A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth~ Proverbs 17:24
Sadly, my Mother did not become a Christian until the very end of her life. Because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on issues of faith, as I entered into adulthood she and I saw eye-to-eye on very little. As a result, her advice was rarely the counsel I would give to my own children.
However, there was one significant area of life where my Mother’s guidance was nearly always spot-on. My Mom gave me some unbelievably astute advice on dating. I frequently find myself repeating her wise words to anyone looking for insight in the area of relationships.
She encouraged me to look for a man who treated others with respect because “a man who is not respectful to other people will never be respectful to his wife.” Mom frequently reminded me that past behavior is always the best the predictor of future behavior and to wait until trust was earned before giving it. Most importantly of all, she counseled me incessantly to never, ever waste my time on someone I didn’t see myself committing to long-term.
I have decided that some of my politically conservative friends would do well to apply my Mother’s advice to the current crop of Presidential candidates. Political conservatives are “dating” or at least flirting with a candidate we have no business beginning a long-term relationship with.
Most of my misgivings regarding this candidate are solidly based on verifiable facts, while others are undeniably emotional. From a strictly reflexive perspective, his bombastic rhetoric and sideshow antics are uncomfortably reminiscent of Charlie Sheen while he was apparently off his meds.
His adolescent self-absorption gives me flashbacks to Vladimir Putin posing with his pet tiger and strutting for the cameras without his shirt on. We should all be horrified when a grown man approaches his rivals with all the charm and refinement of fourth-grade mean-girl. Rather than cheering him on, we ought to be thinking about what this sideshow will look like after the election.
This particular candidate has flip-flopped more times than an Olympic gymnast on wide range of issues. No other political candidate could possibly get away with changing their mind on gun control, partial-birth abortion, taxes, legalizing drugs, health care and privatizing Social Security, among other issues. No rational voter of any political affiliation should be comfortable with so much “evolution” on such a wide variety of issues. Anyone who changes his or her mind that effortlessly will likely change it back the minute it’s politically expedient to do so.
Even more alarming is this candidate’s history of offering campaign donations to politicians who will give him political courtesies in return. In the real world we call those sorts of favors bribes. Americans are weary after six years of little observable action on any significant political front. Our exhaustion makes this sort of “commerce” appear appealing and tempts us to see it as something other than what it is. It’s just more of the same political double-dealing we have become accustomed to in recent years.
Many conservative Christians are flirting with the Trump vote. Some believe that the current sideshow is just good clean political fun. They think that when the party is over we will get serious and pick a more suitable candidate. The problem with that logic is that while we waste our time on someone we know we will never get serious with, the decent candidates are all going to move on.
This is a dangerous game that could very well get us saddled with a candidate who is telling us what we want to hear and making promises that cannot be delivered without producing a whole host of really weird unintended consequences. Trump’s popularity is a reflection of a people desperately clamoring for change. We forget that it was the childish longing for hope and change without faith and hard work that got us into this mess.
It’s time for Christians to stop flirting and start praying. We need to pray for for a candidate with a gracious spirit who has the wisdom to lead a deeply divided people to a healthier, less contentious place. If we don’t get that man or woman this time around, we will all lose, and so will our country.