To Trump or not to Trump

TrumpFiredby Deana Chadwell5/5/16
That is the question: Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the presidency of Hillary Clinton, or by voting Trump risk the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Aye. That is the rub.

But it’s actually a series of much bigger questions: Should we be noble or practical? Should we vote out of anger or out of duty? Should we see electing a president as a moral statement or a pragmatic one? It gets down to this – What is the true nature of politics?

What is politics? We can say it is dangerous business. It combines some very combustible elements: greed – for both money and power, altruism – or the appearance thereof, necessary work, and both military and judicial force. This brew can produce massive corruption —  a palm-greasing, back rubbing incestuous sliminess that would shock even Iago, but it can also, in the right hands, produce safety and prosperity for the entire world – theoretically; we haven’t seen that for a spell now.

Politics is a practical, existential business. When it goes wrong, people die. I know there are those who like to imagine that human society is possible without government, but I’ve lived long enough to be sure mankind doesn’t have the capacity for that much freedom. He barely has enough to handle what little we have right now. Man’s tendencies to run amuck need curbing, both internationally and domestically. The question is how much curbing is required? When is enough, enough?

A large proportion of the American people have had enough – are sure that we’re way over that line, dangerously so and I agree. After all, those curbing our activities are no better than we are. But how do we undo what’s been done without such violent disturbances that render America as desolate as Syria?

Sound of trumpets and — enter Sir Donald, seated high on his white horse, armor clanking and sword swinging, come to slay the government, the GOP stuffed shirts, and misery in general. Obviously a lot of Americans welcome his appearance on the scene.

But here we are, we Republicans, the party of the purists, the party of the Constitution, the party of morality, “family values,” and the Bible, yet we have as our standard bearer a man who appears to know little about the Constitution, even less about the Bible, TrumpCartoonand whose vast fortune is based, at least partially, on less-than-moral endeavors. What are we church-going folk going to do? We believe in our hearts that our nation’s demise is largely due to the decline of a Christian moral stance – so then we choose as our candidate a man whose philandering is public knowledge, who has been married three times, who doesn’t seem particularly concerned about abortion?

There’s the dilemma: to Trump or not to Trump? Many are stamping angry feet and screaming, “Never Trump!” The rest of us are taking a deep, disappointed breath and looking the future right in the face – and that face looks frighteningly like Hillary.

OK. Enough background. How are we to think about this? Allow me to propose an approach:

— Let’s first scrape all the tar and feathers off the issue and get back to the purpose of all this: we need government and government requires a leader.

— Given that, then what must a leader be? What must he/she be prepared to do? He or she must be able to:

Handle power well. (i.e. Walk softly, but carry a big stick.)

Shoulder responsibility honestly and graciously.

Delegate power to capable and trustworthy people.

Stand tall and demonstrate resolve and dependability.

Inspire the rest of us.

— That’s what I want.

I want a candidate who is not at war with me, with my country, or with my religion.

I want a candidate who has tremendous energy – enough to fight his way through a ferocious election and still have the stamina left to launch a thousand more government skirmishes and win them all. Win.

I want a candidate who can.

You see, that’s what politics is. Winning. As a democratic republic America inserted two new elements into governance: a constitution that limits that governance, and a chance to choose our leaders and therefore the policies that govern the nation. That last part is politics. And where choice is involved there are two options – winning and losing. There is no high moral ground here – we either win or we lose.

Imagine three people being stranded on a mountaintop. We’ll call them James, George, and Henry. They haven’t eaten in three weeks. Rescue is still off in the distant future, Henry has just died, and James is fading fast. What should George do here? It’s morally repugnant to think in terms of eating Henry, but if he doesn’t prepare some of that flesh and feed it to James, James will have no chance of holding out until rescue, and George will be left up there alone.

In that scenario George has to choose between pure morality and pure practicality. We like life a lot better when those choices don’t happen. I would like it much more if Ted Cruz was our candidate, but he’s not. Just as it would do James and George no good to take the moral high ground and refuse to eat Henry, it will do us no good to lift our honorable noses in the air and refuse to go vote.

Granted the analogy falls apart pretty fast, so I’ll venture a more direct approach:

We have a duty to vote – that isn’t a political choice; it’s our civic duty.  This is something all good citizens do; to sit out an election because we’re too lazy to go vote is, practically speaking, exactly the same as staying home because neither candidate pleases our moral sensitivities.

