I know “conservative” can cover a lot of ground…

JPH
Guest
JPH

>> Putting the squeeze on Planned Parenthood funding
>> Removing seditious individuals from the ranks (Comey et. al.)
>> Exposing and crippling human and drug trafficking networks (more to come on this b.t.w.)
>> Being less of a war-monger than prior administrations (of both parties)
>> Lowering taxes

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Good
Nonsense
Nonsense
Push
Bad

Not enough.

Frikkie Mulder
Guest

I am writing from South Africa. Whatever happens, we pray that God’s church would grow in the United States of America, and that his kingdom would expand to such a degree, that the gates of hell, would be smashed to pieces there. Kind regards in Christ.

paul bunyan
Guest
paul bunyan

I’m going to admit that I’m a bit confused by Doug’s argument here. There are two things that seem to be at the core of my misunderstanding. 1. Isn’t Chemo the definition of “the ends justify the means”, in that you ingest something toxic in order to get a positive result? 2. If “character matters”, then there should probably be more explanation as to when. Assuming the Democrats nominate Pro-choice people indefinitely would there ever be a point in time when the Republican nominees character will “matter”? And if we assume Trump continues to govern conservatively, will that permanently override… Read more »

farinata
Guest
farinata

Paul –
1. No, for an important reason. Means justifying the ends signifies doing evil that good may come: murdering someone “for the greater good.” Chemotherapy is rather a difficult good thing: it is profoundly unpleasant, but it still acts as medicine, killing the thing that is killing you. It is not a perfect analogy, because chemo doesn’t really have a moral dimension.

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

I think the reality of the deep state is the best case for Trump as chemo. Doug, would you consider writing more about the deep state? This may seem like a random question but it is related. Do you have an opinion on E. Michael Jones’s analysis of the deep state?

demosthenes1d
Member

Mr. Lister,

Could you explain exactly what the deep state is (please use short words for people like me)?

Is it just a more conspiratorial name for Hamburger’s administrative state? Is it the collection of bureaucrats, staffers, etc, possibly with K-Street and think tanks tossed in? Or is it something different all together?

JP Stewart
Member

This goes way beyond the Deep State, but this guy is one of the most interesting and well-read conspiracy theorists…and he’s one of the best current presup apologists (though he moved from Reformed to Orthodox long ago). https://jaysanalysis.com/2019/02/13/jordan-peterson-transcendental-arguments-atheism-esoteric-hollywood-jay-dyer-danny-roddy/ I don’t think we should dismiss all conspiracy theories as easily as the MSM does (unless it’s Trump-Russia Collusion, in which some “respectable” journalists went full Alex Jones without batting an eye). But it’s almost impossible to uncover conspiracies until decades later (and some have certainly been uncovered). That’s what makes them equally fascinating and frustrating…and why I generally stay away since… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

JP

If you had a text version I would give it a read. I’m pretty much allergic to video.

I agree that there are many real conspiracies and some real conspiracy theories. However, the actual conspiracies seem to share some common traits. They are either run by large, visible, well-funded organizations with conspiracy basically in their job description (CIA US Military, Mossad/IDF, etc.), or they are run by small closely held groups of radicals (Al Quada, Weather Underground). Other potential groupings appear to be very unstable.

This may interest you: https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/01/14/too-many-people-dare-call-it-conspiracy/

JP Stewart
Member

Sorry, he doesn’t do transcripts of the videos. As for this: “They are either run by large, visible, well-funded organizations,” Project MK Ultra comes to mind and is mentioned in the article you linked. It was in its heyday when The Manchurian Candidate movie was released—pretty wild.

demosthenes1d
Member

Yeah, MK Ultra, Gulf of Tonkin, Iran-Contra, Operation Northwoods, the Lavon Affair, etc. These all have something in common.

The rabbit-trails are real, but I’m afraid a lot of unstable people are led into the wilderness by this stuff.

JP Stewart
Member

Much of the news we see (and don’t see) is arguably conspiratorial…especially in the age of newsfeeds and social media. Here’s one example of many:
https://twitter.com/johnzahorik/status/1103024309511962624

demosthenes1d
Member

Yeah, native advertising is really bad stuff. I wont read any outlet that I catch engaging in it. I would never read about “Keto Crotch” anyway, but this sort of content can move in to any field. I typically browse the internet with all images, java and tracking turned off, which helps some.

