“A week is a long time in politics” is a saying attributed to my favorite politician in my youth: Harold Wilson, when he intimated a lot can happen in that time, making it difficult to work out what is going to happen next. When the other day a friend asked why people were so pre-occupied with Donald Trump and what is happening in the USA, when there is so much going on in the UK that ought to concern us, I couldn’t help thinking the reason for this is not just that events now unraveling each day across the Pond, where President Trump has played some key part, do not just have huge global implications but dwarf anything happening at home in terms of dramatic effect, and that Wilson’s observation is especially pertinent, making me wonder what will happen next?
What is clear, Trump has wasted no time implementing his agenda. For those who have been closely watching him these past few months, as election day loomed, there has been no let up in activity, but rather an increase since he has been in power. In terms of energy and purpose he has been relentless and inspirational. There has been so much that he has done in less than a week, much of it is closely scrutinized by a media, who in the main are unsympathetic, and it is difficult to take this all in without spending an inordinate amount of time doing so. Yet Trump continues to be a divisive figure. The likes of Alex Jones (Info Wars) and UKIP’s Nigel Farage have unsurprisingly been nigh ecstatic. Not only has he hit the ground running but he is delivering on his campaign policies, much more quickly than expected. It should also be added there is a significant silent cohort who have been rather pleased that he has. But there are many who see things differently, starting with a sizable number of anti-Trump protestors and a good deal of my friends on social media, some of who see Trump as their worst nightmare.
But before I go on, and in the words of Judge Jeanne, this is my opening statement: “I voted Brexit because I believed that was in the national interest and in the interest of others outside the UK too. My main qualm, which still remains, is will the UK government deliver a good deal? I did not vote Trump as I am not qualified to vote, but if I was he would have been my preferred candidate. Like most, I have qualms about his character and concerns about some of his policies, especially those that impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies. Other issues also bother me, notably the environment. Yet I came to the view and have argued the case: Trump as President is the preferred outcome for America and the rest of the world.
I came recently to see how my Brexit and Trump preferences were related. I don’t like globalism or “progressive” politics; I don’t like being ruled by unaccountable elites, but I do feel it is best to allow people, especially the “little people”, to have real say in how they are to be governed, they should be have a say in who can stay in their country, and there should be freedom, notably that of being able to practice one’s religion and be able to follow their dreams without encumbrance and do so in safety, without being demonized for being politically incorrect or “intolerant” or shackled by having needless regulations imposed. I suspect there is an unholy alliance that include the Liberals elite, the Saudis, the Chinese, global corporations and the seriously rich that oppose such a reverse because of their new world order fixation, and that bothers me.
Brexit and Trump share many elements of what might allay my concerns. Sadly both have attracted bad types I disassociate from. Not always recognized is the many good people who are supportive. While I believe in being patriotic and having a national identity, I am no nationalist. While I may be more conservative in my views when it comes to security and the economy, I believe we should respect the aspirations of minorities and be compassionate, especially toward the poor and vulnerable. I believe we have a duty of care for all, because “love your neighbor” is the command given to us by God. My values include working hard to provide for our families, being good citizens in the place where we live and serving others. As for Trump, I respect his authority, realize his faults and limitations, and I intend to do my bit to make him accountable”.
I have just read a long list of things going around my social media feed concerning all the things Trump has supposed to have done wrong. Some concerns I share, such as his disregard for the environment, insensitivity toward causes and groups that he is not interested in much and hints of him shutting down dissent. Some of the executive orders I need to come to a full view on but none I strongly disagree with. Some I agree with, notably the one to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe he is right to take to task the press for misreporting but would counsel he doesn’t let his ego rule sound decision making; for that is a cross many of his predecessors have found they had to carry. As for investigating election fraud, he may have a point but I need to know the facts before agreeing it needs doing. I disagree with his views on water boarding. I am ok with most of his cabinet appointees and am pleased they have been subject to scrutiny and searching questioning. On the basis of what came out, I would not endorse his Secretary of State nominee.
I look forward to his meeting tomorrow with UK’s Theresa May with hope and optimism. While 90 days to strike a trade deal is better than the 10 years some Brexit skeptics have been saying, I await the detail when it comes to a USA – UK deal, believing good trade deals, the very thing that worries many anti-Brexiters, can be struck, especially when dealing with the likes of Trump. I await expectantly and with concern regarding how he will impact hot areas like Russia, China and the Middle East (especially concerning the refugee crisis we have been seeing deepen in recent months) and will watch carefully concerning developments in Israel. I am looking forward to learn who his nominee for the Supreme Court is and expect to be pleased. I like it that one of his first visits was to CIA headquarters and, vanity aside, felt that he struck the right note when there. I don’t like when he imposes his agenda on others e.g. the President of Mexico, when he needn’t, for this tendency could be his downfall.
I can go on for there is much to merit consideration. It is early days and while I am more optimistic than many concerning an America under Trump, I do have concerns and reservations, especially when it comes to how America treats the most vulnerable. In terms of unifying the country, he has not started well. Indeed, without being melodramatic not only do I fear we are close to a new World War, but we are seeing the seeds of a new Civil War too. There has sadly been signs of discord when now is the time to put the result behind us and move on in the national and international interest. The only way he will win over detractors is by demonstrating that America is better off with his policies being implemented than that by the previous administration.I like to think they will come around.
He has shown he means business and is simply doing what he said he would, but then we expected he would. But he needs to be scrutinized and held to account. I hope while being sympathetic toward him, I have already started to do this. But I will stick my neck out and say on balance he has started well. I am glad I don’t look to any leader to bring us all into a better place, both because of my theology and simple observation I live in a world that has gone mad. I will therefore continue to look to God and pray that President Trump will succeed in office and that God will indeed bless America. (Just read: “Pastor John Piper Prays to God to Give President Trump ‘Spirit of Brokenness and Humility‘” – I add my Amen – ed)