I don’t much like the Donald. I don’t like his brashness. I don’t like his vagueness, his vacillations on important policies, his pie-in-the-sky promises. I don’t like his three marriages, his gambling casinos. I don’t like his hair. But none of that is the point.

The question isn’t whether or not I like him. I’m not moving in with the man. I just want him to get the damn skunks our from under the house. The question isn’t even whether or not he’d make a great president. (Most of us feel that it will take a great president to undo the damage Obama has done.) The time to address that issue is over. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should pack up our toys in a huff and go home. It means we have to realize that the choice has changed.

The question now is which candidate would best discharge the following  — will he or she:

Handle power well.

Shoulder responsibility honestly and graciously.

Delegate power to capable and trustworthy people.

Stand tall and demonstrate resolve and dependability.

Inspire the rest of us.

Note, I didn’t ask which would perfectly, or profoundly, or historically perform those essential functions. The question is just between these two admittedly flawed individuals. Ideology and high principles are not, right now, the issue. They will be again if we gain a foothold in the Oval Office, but if Hillary wins, the issue of principle will be gone, and in all likelihood, forever. There’s nothing noble about that, so I’ve decided that I’d rather vote against our sea of troubles,
and by opposing end them.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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66 Responses to To Trump or not to Trump

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Note that the new policy of StubbornThings is that all strictly political articles will go in the blog section.

    There are two exceptions to this rule. One is Annie who is a Fellow of StubbornThings and has carte blanche. The other is Deana who tends not to do mind-numbing political tit-for-tat analysis — the kind that so plagues conservative sites. Instead, she typically adds a lot of thoughtfulness and soul.

    All strictly political articles from everyone else, including myself, will go in the blog section. Write them and discuss them to your heart’s content. This isn’t a request not to have them. But this is a self-conscious way to de-emphasize this stuff. With all due respect, the last thing I want this place to be is AmericanThinker or Breitbart.

    I pretty much reject the notion that man is a political animal. Okay, if Mr. Kung twisted my arm, I might indeed admit it. But we have many natural proclivities, many of which we should try to overcome. This, I think, is one of them.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I pretty much reject the notion that man is a political animal. Okay, if Mr. Kung twisted my arm, I might indeed admit it.

      Twist, twist. Note, Aristotle did not say all men were intelligent political animals. He had a special admiration for law givers.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Voting for Slick Hilly is not an option for me. This election is clearly a matter of Hobson’s choice (take it or leave it) — vote for Trump or don’t vote at all (or the effective equivalent, voting for an independent or 3rd party candidate).

    As for your example, all I can think of is our joke at a local restaurant that calls out each party to pick up their meals: “Donner, party of 7 . . . . . Donner, party of 6 . . . . . Donner, party of 5.”

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Of course, the thought of Hillary Clinton in the White House is disturbing. But as bad as she is, I believe the plague of locusts she would bring with her would be even more dangerous. The people she would place in positions of power, from the Supreme Court to the EPA, would inhabit those positions for decades.

    As we have seen over the last two terms, the Left is willing to bend and break laws which Republicans generally hold sacred. Thus one of the biggest reasons to consider voting for Trump, is to insure that another layer of leftist thugs are not spread over the bureaucracy.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thus one of the biggest reasons to consider voting for Trump, is to insure that another layer of leftist thugs are not spread over the bureaucracy.

      Well, he’s already apparently chosen a pedophile for Surgeon General. In all seriousness, I think it’s arguable (with some bit of wishful thinking) that Trump would, in a reasonable scenario, appoint a squadron of RINOs and Establishment men who would act as they have always acted. They would be big-government progressives pretending, with shallow rhetoric, to be conservatives while not only advancing statism but getting in the way of anyone who wishes to reform it. That is, business as usual for the Republican Party.

      This is arguably a little better than the hardcore Leftist agenda, I will admit. However, Thomas Sowell makes the case (one I mentioned a couple days ago) that Trump could be our Herbert Hoover, tarnishing the party for decades.

      Of course, some would argue that the “R” brand has already been tarnished by the Establishment men who caved to Obama, if not actively aided him. And I agree. But it has been my belief for some time that a sort of political Murphy’s Law will eventually gobble up the Republicans. They will likely have the bad luck to be in power when economic Armageddon hits. And because Republicans are feckless at defending themselves from smears from the Left, any accusations from the Left will stick to them just as it did regarding the housing boom-and-bust even though this was specifically caused by liberals.