More and more I read journalists that I have a long history with (whether I agree with them or not). I am very careful to vet new voices. It may seem paranoid and limiting, but it definitely helps if you want to avoid being fed crap.

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

demosthenes1d, I do not know who the deep state is but I want to know. This is why I would like to hear more from Wilson on the subject. If you ask E. Michael Jones, he would say “they” are a rich Jewish cabal. I do not know if he’s right, but he’s really smart and makes some strong points. I also know Wilson is a fan of some of his books. I do believe that the deep state exists. When every late night host does the same Trump joke, with the same delivery and punchline, on the same night…I… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Mr. Lister,

I was afraid it all came down to the Jooooz.

The administrative state is basically the entire mass of the bureaucracy which writes regulations and conducts day to day government business. K-street is a street in DC where many lobbiests have offices. Therefore, “K-Street” is used as a synecdoche for all lobbiests and special interest groups.

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

demosthenes1d, thanks for humoring me. Why are you afraid of that? I’m honestly trying to learn more about it. I’m not defending Jones but he is probably the smartest person that I’ve heard make a case for it. Do have a take on it?

demosthenes1d
Member

Mr. Lister, Blaming the Jews for all and sundry has a long (and tawdry) history. Due to a relative lack of persecution during the mid-late 20th century Jews today have their weakest sense of group identification in history, they are intermarrying at record rates (secular jews at least, which are the filthy rich ones), and their rates of participation in the most exclusive professions and attendance at the most exclusive schools is declining (with Asians picking up most of the slack). Seems like a really odd time to bring back up the old “Elders of Zion” conspiracy theories. If by… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

I have no dog in this fight but Jones is a far cry from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion stuff–whether you agree with him or not. See his 1,300-page Barren Metal book for example.

demosthenes1d
Member

JP,

I know nothing of Jones… just Lister’s characterization of his view of the deep state being a “rich jewish cabal.”

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

demosthenes1d, thank you for continuing to engage. I’ve never heard of the “Elders of Zion”. I’m pretty green in “learning” about deep state. I’d like to read Jones’s book, “The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History” but it’s 1200 pages…so, I’m not sure when I will get to that one. From the limited amount I understand, his arguments are of the follow-the-money type. Or follow the controllers-of-money. He also makes some theological arguements to explain what he calls a subversive psychology. He understands a revolutionary spirit to be the fruit of Talmudic Jewish theology. From what I… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Mr. Lister, I missed your post earlier, sorry. I am skeptical of the deep state being about cabals at all. I really don’t like the term much because of the conspiratorial overtones, which I think are unwarranted, or at least require further substantiation. It has become a sloppy shorthand. I prefer the permanent government, or the administrative state. There are certainly elements of the permanent government that are by thair nature shadowy (such as parts of the military and the CIA) which can act against the interests of a duly elected administration, which contributes to the distrust by the populace.… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

To continue, Re: whether some of these interests are “a subversive Jewish group.” I would say that depends on what you mean. There are a lot of Jewish people (and Irish, apparently!) In positions of influence because they are enormously talented people on average. There is also a strong constituency for pro-Israel politics though they are certainly not arrayed against Trump. A radically anti-Israeli president would see a lot of pushback and sabotage from the deep state, I have no doubt, but it wouldn’t be an organized Jewish response. I dont’t think “subversive Jewish group” is a useful category that… Read more »

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

demosthenes1d, I agree with your point, whatever the “deep state” is, its complicated. From the couple interviews with Jones I’ve heard, he offers more nuance than just saying “sneaky joooze”. Jones has said and stood for truth other areas to earn my attention and open mind on the Jew issue. I still don’t know enough, to know what I think. I agree with you that any anti-Israel candidate would feel the force of a coordinated Jewish opposition. I also agree with your earlier comment about the Jewish identity crisis. From what I know, most people have trouble distinguishing the Jewish… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

For a look at the kind of criticism V. Hanson is making look here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/deep-state-federal-bureaucracy-trump-campaign/

Hanson has been something of a house historian for the neocons, and I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, but I agree that the intelligence community has behaved very badly (now and in the past). This is deep state stuff.

demosthenes1d
Member

I should add that of Hanson’s exemplars of the deep state Comey, McCabe, and Brennan are all Irish…. maybe there is an Irish cabal?

demosthenes1d
Member

Samantha Power is Irish too… coincidence? You decide.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

If you really want to know, then I recommend Ryan Dawson’s Empire Unmasked (documentary) to start.

