Blog Trump

Bob’s Tired

This morning my old buddy Bob (pseudonym) called me. First time in months. We shared some great memories. Bob has fantastic recall, especially for high school days.

Then, a comment led to politics. Bob really didn’t like some gender stuff he’d seen on TV. Made it clear he’d been a long time Republican. Primed for a verbal duel, asked if I voted for Hillary. That seemed irrelevant to me. I returned to the present. Told Bob I understood his concern.

Bob seems to feel Donald Trump will make such disturbing stuff on TV go away. He says President Trump has done many great things. Bob will send me a list of 20 great things. (Another evangelical friend said he’d send me his Trump top 20. Is that a thing? Like maybe the wellspring of faith in Trump?).

I began to drill down. Bob said, “I really felt good at the start of our call. I just feel tired now.” End of call.

It was when I started talking First Amendment Rights I could sense Bob getting tired. I wanted to know if he thought it would be better for government to limit speech which offends us or to have a system which would allow people to say things we found offensive, even do things which went against our belief system. All that got no further than Bob’s parting claim of “lots of good things, at least 20.”

To my evangelical brothers and sisters younger than I, please consider some facts which may not be as present to you as they are to me. Hitler brought us a number of good things: Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, BMW, and indirectly the Ford and General Motors companies we have come to know, even the precursors of interstate highways. Henry Ford had a portrait of Hitler in his office (for a while). Ford and GM factories located in Germany built some 86% of Nazi war machine vehicles. World War II spurred amazing industrial development and scientific research. Yes, some things that looked pretty good came from Hitler.

Maybe doing “good things” is not the ultimate measure of value for a society. The foundation of my faith is freedom. First, the most amazing thing about God is the gift of free will to me. That’s truly theologically unsettling. It’s been a subject of debate, warfare and torture over the centuries. But that’s where I stand.

As to politics, I believe God gave us a marvelous system of government which, even though flawed as all human ventures seem to be, has given me the freedom to believe what I wish and even voice it, for now.

The US was built in large part on the desire for free choice and the resulting efforts of people fleeing from state imposed religion. Freedom of religion means I can choose to be believer, agnostic, atheist or totally oblivious to such matters. I love that system. In this sense, maybe I’m a troublesome minority among evangelicals who just know we need to go back to our Christian roots and are counting on Donald Trump to take us there.

My recollection of readings about the ramp up to World War II, was that many religious leaders saw Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Franco in Spain as leaders who would really get some good things done. I guess they did. But then, it seems things went kind of sideways: Guernica, Blitzkrieg, concentration camps, etc.

I heard one evangelical leader who seems to have broken ranks with Trump believers refer to a Faustian deal: Give Trump support. Church leaders get access to power.

That didn’t work too well in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain or most anywhere else for those who were just bargaining for “good things,” for “peace in our time.” There is some saying about the Devil will have his due.

Ho, hum, you say. Like Bob, you grow tired of my babble. But are you really sure, my evangelical friends, that your heavily armed vigilante colleagues will play nice. It seems some have such itchy trigger fingers they use protestors for target practice.

I’ll hope to share more with you on these points in some upcoming posts, in particular “Blue Eyed Nazi” or something like that.

Meanwhile, let’s close with a poem brought to mind earlier today by my good evangelical friend Dr. D, down south. It’s from the late German Christian theologian Martin Niemöller.

First they came

When they came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


War in Our Time

Preface: The backdrop of this post is the terrorist attacks that rocked Brussels four days after Belgian and French security forces arrested Salah Abdeslam in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels. The violence spreads.

You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars . . .  those things must take place. (Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew 24:6, Amplified Bible).

Do you remember the name Neville Chamberlain? He preceded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of Great Britain. Here is what he said to the British people on September 30, 1938 after landing at Heston Aerodrome upon his return from his meeting with Hitler:

The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. … We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

Later the same day outside of 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain offered hope and comfort to the British people,

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

I am no government official, but please trust me when I say there will be no peace for our time. Those of you who know history know that Chamberlain was tragically wrong. I hope you can see that anyone who assures you peace and security in the face of the ISIS threat does so for their own benefit not for yours.

What Churchill offered his people after replacing Chamberlain at the political helm of the country was something quite different: “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. (American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank, text and audio)

You may be sure that what we face in ISIS and the various other Islamic terrorist groups constitutes an even more “monstrous tyranny” than that of the Third Reich, against which Great Britain stood alone until the United States entered the battle.

In the context of our present situation, you may find appropriate for your consideration and reflection a passage from the speech Jocko Willlink presented upon his retirement from the Seal Teams:

As long as man is, war will always be, always. And our great nation will always need men to do what is in our nature: Kill the enemy. Kill him as he sleeps. Kill him as he plots. Kill him as he hides. Kill him as he fights. That is our nature, and that is our solemn duty. (Jocko Podcast 11)

It is my belief that anything less than attacking our terrorist enemies with such complete vigor will leave our entire nation, our sons and daughters and everything we hold dear, exposed to violence such as we have never known upon our continental soil since our own Civil War.

And the take away? I believe that each of us must be the best we can possibly be so that collectively as families, communities, states, and a nation we will be strong enough to stand against the threat of all terror. I have found Extreme Ownership an unparalleled help in my life in this regard. May it be so in yours.