      Deana makes the simple argument (I think) of choosing between bad and worse. And that is pretty much what true conservatives have been facing for decades now. There’s really nothing new in this regard. We have bad and we have worse once again, although I think Trump is such a loose cannon who shows clear signs of political delirium, and one that swings toward the Left, that a sane case can be made that he is as bad as Hillary. So choose your poison.

      The real elements in play are this:

      Christians: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Good luck with that.

      Conservatives (real conservatives, not the fake kind): Finding out if libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, is qualified (given our dumbed-down standards) to be a better president than either Hillary or Trump.

      Quasi-conservatives: Keeping your fists balled up in righteous anger so that your sense of victimhood keeps away that nagging doubt that you have become the right’s version of Occupy Wall Street.

      Establishment Republicans: Can you forward a third-party candidate in time who is popular enough to split the vote so that this selection of the president goes to the House of Representatives where you can select Paul Ryan?

      The Great Unwashed: I used to be against the legalization of marijuana and other drugs. But if it would keep you at home in a drugged-out haze instead of going to the polls, I might reconsider.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        If nothing else, Trump appointees probably wouldn’t declare the NC bathroom law a violation of civil rights, as the Obama Gang did and the Hillaryites no doubt will build on. We may have to take what we can get, which probably won’t be very much — but it might at least be a tad less bad than under the Obama Gang. And Trump supposedly will list his prospective choices for SCOTUS, which will give us a good basis for comparison.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        However, Thomas Sowell makes the case (one I mentioned a couple days ago) that Trump could be our Herbert Hoover, tarnishing the party for decades.

        I do not think Sowell’s comparison is particularly good. The Republican party of the 1920’s was in fine shape. Although there was the Teapot Dome Scandle, the economy had been very good and Coolidge left the party and country in good order.

        This is not the case today. Both the country and party are a shambles and I don’t think Trump will make much difference. The man is so clearly an outsider that the majority of his supporters know this. All of them, unless they are lying or are brain-dead, know he is no conservative and that he wears the R of the party like vessel flies a flag of convenience.

  4. David Ray says:

    So my choice is between Donald’s moldy hard-tac or Hillary’s vomit.
    Like Paul Ryan, I’m also waiting to see if Donald will sweeten what I’m being asked to choke down in November.
    Of course I will be voting Republican down the ticket and campaigning likewise (Pete Session comes to mind.)

    If Trump want’s my vote, he’d better flush his head out and pick some adults for his cabnet & Supreme Court nominations. (God how I miss Ron & Nancy; Hell, I even miss Jimmy & Rosalyn)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      If Trump want’s my vote, he’d better flush his head out and pick some adults for his cabnet & Supreme Court nominations.

      It’s likely you’ll get a few familiar names in his cabinet. It’s unlikely any of them will be conservatives in any real way. It far less likely you’ll get an originalist nominated to the Supreme Court.

      But Trump is now our version of Obamacare. You have to vote for it to find out what’s in it.

  5. My point really is that we have fallen so far as a nation that this election forces us to face that fact. However, we still, by the grace of God, have a smidgeon of hope and that’s the choice we have — absolute demolition of this country via Billary and her minions or the very small possibility that Trump will do some of what he promised — see the NYT article outlining his policy statements. It’s a miserable option, but it is still an option and neither well-earned cynicism nor arrogant righteousness provides it. The only way we can open that door is to hold our collective breath, and our individual noses, and vote for the man.

    Then we have to go back to work trying to convince our fellow man that God must be the center of this society or it will implode. In truth, no elected official, not even the most powerful, can fix America. The rot runs very deep. So prayer and humility and a consistent effort to digest the Word of God — that’s all that’s left to us.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My point really is that we have fallen so far as a nation that this election forces us to face that fact.

      I quite agree with you.

      The only way we can open that door is to hold our collective breath, and our individual noses, and vote for the man.

      I don’t feel the commitment that you do to vote for Trump. There is ample reason to believe that he hasn’t even read “his” policy papers. You’ve heard him ramble on about foreign policy. To be fair (Timothy’s got me using that phrase), he makes libertarians sound coherent about foreign policy. Trump sounds like the guy on the next bar stool who has had too many. It’s all just stream-of-consciousness gibberish.