Craig
Guest
Craig

Pence is a coward. Trump should dump him for another running mate, someone like Ted Cruz. If anyone hasn’t been afraid to fire people at the drop of a hat, it’s DJT.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Why Cruz? Cruz is part of the problem we have suffered through for the past 3 years.

JP Stewart
Member

Besides a ridiculous amount of time and money on Russiagate, what have we suffered? Certainly not much compared to gay marriage, Obamacare, trans-craziness (which we’re still stuck with), etc.

Dave
Guest
Dave

JP, we suffered the cover up of a multitude of illegal actions during the Obama administration. Those were actions that would have sent others to prison for decades.

Obamacare, homosexuals demanding more power, HR 1 and 5 are all examples of what happens at the surface when those who take evil actions are not punished for those actions. The problem is much deeper in our government than we think and I think will only be exorcised by prayer, hard preaching and American Christians repenting of our corporate national sins.

Robert
Guest
Robert

The real problem is that the leadership of the Democrat Party know that eventually they will get another of their own in, short of a major reformation. He or she will just pick up where Obama left off.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Thanks for the perspective, Doug. I must say, though, that unless he downsizes the neocon caused military footprint across the world and builds the wall, he won’t get reelected. Half of my military buddies love Trump primarily because of his stance on the wars, and his loud tips to patriotism. But with neocon extraordinaire John Bolton as the current National Security Advisor, that looks like a dim prospect, and with the Dems holding the House, the wall looks dim as well. He talks a good game, but he will lose a good section of his base without some progress on… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

His base sees him trying which they have never seen a politician really do.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Kinda, but his base sees him firing Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions and installing John Bolton and Jared Kushner into very influential roles and they get nervous.

The base hears him talk a good game, but has weak follow through. Right now, he is splitting the difference between establishment repub wants and bread crumbs for his base.

That won’t be enough for 2020, that is, unless the Dems offer the country another Clinton-like character, which admittedly seems likely at this point.

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ, One of the few things Trump has done that was, to me, unambiguously positive, was announcing mission accomplished and declaring we were getting out of Syria. Every time we have an intervention in another country we are told that it is a limited thing, we aren’t going to engage in nation-building, we have well defined objectives that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time and then we will leave. Trump apparently believed his generals when they gave him this speil about Syria and when they kept delaying he said enough is enough, bring the boys home. But…… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Could not have said it better myself. The Syria example is exactly the type of thing I was talking about. He speaks a good game and I agree he has good instincts, but I’m just not sure he has the ability to navigate this definitively.

I have the same concerns with the wall.

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ,

I think the wall is pretty much entirely symbolic. But those who care about it should be spitting mad. Trump had two years with a republican house and senate and he waited to throw a fit on the wall until he lost the house. Doesn’t look like the actions of someone who really wants to get that thing built.

Katecho
Member

There was also Trump’s unilateral recognition of the new legitimate President of Venezuela — no election necessary. Apparently we no longer bother to try to hide our regime change agendas anymore. Did the Democratic party raise much more than a whimper? Was it considered meddling or not? Perhaps the Democrats are still hoping that the EU will now recognize Hillary as the legitimate President of the US, and they are enjoying the precedent that Trump is helping to set.

David Trounce
Guest
David Trounce

So delighted to see the comments open. I have really missed the fellowship of these comments and the additional insights that they bring as well as the challenges. Apart from that, great article!

DCGrad
Guest
DCGrad

Whatever else happens in 2020, I hope that the election does not divide the evangelical, Reformed world as much as the 2016 election did. The divisions, coupled with the rise of the “social justice” movement, deeply shook my trust in Reformed and Reformed-allied leaders. I, with deep reluctance, voted for Donald Trump in the general election in 2016. I may have made a sinful choice demanding repentance or I may have made a good choice that helped the country. What shook me, however, was that many leaders, some associated with the Gospel Coalition, the PCA, and/or the Southern Baptist Convention,… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“These leaders decry politics only to welcome leftist politicization. They label everything with the word ‘Gospel’ but downplay spiritual concerns.” It’s been amazing to see how things like reparations and open borders are now more important “gospel” issues than abortion. SJWs throw around “alien and stranger” verses with no consideration that aliens were forced to live in Israel’s theocracy and obey the laws. They never bring up Lev. 24 in which a half-Egyptian blasphemer is stoned to death. As if Muslim immigrants (if there were such a thing in OT Israel) could happily move in, build mosques and follow their… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

