A lot of people from the other side of the aisle have asked me over the holidays and in the wake of the Christianity Today piece , how can you support Donald Trump? My dad, who does not facebook much less blog, is an excellent writer, and in this he really does a great job answering that question.
George W. Bush was the son of political aristocracy but he had battled the bottle, found Jesus and spoke a sort broken, southern English that betrayed his gilded heritage. His election was tainted by cries of illegitimacy and protested all the way to the supremes by the Democrats and the media. That circus probably burnished his credentials with us.
When our country was attacked by a small cadre of the group Jefferson had called savages 150 years earlier, it was our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters that W lead to avenge our loss. For more than a generation, the suits in Washington decided about the war. They knew our boys would be the ones who actually answered the call. It’s who we are. God, family, country. When W called it was no different than Grandpa needing hay brought into the barn or Aunt Flossie needing assistance to the bathroom. We are duty bound and faithful.
Then a strange thing happened. We found ourselves in 2 protracted wars with no ends in sight, our plants all closed, the banks were foreclosing on our farms and American dreams, and for the first time we began to perhaps doubt the institutions we had trusted. The ethos that said work hard, do the right thing and reward will follow was being tattered. Meanwhile, we were being made somehow to feel guilty of the sins of generations ago to which we had no affection or connection beyond long diluted DNA perhaps.
Enter Obama. Ushered in by no less than America’s aunt, Oprah. He was aspirational. He was handsome and spoke almost poetically. He was antithetical to the wars, economic calamity and tortured speech of W. A welcome savior who’s light brown skin assuaged any guilt we had adopted for sins our great, great, greats had committed. He had the attention and immediate respect of virtually the entire world.
Rather than dissipate guilt and lead our nation back from the political and economic brink, we were however treated to what at times felt like professorial, priestly lecture tinged with condescension. Those under paid , over worked soldiers and police officers were us and ours. Sure they make mistakes like every other profession. Their mistakes however can cost them their lives, for $40k a year and home-lives that often reflect the chaos they encounter in their day jobs. Protecting us. Our Christianity, though not always practiced perfectly, formed the foundation of our hopes, dreams and eternal aspirations. Much like the stain of slavery, we weren’t participants in the Crusades and having those attributed to us seemed a stretch. We learned to shoot at early ages. For sport and sustenance firearms are a part of our heritage and birthright. Why, would ownership somehow cause us to be threats to civil peace?
As social norms and sacred institutions that had withstood thousands of years of wars, despots and natural calamity were overturned, we shrunk from the discourse and simply wanted to live out our existences in peace. We didn’t want any drama. That however, was not sufficient. Repentance and reeducation at the altar of the enlightened state would be required for rehabilitation. A daily dose of derision and humiliation by the cultural and intellectual elites, administered via cable and the internet would be required continuing education. The economic recovery never quite reached us in flyover country but we were made to believe we probably weren’t deserving anyway. Our country and the way of our ancestors had passed.
As we have been taught from our earliest days, the Lord moves in mysterious ways. A brash, at time vulgar, blue -collar billionaire from of all places New York city descended from his gilded escalator. Although culturally and geographically, he was from the opposite end of our worlds, he spoke to our fears and concerns. He not only validated the flyover masses, he invited us back into the public square. He offered solutions not platitudes or blame. He spoke plain, if not Scots-Irish, English. He assured us that our priorities of God, family and country were not only appropriate but to be praised. Even if he, like us, didn’t always measure up to the divine standard. He promised to try to return our jobs, our faith traditions and our patriotism that had been so been missing over the previous decade and a half. Above all that, he gave those who had been shamed and shunned, the ‘’every man’’, his dignity back.
The salons on the upper west side, and silicon valley will never ‘’get’’ Trump. They neither saw nor had any need for him. They see him as a bully, vulgar narcissist. He doesn’t speak their language and they didn’t hire him. He is a bully only to those who’ve had their feet on the throats of blue collar America. He is vulgar to those who value form over substance. For the rest of us, Trump may not always exemplify our beliefs and ideals, but he is the one leader who not only has told us we were ‘’ok’’, he has fought for those things and institutions we hold sacred. His non focus- grouped, authenticity as he has sought to restore that which was lost for middle America translates directly to the heart in ways the learned in the halls of ivy will never comprehend.
So go ahead and impeach him. Slander him. Libel him. We know that he is surrogate for the scorn that is really intended for us. Although we may not have gone to prestigious universities or be versed in advanced trigonometry, we can do basic math and have an appreciation for at least one, the electoral, college. If he will accept the job, we will re-hire him next November.