      So, no, I feel no obligation to vote for Trump merely because of the “R” next to his name on the ballot, especially because it is very arguable he’s as bad as Hillary.

      You’re right that no elected official can fix America. The rot runs very deep. I may save the theological issues for another article or post. This is a complicated subject. But I will tell you this, Deana, the youth of this country have been poisoned by atheistic secularism. (Is there any other kind of secularism? Probably not.)

      And I mean deeply poisoned. It’s one thing to be a searching person such as myself and wonder about the nature of God and whether I matter at all to him or him to me. But it’s quite another to see the legions of people who have been turned into rabid Alinskyites in regard to the sheer noxious and constant venom they have for any idea of God.

      It makes me seriously wonder about the devil. If there is a God, maybe simply being alienated from God creates that black hole in ourselves that we label as “the devil.” I think this makes much more sense than an actual devil, for a pot of heated water will soon turn deathly cold if taken from the flame.

      Christians have done a horrible job articulating their point of view. But to be fair (thanks again, Timothy), the devil of noxious secularism/atheism has been working overtime. Even a completely focused, competent, and energized evangelical movement might not have kept up.

      As it turns out, most did not even try. They simply took the noxious secularism on board and called it “social justice” and “diversity.”

      Wait…I do believe I did not delay in my thoughts on the subject. But what I find it most difficult to do in the age of material abundance, wherein relativism and other dodges give one complete license, is how to make the idea of God matter. We see the same thing regarding Big Government’s continued rise, which is surely why many so-called Christians support Trump and the various RINOs through the decades (despite protestations to the contrary).

      The idea of setting limits on ourselves is not a popular one. Culturally, politically, or economically, these are not things in popular repute. Instead, what we want is fewer and fewer obstacles to our own abundance. Whether talking RINO, Obamacare, Big Government, Donald Trump, or the Prosperity Gospel, all those roads derive from the same place: No limits. I want it all. Do not curb my appetites. Gimme gimme gimme.

      But the very idea of God, particularly of the Christian conception, is that our appetites do need to be curbed. True, in the long (or even the short) run, we will gain far more than we give up, if only in a sense of peace. It’s not like the idea of God is a harsh austerity program. But it is a sobering program whereby we can’t act like eternally spoiled children.

      Intellectually, I may get someone who has stewed in secular culture to accept the idea of a transcendent Creator, if only as an alternative to the prima facie absurdity of randomness. But it will be very difficult indeed to get that same person to accept the idea of limits on one’s appetites. And surely we see that the appetites tend to trump (no pun intended) the theology, therefore much theology in the West is Marxism with the superficial accouterments of candles and stained glass layered over the top.

      I know of no place on the internet where such subjects are talked about in the depth we do here. Maybe we have a continued part to play.

    • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

      Deanna, this idea of convincing our fellows that God be the center is somewhat related to what I’ve been saying for about a month now. We have Trump as our only tool now to help us resurrect reality-based and moral governance, so I say vote for him, and then start working immediately to help him become the best leader he can be. We don’t have to baptize him, just offer support and morally based ideas. (Throwing rocks at him is not productive or smart. NR grows tiresome stamping their booties and crying.)

      And, could you even imagine trying to change Clinton’s direction in any substantive way? She would be impenetrable, and would indeed corrupt our nation terminally.

      Your essay is indeed worthy of the main page. The themes are not party-based, but rather human. Truth is all we have, and we know Who is there for us in these dire times.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here is probably the most thoughtful article by a conservative (a real conservative) that I’ve read regarding Trump: The Jury is Still Out by David Limbaugh

    It would be bad enough if Trump supporters would agree to support Trump as a stop-gap measure — to save the country in times of urgency — and honor their pledge to thereafter return their emphasis to constitutional principles once things have settled down.. But too many of them are feeling their oats and basking in their triumph, with no intention of returning to conservatism — ever. Most intend for their nationalism and populism to replace constitutional conservatism forever, and many intend for authoritarianism to replace limited government, which means America may never be the same again.

    Even RINOs are on the same continuum as constitutional conservatives. They are to the left of us, but they are ideologically oriented and decidedly to the right of the left. Trumpists don’t even seem to be on the ideological continuum, and they have no patience for discussing it. People who do discuss it — such as our Founding Fathers — are obstructionist relics and need to be dispatched (figuratively, I suppose).