A president that that boldly prays and gives thanks to God on national television. A president that elects two conservatives to the highest court of the nation among many elected conservative district court judges. A president that supports and is pushing legislation that is pro life. And as Christians we are still questioning whether we vote for Trump in 2020? Give me a break. Character matters. Yes. Given the dirt we know on John F. Kennedy, should he have been elected president? Given the dirt we know on Martin Luther King Jr., should he have been the leader of the… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

+1 if I could. I haven’t been able to “vote” here in a long time, and am not a fan of it anyway, but those are points that make the #NeverTrumpers squirm. Especially TGC types who have elevated MLK to near sainthood status.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

How on earth is dirt on someone else a defense of of anything Trump has said or done?

demosthenes1d
Member

John,

If you are a committed relativist you just have to find someone worse. Every time I talk to a Trumper the converation immediately veers to Obama or Clinton’s manifest flaws.

Mark Zitzow
Guest
Mark Zitzow

Well said.

Katecho
Member

This will be a rare occasion for me to respectfully disagree with multiple arguments from Wilson. Wilson wrote: Should we vote for four more years of chemo, or should we vote for the cancer to come roaring out of remission? Wilson has used the argument about buying time before. I’m certainly not opposed to the strategy, in principle. Democrats appeal to this reasoning as well. However, I’m no longer convinced that either side using this argument really grasps where we are in this story, or what the practical, immediate threats are to the patient. Hint: It’s not global warming, or… Read more »

farinata
Guest
farinata

katecho, The trouble is, to my way of thinking, that your thesis makes the best the enemy of the good. If Christians are not required to withdraw from the political process – and the world – entirely, then we must be permitted to work with what we find there. Can I work for a boss and treat him with respect, even if I know that he is unrighteous? Not if he is the head of a kidnapping ring, where I would be directly implicated in his crimes. Yet I can do honest work before the Lord and be paid by… Read more »

Katecho
Member

farinata wrote: The trouble is, to my way of thinking, that your thesis makes the best the enemy of the good. If Christians are not required to withdraw from the political process – and the world – entirely, then we must be permitted to work with what we find there. Can I work for a boss and treat him with respect, even if I know that he is unrighteous? This is the very discussion that I think needs to take place. It may seem that I’m arguing that the best is the enemy of the good, but what I intend… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

The questions you are asking are greatly complicated by the fact that, in America, the people are sovereign. In a sense, we are greater in authority than our rulers. The buck stops with us. It is no sin to be under the rule of a wicked man, although you may suffer for it. But for a man to hire a wicked servant and permit him to do evil acts would certainly be sin. The challenge you’re highlighting is that presidents need the support of the people. Whom may we support? It is less a question of who we may be… Read more »

Wisdumb
Guest
Wisdumb

Nathan understands that the government is the steward for the master (the people). This reverses millennia of human history, and is evidence of a postmillenial reality. But it is also an experiment.
Combined this with the understanding that in God’s judgement on a particular nation, Christian citizens can also be victims,

Katecho
Member

Nathan James wrote: The argument for why we should vote for the least evil option available is simple, but perhaps not compelling: we have very limited options. If I could personally choose a man to be president it wouldn’t be Trump. But given the very limited options, I did vote for him. I’m curious, if she somehow ran unopposed, would Nathan James go ahead and punch the ballot for Hillary, because he was “given very limited options”? I appreciate Nathan James’ candor, but he’s correct, I don’t find the argument about limited options very compelling. But my opinion isn’t authoritative.… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I’m glad for your efforts to discern what the qualifications are for political office and how Christians should approach the subject. I suspect we all believe it is possible for a Christian to sin with his vote, and we don’t want to do that. I want to empathize with this sentiment, honestly, but it comes across as if our liberty was abandoned to our own hands and we had no hope in the world except to vote for Trump. It suggests the picture of a hand-wringing God who ends up having to go with a Plan B, and a little… Read more »

farinata
Guest
farinata

Katecho, all good points. I might suggest that the political character, and size, of our country plays into this as well. That is, when America stopped being a limited constitutional republic with a small, homogeneous population and became something more akin to an empire, our direct responsibility for the behavior of government diminished proportionately. Similarly, if I work with three other people at a greasy spoon restaurant and the owner/chef is cheating people, I have more reason to quit, and more culpability if I don’t, than if I work at a multinational corp. some of the affiliate partners of which… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Farinata,

I agree that responsibility is somewhat mitigated as the scale of an organization increases – but there is still a moral authority and a representative nature to voting itself that needs to be considered.

