Just a month after Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the USA, in March 1861, the country was divided by a bloody civil war, which ended just after he was assassinated four years later. Despite the division, I daresay, Lincoln did want to unite the country but in this he failed abysmally, and yet ask many neutrals and they would say he was one of America’s greatest Presidents. It should be remembered, this was a war when brothers fought with brothers.
Donald J Trump is unlikely to be considered as one of America’s great Presidents in the eyes of many, but he too is facing a huge challenge of trying to unite the country and failing. Whether or not the 45th President can eventually succeed remains a forlorn and distant hope. Some say the USA is now in a Civil War, bar the shedding of blood, and it is unclear how it will end. There have been many attempts already to discredit and bring down Trump. I anticipate in the months to come further attempts to bring down the President and to discredit his supporters. Some say, America has rarely been truly united and many say it has never been so divided as it is today. It is a moot point if this can be put squarely down to Trump. After all, he was fairly elected and if his main presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, had won, who is to say the same disunity would not have been seen. Many agree that neither Trump nor Clinton were particularly suitable candidates but a choice had to be made and, while it was a hard and unexpected blow to those who did not want Trump to win, he did and has gone about his task in the same bombastic way as he did as a candidate. Even if he had wanted to win over those who did not vote for him (e.g. by doing deals), we find that many are even more opposed now he is President.
But why is Trump so divisive? It seems to me that few will argue this is not so. Even in my own small world, I have come across those who believe that despite all his faults Trump is not only good overall for America but is an answer to prayer, saving it from the downward spiral America was already on, and would have continued on were Hillary to be elected President, ending in disaster. I have also come across those who think Trump is bad and also mad. See here for my own views on whether Trump is more good than bad/mad. Those falling in the Trump more bad/mad camp as far as my own circle of acquaintances go, is likely greater than those in the Trump is more good camp, and that includes Christian friends who I reckon to be theologically conservative. When Trump visited the UK there was considerable protest over his coming, including by some friends, although I reckon the silent majority either didn’t care or actually welcomed his visit. In my recent visit to India, I discovered many pro Trumpers. Sadly, all too often those in the two groups maintain entrenched positions and irrevocably fall out, and the tension is palpable, all because of Trump (or more precisely the things he represents). There seems no way to break the deadlock we are seeing. Some anti Trumpers believe he needs to be removed e.g. by impeachment and progress won’t be made until he is. They expend much energy undermining him. Some pro Trumpers believe he should stick to his guns because in the main he is on the right track, and maybe the knight in shining armour that can make America great again and withstand the globalist elites and the new fascists – the liberal left, who are increasingly aligned with radical Islam.
One person who uses his Facebook page to criticize Trump is a Christian minister named John Pavlovitz. An article he posted today is titled “Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man”. “Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, they don’t campaign for sexual predators—or support those who do. But this President is not a good human being and there’s simply no way around this truth…” When I made my comment to the effect I agree with the title but disagree that Trump is a bad man (and posted the article above), I got one response, which is typical: “Trump makes fun of everyone who criticizes him, like a 5 year old would. He demeans our friends and sucks up to our enemies. He lies more than 70% of the time. He has no understanding of any of the issues. He rules by fear and hate. He can’t read and has the attention span of a 6 year old”. Admittedly a similar impasse might have occurred if positions were reversed, but my experience is we live in a polarized paradigm. Why do people find themselves firmly settled in either a anti-Trump camp or an pro-Trump camp, and just as importantly why can’t we agree to disagree and unite to fix the big problems facing the world?