    In other words, “Cuckoo, cuckoo.” Great analysis by Limbaugh. Be sure to read the entire article.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      And, again, that’s the behavior of liberal fascists. Like Islamists, they share the methods and enemies of liberalism and thus can work with liberals, though their goals are different.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Oh, right on, Timothy. The resemblance to the Left is stunning. And this is coming from the extremely sober David Limbaugh. This petulant, facts-do-not-matter, feelings-uber-alles, I’m-my-own-god attitude is the very calling card of those corrupted or indoctrinate by the Left.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I should make clear that we are not there yet, but there is some similarity with what is happening in America with Trump and with what happened in Italy and Mussolini. Can baying at the moon be far behind?

      But it is more disgraceful in the USA, because we have a long tradition of republican governance.

      I can’t recall which of our founding fathers said it, but our government can only function under a moral people, or something to that effect.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Oh, there is a resemblance, Mr. Kung. And I don’t think it’s at all cuckoo to say so. I said so months ago. I more politely referred to him as FDR without the manners (and FDR was a big fan of Mussolini, at least before the war started). But you are right to make that connection.

        Obama is our Lenin. Trump would be our Mussolini. Hillary would be our Mao. She’s got the Communist pants suits for the role.

        This is one reason that Trump supporters cannot articulate anything about Trump other than a vague “He’ll get things done.” That’s the same basic instinct all dictators and demagogues tap into. They tap into a general discontent. And the evil in people comes out in that they don’t care what kind of wreckage the leader causes. It’s payback time, buddy.

        Again, I’m no Hillary fan. But those who plan not do vote for Trump need to understand that they are doing the country a huge favor. If it bothers their conscience they should spend time trying to get at least to Hillary voters to change to Gary Johnson or some other party candidate.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        John Adams, I think. But several expressed similar notions.

        And bad as Mussolini was, he wasn’t as bad as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, or Mao.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          There may be more than one quote because it was a common-sense notion at the time. But I do think you are correct that KFZ was referring to John Adams who said:

          Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

          He also said (and I don’t believer I’d run across this quote before):

          Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And bad as Mussolini was, he wasn’t as bad as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, or Mao.

          You seem to be reading my mind. I normally compare the Republicans and Democrats with pneumonia and lung cancer. But to bring my comparison to a different level, I was thinking Trump as Mussolini and Clinton as Stalin. Neither good, but one much worse than the other.

  7. Anniel says:

    Deanna: I loved the thoughtfulness and humanity of your piece. We do need to live in Realville and do our duty accordingly. Someone called Rush the other day and said that if Trump does anything at all, it’s more than what anyone else is even talking about.

    Will he build the fence and close the border? Follow the Constitution? Shut down unsecured immigration? Get people talking about trade and the debt? No one knows, but as Tom said above, we can start working to help him be the best leader he can be.

    We just might get surprised. Just call me a cock eyed optimist if you’d like, but I really do not believe God is through with us.

    • I agree, Annie. True, with Trump we only get a modicum of hope, but it is still hope. With Hillary there is none. I’ll take hope anytime, even if it does have funny hair.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      We just might get surprised. Just call me a cock eyed optimist if you’d like, but I really do not believe God is through with us.

      But is America through with God and our heritage?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Actually, the stage we’re at now, you’ll begin to see many Christians (this is standard Catholic fare, for example) saying that God is working through Donald Trump. The “social gospel” is completely formed on the idea that the state is to do God’s work.

        Of course, it’s arguable that with Obama and his ilk, the state is doing the devil’s work. But there is a suspension of good judgment as people get caught up in the transcendent and uplifting excitement of it all. It might sure *feel* as if the Holy Ghost were directing political figure X, Y, or Z.

        Apparently many young women (perhaps older women as well) would faint at the site of Hitler when he was passing on parade in his motorcar. In terms of “God,” we must be very careful what we wish for. We must be very discerning. And in the case of Donald Trump, this isn’t happening for a lot of people.

        God help us, I suppose. The real one, not the one we infuse with all our earthly hopes and dreams. I’m guessing God is going with the Constitution Party, although he could go Libertarian this time ‘round.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Just call me a cock eyed optimist

      You are a cock-eyed optimist. But the issue here is the reasonableness and justification of seeing the glass half full in regards to Trump. One could easily say the same things of Hillary: She might not be so bad.