Take your example of the multinational with affiliate partners engaging in shady labor practices and tweak it a bit to be an elected director engaging in or directing those practices. You are a shareholder – can you guiltlessly check the box next to that guys name when it comes to a vote?

farinata
Guest
farinata

Demosthenes – An instructive question. I would want to distinguish pretty hard between the office and the man in such a case. If the director for whom I vote is doing wicked things in his official capacity, I would generally feel that a vote for him tends to endorse those dealings. But it can’t apply across the board to anything he ever may have done. I am not endorsing his parking tickets, or the rude joke he told his buddy in the locker room last week at the gym – not even if I know about them. By my vote… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Farinata, I agree up to a point. I do think we should link the kind of character issues, and even malfeasance, that we would consider disqualifying to the office itself. But this can be quite a lot broader than it might appear. If I know that that corporate director has a gambling problem that reflects poorly on his ability to properly evaluate risk, if he has been through several wives maybe he doesnt take contracts seriously and is inclined to treat people as instruments. If he is knows to visit ladies of the night or chase other mens husbands perhaps… Read more »

Katecho
Member

farinata wrote: But it can’t apply across the board to anything he ever may have done. I am not endorsing his parking tickets, or the rude joke he told his buddy in the locker room last week at the gym – not even if I know about them. By my vote I am not claiming that I approve of everything he does or thinks. I’ve previously stated that I’m not advocating for moral or policy perfection from a candidate, I’m discussing basic minimum standards. We either argue that no such fixed standards apply (leaving only relative comparisons between candidates), or… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I’ve previously stated that I’m not advocating for moral or policy perfection from a candidate, I’m discussing basic minimum standards. It is interesting to note that you pretty much began with “gives homage to Christ” as part of the minimum required. I actually think that we can pretty easily rule that out as being part of God’s minimum required for a Christian to support a candidate. I don’t base this on secularism, but on God’s express willingness that we should live in the world, cf. 1 Co 5:9-10. The example of Daniel is relevant here, which I brought up in… Read more »

farinata
Guest
farinata

Katecho, Limited by the context of his office. Joab was an excellent soldier and it was no sin for David to employ him, despite Joab’s various wicked deeds. If the president’s function is to execute the will of the people, then it is fair to judge him more or less strictly based on how he does that, and not on other grounds. I voted for Trump because he proposed to do things that I agreed with, not because I thought him a particularly good pater patriae. I think the radical disanalogy between representative democracy and OT-era theocracies is showing here.

Dan Phillips
Guest

Our trajectories mirror each other almost exactly, both pre- and post-, except that the specter of Hillary! forced me to vote for Trump, very reluctantly.

I’ve also said “wrecking ball” and “berserker,” but chemo is a better analogy. It’s a twin benefit, in that he both is accomplishing good, and is being the occasion of the very worst in the nation all exposing, disgracing, discrediting, and beclowning themselves.

That latter fruit alone is worth the price of admission.

PS – each of the connection methods errors out (Facebook, Google, Twitter).

Kate Rocker
Guest
Kate Rocker

I love this blog and for that matter all the writings I have read so far from Idaho. I am by no means a history expert or would even consider myself well read – so this is a sincere question, Will Trump go down as one of the best presidents in US history? Trump has done and undone more things than recent previous republicans combined. For example, neither Bush admin would have exited the Paris Agreement. Rather waste the billions than disagree with the mob rule. And would Reagan have been able to handle the EXTREME, relentless, push back from… Read more »

Jon J
Guest
Jon J

In agreement with what you and Tucker say, the Trump presidency was most definitely the vote of a desperate electorate. I, like so many others, was prepared to and did cast my vote against an establishment, out-of-control, bloated DC swamp. We saw a point of no return coming with a Clinton presidency, and well, there was Trump as the alternative. Like you I can’t say that my expectations were high, but I viewed him as the disruption to the status quo that we needed, even if his term(s) would be nothing more than a break in the momentum progressive America… Read more »

Rob S
Guest
Rob S

But do you think Trump could win without evangelical support?

