September 2, 2018
Phil Johnson, Ph.D.
If you want support in hating U.S. President Donald Trump, you only need to look as far as CNN, the New York Times, Hollywood, the international press or John McCain’s funeral. (Seriously – who uses a man’s funeral to take passive-aggressive pot shots at other leaders? Mr. Obama?)
So, I won’t waste my time talking about all of the shortcomings of Mr. Trump – for there are many. Yes, he has had failed marriages. Yes, he has had indefensible moral failures in his past. Unfortunately, so have numerous other presidents, world leaders, religious leaders (I’m thinking of you, Catholic Church) as well as the founder of one very large religious group whose life was so depraved, it makes one’s skin crawl. But I won’t stir that pot – not today. I’ll let people read their history on World Religions and sort out for themselves who they’d like to follow.
Today, we’ll talk about Mr Trump, with all his bravado, confidence, strange and loose acquaintance with facts, efforts to cover-up past indiscretions and his gift of using social media in one of the most direct, often tactless, and sometimes effective ways I’ve ever seen.
I am a realist – and I am under no illusion that the United States is a theocracy, run directly by God and godly values. It is not. Neither do I want to live in a theocracy such as the types ISIS or Iran have in mind. So in 2018, my expectations for government and business leaders is not all that high. I’ll settle for less government and more protection of my individual freedom. But I still want my messy constitutional republic and the freedom to see if individual responsibility can find a few pinholes of opportunity to make this world more livable, more gracious and more honest.
Here are my top 5 Reasons to “not hate” Donald Trump:
1.) Supreme Court Picks: In fewer than two years, Mr. Trump has had an opportunity to nominate two new Supreme Court judges. He might get a chance to name a third before his time is over. For this alone, I am thankful for President Trump, because having constitutional conservatives on the Supreme Court might just slow down the slide of America into greater and greater liberalism. I am not holding out hope that abortion laws or marriage laws will be changed. But I am holding out hope that certain freedoms – the liberty to speak, disagree, hold faith-based beliefs and to act on those beliefs – will be maintained.
2.) Soaring Economy. Yes, at the moment, the U.S. economy is doing better than it has in years. We’ve got record high stock markets, less unemployment and tax breaks. This is due in large part to increased consumer confidence, getting rid of ridiculous regulations and making better trade deals with America’s partners. Of course no one likes it when they’re forced to play fair, but it’s about time someone had the interests of U.S. citizens at heart. That’s why he was elected as an American president.
3.) Immigration Standards. I am a fan of legal immigration. I am not a fan of folks just waltzing across the border and breaking federal laws. There are aspects of the U.S. immigration system that need to be addressed, but at least current laws are starting to be enforced. And because of the stand of the president and the support of the Supreme Court, the U.S. is not being overrun like Europe is. Seriously – I think Europe has just decided to commit suicide and for some reason can’t seem to remember its fantastic culture and that its culture is well worth celebrating and saving. I am no supporter of globalism. I am no proponent of open borders. I do not think that living in the U.S. is a universal right. (Nor do I think that I have the right to barge into Japan, Switzerland or Saudi Arabia uninvited.)
I am, however, a fan of people. And I think that there are hurting, needy, desperate people everywhere. I think that providing legitimate, vetted, processed, asylum opportunities is a good thing. I don’t think it has to be offered only by Western countries. (What is Saudi Arabia doing to help out, by the way?) I also think that donating (to reputable organizations), setting up safe zones (in the places nearest those escaping conflict) and physically going to difficult places to invest time, resources and heart is an alternative to simply opening borders. Especially if those borders are in far away places that require dangerous journeys and that promote human smuggling and sex trafficking rings.
And just bear this in mind – all those who migrate are NOT needing nor seeking asylum. I’m just saying… And breaking one continent does not, in the end, create the tools to help other people who are broken elsewhere.
4.) Foreign Policy. Syria? No sitting around wringing his hands about “red lines” and Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Trump acted. ISIS? As a political entity and would-be caliphate, they are nearly obliterated. Russia? He’s surprisingly tough on them. Jerusalem? U.S. embassy moved and done – as Trump promised. Paris Agreement? Out and America is entering a new and competitive energy market. All good things. North Korea? Eh, I don’t trust that they will denuclearize, but we’re only one North Korean military parade ways from rescheduling our joint military exercises (“war games”) with South Korea. So we’re still good.
5.) Pushing Back on Political Correctness. OK, political correctness has not been destroyed. But it has certainly been poked at quite a bit. Let’s face it, “correct speech,” has become ridiculous. Truth, ideas, divergent viewpoints, conversations and critical thinking are being sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. The power of special interest groups and the perceived inability of people to survive in a world of competitive ideas with varying values and beliefs is an insult to humanity in general. The efforts of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media giants to rid their platforms of “incorrect thinking” is horrifying. (I know they’re private companies and can do what they want – but they certainly act like monopolies…)
Thankfully, Mr. Trump seems to recognize that sometimes truth and directness are not always appreciated, (or pretty) but essential, lest we all enter a world where the elite decide what can be said, what is hate speech, and which groups are “sacred” and above being criticized. It’s a dangerous direction and thank goodness Mr. Trump seems to be of the mind that free speech is a good thing. Oh, don’t get me wrong – President Trump is a bull in a china shop when it comes to communication. Personally, I would choose different words and a different style. But as messy as it can be, I still say, topics should not be off limits, ideas should be shared, minds should be engaged, people should not be shouted over and better ideas can be their own defense – if allowed to have a voice in the marketplace of ideas.
The Future and Pockets of Time
We’re nearly at the point of the Mid-Term Elections in the U.S. and it will be interesting to see how all of that plays out politically. Certainly, talk of impeachment (for whatever reasons) will continue and efforts to stop Mr. Trump at any cost will probably increase.
As I watched former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama attending Senator John McCain’s funeral yesterday, I kept thinking, “Wow, for those three to be so in sync with each other and to hate Donald Trump so much, Trump must be doing something right.” Secure, service-oriented people with a healthy perspective don’t get this bent out of shape when a new person has his or her turn in power. I mean, think about it – we live in a constitutional republic. We vote for a new president every 4 years. If Trump doesn’t work out, he’ll soon be gone. For there to be this much visceral hatred – unlike anything I’ve ever seen – one has to wonder why the political elite power base in Washington, D.C. is so threatened.
For me, I’ll enjoy the small pocket of time that this unique political/business leader is affording us. At the moment America is richer (financially and opportunity-wise), safer, stronger and still more free than anywhere else. Let Trump tweet and renegotiate trade deals. Let him talk trash with despots in North Korea. Let him annoy unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Let him shore up what remains of the liberty that’s rolling out with the tide. And let us, as humans, use this reprieve to think, to speak, to engage, to care, to give, to pray and to help a world that is broken.
If you think that Donald Trump is as bad as it gets, I have a feeling you’re in for an unpleasant surprise in the coming years. The pocket of time that exists right now is not for Mr. Trump – God uses who He uses for His own purposes. The pocket of time is for you. Love Trump or hate him, you will not find more true liberty once this pocket of time has closed. What will be better because of you, while you still have the freedom to do something?