      I refuse to squint and try to make believe that the donkey I am seeing is really a unicorn. I think living in Realville, Annie, requires an actual commitment to reality instead of just a different kind of blind “hope-and-change” faith in a politician, especially one who has shown himself to be as slippery as Trump.

      In effect, Donald Trump has done nothing but show he is undeserving of the benefit of the doubt. He has earned doubt coming and going.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Consider what God did in the time of Noah, we may have to be concerned even if he isn’t through with us. (Have you ever read “God-Forgotten” by Thomas Hardy? It might be appropriate today.) But being a “cock-eyed optimist” isn’t necessarily bad; it worked out all right in the movie South Pacific.

      • Being optimistic is healthier and happier, though it is riskier. There’s an ego advantage to cynicism — if everything falls apart, the pessimist knew it all along and if everything goes well in spite of dire predictions, then the curmudgeon can merely say, “Just wait.” And sooner or later something will combust and he can proudly complain that he told us so.

        The trick is in learning to see God’s hand in everything. Man, left to his own devices is bound to screw things up. But, just like the parent who wouldn’t leave his 2-year-old twins alone all day, God is watching over this whole mess.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Being optimistic is healthier and happier, though it is riskier. There’s an ego advantage to cynicism — if everything falls apart, the pessimist knew it all along and if everything goes well in spite of dire predictions, then the curmudgeon can merely say, “Just wait.”

          Deana has learned my secret. 😀 But, seriously, she is talking about something to keep in mind if we have aspirations higher than “populism.” And that is the general category Trump falls under. Don’t think. Just feel. Don’t absorb and search out new facts, just see and hear only that which fits your current view. Don’t step back and measure your responses, just go with your gut. (And despite the popular belief, the gut — feelings — are typically a horrible guide.)

          This is why I keep Deana around here and give her such leeway. She keeps me honest. 😉

          That said, sometimes pessimists are right to be pessimistic. It’s when the better name for them is “realist.” By all means, vote for Trump in an effort to keep Hillary out of office. But whether the branch you are sitting on is sawed off by a chainsaw or a wood saw — fast or slow — don’t ever imagine that bad half-measures are solutions. You can get used to bad half-measures. That is arguably how so many of the RINOs got elected, although I’ve changed my view somewhat on that. I don’t believe there were that many conservatives to begin with. They just preferred self-identifying as “conservative,” if only because they didn’t really know what it meant but it sounded nice…better than “liberal,” them other guys who have 56 genders and kill the unborn.

          Let us hope God is not just watching over this whole mess but inspiring people to sound the alarm. Ummm…..that’s sort of my job at the moment.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        That poem that Timothy referred to can be found here.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          We had it in high school, as well as quite a bit of other work by Hardy, including Tess of the D’Urbervilles with its classic couplet (parodying Browning) of a world out of joint:

          God’s not in his heaven,
          All’s wrong with the world.

          Sounds a bit too foreboding today. God may still look after fools and drunkards/madmen, but does he still look after the US after so many have forgotten him?

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            America was certainly founded on the idea of Providence. That capital-“P” is sort of an amalgamation of The Almighty, Fate, and humble and wise human action with at least one ear tuned and pointed away from the self.

            As you well know, when the Constitutional Convention was nigh well falling apart, Ben Franklin’s (written, I believe) remarks regarding the need to step back and pray for the guidance of the hand of Providence is well known. Or used to be. (Who is Ben Franklin? Doesn’t he make a brand of rice?)

            I find it difficult to come up with a formula for when it is God talking and not human will, desire, or ambition. Does anyone have a reliable guide or formula?

            That said, sometimes you know a thing by what is not the thing. Atheism, for example, is a wonderful guide for understanding the entire religious impulse. Atheism is like a vacuum on the soul. It is so constituted to suck out any emotion or thought not deemed “rational” by a governing, and quite fundamentalist, body of the sub-culture. As much as I am sometimes perplexed, even disheartened, by religious fundamentalism, nothing drains me of hope and enthusiasm for philosophy like coming into contact with atheists (who rarely call themselves such, so part of the problem is one of just dishonesty and/or an extreme lack of self-knowledge).