You’re throwing in the towel already, without even trying for the non-poisoned route. There will be long-term casualties with this chemo treatment. In fact, that’s why the analogy breaks down so badly for us.

The church is losing its prophetic voice by getting behind Trump.

Also, for a political point: look at the poll numbers of young people’s perception of Trump-Republicanism. It’s grim. This will cause a devastating pendulum swing. Let’s not lose our prophetic voice just yet. Let’s not be afraid to speak like Nathan or John the Baptist.

JP Stewart
Member

” look at the poll numbers of young people’s perception of Trump-Republicanism.” That’s a worthless indicator. Most millennials have been brainwashed by a steady diet of far-left gov’t schooling, pop culture and targeted social media newsfeeds. Trump has his problems, like his petty spats on Twitter–but that’s something most young people engage in as well. He’s mostly hated because they think he’s an enemy of feminism, LGBTQ+, open borders immigration, “tolerance,” etc. And he says what he thinks without a bunch of caveats or backtracking like a typical neocon wimp. Pence and his wife have generated similar hate though Pence… Read more »

Rob S
Guest
Rob S

Very valid reply on my political point. I do agree with you there. That said, some of these polling numbers also include younger conservatives who see blatant hypocrisy in the Trump administration–which I don’t fault them for.

To my first point, do you think Trump would win without evangelical support or complicity? Do you think it’s too early to throw our chips his way?

JP Stewart
Member

No, he wouldn’t win without enough Evangelicals voting for him. The same is true for moderate RINOs like Romney, McCain, the Bushes, etc. And as I’ve stated here before, I actually voted for Trump while I mostly voted 3rd party in past elections. He has plenty of flaws, but I found him less repugnant than the establishment neocons.

Katecho
Member

At the risk of being a bit facetious, I think evangelicals should exploit our leverage with Trump. If he wants to be elected again, then he needs to submit to a course of sound teaching on the nature of the Fall, sin, and the need for personal and national forgiveness, repentance, and humility before God. Then he needs to publicly repent of a representative sample of his publicly boasted infidelities, and publicly known misdeeds (including at least one requiring financial restitution). After this, he needs to address the nation, as President, leading us in a general confession of national and… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

The question is who are you to force a conversion. If Christ wants to knock someone around you’d better not complain. But if he gives someone, anyone, more time and space to run with sin, you’d better not substitute your own plan of forced confessions.

Although I haven’t given this next thing enough thought, I would currently oppose national confessions of faith without overwhelming agreement. I wouldn’t want a politician with 51% support to proclaim the USA serves Christ. It would be nonsense, for one thing. But I think it would also be an abuse of power.

Bill Lee
Guest
Bill Lee

My comments on your “Trump as Chemo Man” blog. I believe that God has put Donald Trump into the position he now holds. I believe that God has used some sinful, and yes dreadful men to accomplish His purposes, the adulterous, murderer King David is the most often sited example. You are quite correct that many were taken by surprise to find that President Trump has kept, and is keeping his promises. I, admittedly, am one. For me, and I believe most if not all of my evangelical an Catholic family and friends, I would rather have a non politically… Read more »

Mari O Adams
Guest
Mari O Adams

But has Trump kept his promises? See Ann Coulter 3/13/19 Trump by the Numbers. Please, someone talk about her stats.

J Frazier
Guest
J Frazier

Exodus says “thou shalt provide” and you deduce to “we should want…”. It seems you have really laser-focused on this judge appointment thing and lost all sense of the blood and destruction around us. Abortion, murderous military intervention around the globe… would you support these things with your vote? As an NSA grad who grew up in a CREC church I was especially disheartened to read this and beg God’s mercy on his people.

yom24hrday
Member
yom24hrday

Trump did Trump them all !!! Democrats, rhinos, libtard press, corrupt – FBI, administration, corrupted so called justice department, Hollywood, papers, radio Managua, ie. NPR. , Drive by media et. al. An update: what I wrote below came to pass, God did indeed use Trump to trump them all – Praise God! Ok folks, this is getting just bizarre! I’m going to have to bring back an earlier post and then update it again for this breaking news about Hillary/Bill. Hold on to your hats. Here is my earlier post: Well if Cruz had a chance I’d vote for him,… Read more »