I can’t speak for the anti-Trump brigade any more than I can for the pro Trumpers even though I am one (on balance). Trump’s faults are glaring. He does bend the truth. He is a narcissist. He can be spiteful and scathing to those who oppose him. He no doubt has many other faults and some of these become apparent once he opens his mouth. His keeping Mexicans and Muslims out of America fixation makes many wary of him, as does his social welfare policies affecting the poor and environmental policies that affect us all. To some he is a racist, xenophobe, misogynist etc. Some feared his approach to diplomacy to be lacking the necessary niceties. Obama for all his faults appeared Presidential; and that cannot necessarily be said about Trump. But I believe there is something more fundamental. Trump has spent many years rubbing shoulders with insiders without being one himself. His has incurred the wrath of the Deep State, Academia, Hollywood, the Democrat Party, George Soros, those who handle the financial system, the globalists, Internet gatekeepers (Google etc.), the never Trump Republicans, the Chinese who now own a lot of America, the Islamists now on an ideological up and mainstream media that publishes fake news, especially that which portrays Trump in a bad light. His mistake or maybe to his credit is that he has not gone along with them. This is a formidable array and rather than roll over Trump has all too often stood his ground and faced the fury. Because this group has so much influence, many will be sold the lie that Trump is bad and needs rid off. Sadly, rather than tackle issues like health care reform, immigration and climate change on a rational, non partisan basis, it appears to me the focus is on opposing Trump to such an extent we all lose out and things don’t get done, whereas a bi-partisan approach could yield results that could benefit us all.
At the time Trump was elected, I felt the USA electorate faced Hobson’s Choice. Trump was bad but Hillary was even worse. Now he is in and has done what he has done, I believe it was the right choice. I also believe it was God’s choice for he has begun to address some of the concerns that led this motley band of deplorables to vote for him in the first place. There is no way I would be inviting Trump to pastor my church but then the country was voting for someone who would fight for it and not screw it over in the way previous Presidents had. Amazingly, he has delivered on many of his campaign policies and if he hadn’t faced so much opposition he would have done even more. The economy is thriving; jobs are coming back. He has reigned in disadvantageous trade deals. He has had the courage to not only talk about border control but had acted to ensure it happens. If anything, he has added to world peace, despite his unorthodox style, e.g. regarding North Korea. He has cut back on abortions. He has gone after pedophiles operating at a high level. He has supported religious freedom, and while unlikely given his personal life, shows signs that he fears God. He supports Israel. He has resisted the forces of globalism, challenged the Deep State, and inspired a world to stand up to the globalists. He has appointed judges that follow the constitution rather than legislate from the bench. He has also given heart to people all over the world fighting the dastardly plans of the New World Order. This is my starter, and I haven’t even got going. He is far from perfect and he is up against it. There is a lot that he might have done better, e.g. not attack Syria based on a false flag, and if there wasn’t so much division and lack of gumption in his own party, people occupying high positions in government, e.g. in the Justice department, opposing him, and the Trump Derangement Syndrome going around, things might have been done better. There is much to be done, e.g. pay off the national debt, on matters of world peace and draining the swamp entirely, and the jury is still out on matters like welfare, immigration and the environment. Arguably, he is not quite right ideologically speaking. Nationalism (which Trump promotes) may be better than globalism but neither align to my understanding of the Kingdom of God.
What seems to me clear from the above, people who hold anti or pro Trump views, do so strongly. I don’t purport to have all the answers as to why Trump is divisive and less still the solutions. I recognize I write as one who is broadly supportive of the President and in certain aspects highly so. Accordingly, I have invited an anti Trump friend to critique the above (watch this space). I regret the division wrought by Trump, although a lot of it would have happened anyway – all Trump has done is to wake people up to certain possibilities they may not have realised because they had been conned into accepting the status quo. While “Make America Great Again” doesn’t fit entirely comfortably, there is a thought this needs to happen if progress is to be made. Because the old maxim contained in the meme above applies as much to the world of Trump as to anything else, the fact there is division is concerning. I should end by saying as much as I like Trump, my hope is not in Trump but rather in Almighty God, who alone can deliver us.
Addendum 07/08/18: I am grateful to Clive Cowan for posting his comment (see below). Clive rightly reminds us that the issues raised here go a lot deeper than Trump and the USA. I am also grateful to Greg Smith (the friend mentioned above) who has posted in his own blog as a response to what I have written: DONALD TRUMP ; DIVISIVE, DESTRUCTIVE AND DANGEROUS. While I do not believe Trump is destructive or dangerous, I welcome Greg’s respectful, reasoned argument as to why he thinks like this, and shows how we can graciously agree to disagree on some matters and find common ground on others, moving from a paradigm of division to one of unity. I am grateful to my Facebook friends, who have made helpful comments, some agreeing with me, some with Greg.