            When you have walked the path of thorns, you gain new appreciation for the path strewn with rose petals, even if you cannot prove that God made the rose.

            Certainly all is wrong with the world when God is not in his heaven.

  8. pst4usa says:

    “Certainly all is wrong with the world when God is not in his heaven.”
    Not to worry there Brad, He is always there, we just forget to see, hear or feel His presence from time to time. i do not know if I can cast a vote for Trump or not, I will have to wait for November. I am a Cruz supporter still hoping for that miracle that only God can provide, will He? I surely do not know or expect it, but I hope.

    I have been telling everyone that I have talked to in the past few months, (and believe me, I have talked to a lot of people), the story of John Quincy Adams and what his response was when ask how he felt about throwing his life away in his lost battle against slavery, he said, “Duty is ours, the results belong to God”. The rest of the story is that John Quincy was the mentor to a young freshmen congressman by the name of Abraham Lincoln. So when we make claims about what God wants for America, or anyone of us, we must remember that His time line is much much bigger.

    So regardless of how you decide to vote come this November, do not let anyone say that you are the cause of x,y or z, the results will be His will, whether it is a Mussolini wannabe, a Mao look-a-like, Stalin or someone else.

    One final thought from Sesame Street, this whole mess was brought to you by the letters D, L, R and P, (Democrats, Leftist, Republicans and Progressives), if people continue with the idea that we must all vote for the letter “R” even though this particular candidate, is much closer to D,L and P than anything we have seen, then I suppose I will bow down to Brad who has said, for quite some time, that this country is done and although God is still in heaven, we have kicked Him out of this country. And that my friends will leave a mark.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      And that, in essence, is the point of “God-Forgotten”, which I mentioned earlier (and Brad provided a link to). Hardy is sent to seek God’s help, only to learn that God has forgotten us because we forgot him first.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      In The Devil’s Delusion, David Berlinski quotes a Muslim, of all people. (It must have been during their “golden age.”)

      With this curb removed [in short, God’s judgments and laws], Al Ghazâli predicts, men and women will give way to “a bestial indulgence of their appetites.”

      Well, considering how many Christians voted for Trump, perhaps ol’ Ghazâli missed the mark. Even if Cruz wasn’t in the race, it should have been pretty obvious to all that this man is unfit to be president of the United States, and it matters not if he was running against Stalin.

      Trump has either corrupted much of the conservative establishment or he has exposed that this conservative establishment always was (as I have noted) little more than a book club. That is, its main orientation was entertainment, its fixation not on principles but the buzz of popularity and schmoozing with the celebs of their craft.

      With the ascendency of Trump, it’s obvious that we have given way to the indulgence of our appetites. And I like the way you highlighted the absurdity of many people who simply vote the letter (“R” or “D.”) That’s a great call, Pat.

      But what should I say is God’s preference in this? If there is a God active in our affairs, you would suppose there would be a preference. Obviously it’s considered very bad manners to say God is on your side, that he has your vote. It seems as absurd at the winning football team thanking God for the win. Few realized God was a Packers fan.

      And yet unless God remains little but an esoteric notion (a point I tend to favor), there ought to be some way of gauging the thing or else we’re stuck talking in vague generalities. God will help us one day, maybe just not today. I think the best we can do is hope that the Bible is divinely inspired, and then we can eke out a general theme or propensity. The relevant section that comes to mind is: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

      • Timothy Lane says:

        That last part is a reminder of where the real corruption of Trump lies. Someone who supports him for the lack of a better alternative (and in terms of winning, that’s plausible now given that the only other candidate left who can win is the Fire Witch) is different from someone who actually tries to sell him as a man of good character.

  9. God’s grace is much bigger than any of our perfidies. Yes, we obviously have some discipline coming — see Leviticus 26 for God’s description of what He’ll do to Israel when she gets out of line. I can’t say I know whether or not that applies to us, but my point is that God doesn’t just walk away. He has too much invested in this nation and there’s still a sizable group of people who have not forgotten Him. He will take care of those who are his.

    If this Trump candidacy is as bad as many are thinking it is then it would behoove us to see it as divine discipline. We had a really GOOD candidate and not enough people wanted good; they wanted flash and dazzle, bombast and flowery promises, so we won’t have the choice of GOOD. But we can fulfill our citizen duty and vote, thereby following the system we so believe in, exercising our rights in the way the Constitution has provided, and then as pst has pointed out, we will have done what is required of us election-wise and we’ll leave the results up to God.

