Shouldn't We Expect Trump to "Fight" Honestly?

There appears to be an unfortunate transition of MAGA Republicans into the spitting image of 1990s Democrats.

There’s a concerning reality that was recently highlighted by Kevin Williamson: many Republicans have seemingly made their peace with Trump’s self-evident dishonesty. Whenever it comes up, this conversation has largely focused on Christians and the 80% of them that reportedly voted for the serial adulterer and posturing populist when he ran against Hillary in 2016.

But that’s a different issue, of course. While I was not among their number, I can certainly understand the thinking of fellow Bible believers who saw Trump as a flawed, even dreadful choice, but pragmatically a better bet for the future of our civilization than the other major party candidate on the ballot.

While I’ve grown concerned at the seeming unwillingness of some of those Christians to hold Trump morally accountable since attaining the office, many of them have – praising the president for doing good things, criticizing him when doing bad things. That’s how it should be.

But what Williamson is getting at is something different. He’s remarking on the unfortunate transition of MAGA Republicans into the spitting image of 1990s Democrats:

Republicans here find themselves playing the role of Clinton-era Democrats. Democrats knew what Bill Clinton was, and rather than recoil from his dishonesty, they relished his slickness and exulted in his talent for besting his political adversaries. They were correct in insisting that there wasn’t any crime in the Clinton–Lewinsky affair per se (there was a crime in Clinton’s perjury related to it) just as there isn’t any obviously criminal aspect to what President Trump is known to have done so far — in spite of Democrats’ increasingly hilarious attempts to stretch the definition of “obstruction of justice” to cover things such as criticizing federal agencies for official actions.

I worried about this when the selling point for many Republicans during the 2016 campaign became Trump’s willingness to “fight.” Having grown disgusted with the Democrat Party’s history of incessantly holding Republicans to double standards of decency and morality, it seemed that many on the right were excited by the prospect of having someone on our side who would behave like a leftist.

This never made sense to me given that so much of what I thought had frustrated conservatives was the way leftists behaved. For years the right complained about the mentality among liberals that “the ends justify the means.” When “the means” included the abandonment of personal character, moral integrity, private virtue, and basic human decency, we said that wasn’t acceptable.

But now seemingly, Donald Trump’s “habitual and reflexive dishonesty” has become an acceptable means to the ends we want? As a Christian and a conservative, I remain firmly opposed to where that is going to lead us.

Comments
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Swan
Swan

This article is right. My question to evangelicals would be: If you want to reverse sinful cultural trends within America, how do you accomplish that by electing someone who glorifies sin and inspires new sinful cultural trends? If we become what we oppose, we are no longer the salt of the earth but have lost our saltiness and are no longer useful for preserving society from destruction (Matthew 5:13).

I oppose the progressive march towards a post-God society as much as you do, but your methods of fighting it are not Scriptural. Conservatives are fond of saying that we must fight fire with fire, but God says that - in the battle against evil - we should not pay back evil with evil, but instead overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21). He says that our war is not actually against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness in this world, and that we should employ spiritual [not political!] weapons to fight them (Ephesians 6:10-18).

If we want any chance of changing the attitudes of our political enemies against us, God says to employ this strategy: "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head" (Romans 12:20). Heaping burning coals may be a confusing idiom, but it was actually a cultural practice of the day that a person would put burning coals on their head as a sign that they were repenting of something wrong they had done. If you want to win people over to your side, and overcome their evil, that's the way to do it - not with angry tactics born of angry attitudes, which can't accomplish anything righteous (according to James 1:20). That's why I don't engage in all the hating on liberals that is popular within conservatism - it is wrong and counterproductive. That may be radical thinking within our culture, but Christianity always has been counter-cultural.

In the end, God won't care what we accomplished politically (since it is HE who moves the hearts of kings in whatever direction He chooses, not us - Prov. 21:1); but what we accomplished spiritually. He saved us so we would resemble Christ (Romans 8:29-30) and be His ambassadors in this fallen world.

Evangelicals need to count the cost of being Christians, instead of focusing on using politics to make their lives more comfortable on earth. Jesus said being a real Christian is costly: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). Some evangelicals are so busy trying to "save their lives" by looking to politicians to prevent persecution of Christians in this country that they are forgetting about God's purpose for their life. Besides, the Bible says that persecution is a given for those who want to live a godly life (II Tim. 3:12), so they won't avoid it by electing pro-Christian leaders to Washington.

Evangelicals need to decide whether they are willing to do what it takes to really follow Jesus or not.

StridentConservative
StridentConservative

Very well said!

MarkBerwind
MarkBerwind

BenjaminD, "Trump lies about such mundane and fact-checkable things it's ridiculous. It shows a man who can’t accept reality and would prefer to believe one that fits his view of things." And those are things that set you off? There is much more hyperbole around here than Trump says about things, like that. Besides, how does anyone know about the number of an audience without taking ticket counts? For someone who has his own view of things, and you or I don't(?), why is he having such success? just so you know, I voted for all the Bushes, but that doesn't mean I liked every piece of legislation they accomplished. The Bushes were heading our country to the left, more so than any other Republican presidents. for lack of a better term, they were all globalists. Remember a phrase "New World Order?"

MarkBerwind
MarkBerwind

Etbass, I know when he has lied, but those are not the prevailing messages he is broadcasting. Why is his popularity increasing? I think more of his "Lies" are much more to be hyperbole. That's what his schtick is. He could do much better with some coaching, but I think it would also be seen by his base, to be tampering with the raw diamond they believe him to be. Comparing him to the latest two Bushes, he is a different type of leader, not as much the polished pol, but more one who is more brutal in his message. That appears to be refreshing to a large part of the voting public, nowadays, for better or worse. And considering the alternative, I'm satisfied with the results and don't care for all the pettiness from him, or the antis. That's just nonproductive for the country. I never was a moderate, and always took my political approach from my father, my two surrounding neighbors, and Barry Goldwater and Reagan. Unfortunately, we will never see another Reagan, and this is likely to be delivering more good than bad, but less polished. I can handle what he gets out much better than getting lied to, in a more polite fashion by those polished politicians that can lie and make you believe anything.

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