    Or, we can do what my grandson did when he was two and his mother told him to either eat his supper or go to bed. He looked up at her and said, “I don’t want 2 choices; I want 5!” Well, don’t we all, but reality bites, so we either have to figure out a way out of this — and I don’t know of any options — or suck it up and deal with it. And pray, because God hears His children and responds.

    • Pst4usa says:

      Then I pray that both Trump and Hillary get indited for their crimes soon, and end this nightmare.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Ben Stein, who is typically painful to read, has an article that is coherent, if perhaps not all that well thought out. In the Wake of George Wallace.

    Stein asserts that Trump’s real appeal is to white voters anxious about being marginalized.

    Although I haven’t used the Wallace analogy, I’ve also sniffed something of the same. It is almost certainly why you can’t get straight answers out of Trump voters. No one wants to be thought of as a racist. And in this day and age where that word now has so little meaning because of over-use, I won’t use it here.

    Where Stein is his usual obscure self is that there is not one word about the real dangers of both illegal aliens from the south and Muslims from wherever. I support a policy where all illegal aliens are either forcibly kicked out or starved out by removing their ability to get work and “free stuff.” And I support ending all immigration from those coming from Islamic countries or who are Muslims coming from some other country. If this policy seems too harsh or inhumane, I will gladly adopt one whereby we swap an honest, hard-working illegal alien from the south for a generational welfare recipient.

    Given what is happening in Europe and elsewhere wherever Muslims reach a certain percentage of the population (much as a virus works), there isn’t anything racist or nativist about this. It’s just plain self-preservation. Here is yet another report of creeping Sharia, where the police tell a woman in Austria to dye her hair and wear modest clothing if she doesn’t want to be attacked (by Muslim men, of course).

    Neither does Stein mention that many black people are concerned by the same thing. The Wallace analogy works only to a point. But if Trump did no more as president (aside from not starting WWIII due to his sheer stupidity or igniting economic Armageddon because of his endemic ignorance) than starve out the illegal aliens and end every last bit of Muslim immigration, he would have performed a great service.

    But, alas, the man backpedals and waffles so often, no rational person can have any confidence that he will do these things. And there is abundant and long-term evidence that he is merely a typical left-of-center Progressive. That means, in short, he’s lying to you.

    So what would God say about all this? If standing before him, might he not say, “When it came time to protect this republic that I have nurtured as man’s last, best hope, what did you do? Instead of choosing a man or woman worthy of the highest office in The Shining City on the Hill, you played politics. You voted some scheme to keep some other person out of office while glorifying this choosing of the bad as sacred merely because it was exercising your precious franchise. Did not you learn anything from the purple fingers held high in Iraq a few years ago? It is not the mere act of voting that secures the blessings of liberty. Have you not heard of the perverse rule, ‘One man, one vote, one time?’ You must not call evil good and justify it by mere procedure.”

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a great part from George Will’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party Will Be Defeated:

    Looking on the bright side — speaking of challenges — Trump’s nomination might have two salutary effects: It might counteract “The Cult of the Presidency,” as explored in Gene Healy’s 2008 book with that title. And it might reacquaint Republicans with the reality principle — the need to assess and adapt to facts.

    Healy analyzes the delusion of “redemption through presidential politics.” The infantilization of America is apparent in the presidency becoming a semi-sacerdotal office, one that conflates spiritual yearnings and magical thinking about wonders performed by executive power. Trump, with his coarse character and fanciful promises, is an antidote to such superstitions.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      He may have a point. Obama is a despot at heart, but he at least seems like a nice guy if you’re not paying attention (and most people don’t, most especially including the synoptic media). Even Slick Hilly’s flaws are mostly the standard flaws of corrupt politics. But The Donald is sui generis as a blustering, bullying blowhard. And he wouldn’t be a Demagogue (overtly, anyway) or The First Black President, so the synoptic media would actually report all this, with no apologies for accepting similar abuses from Big Brother Barry. But all that would require Trump actually winning, and acting as we fear. That may be too high a price to pay for the lesson.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Obama is a despot at heart, but he at least seems like a nice guy . . .

        At issue in the culture wars is the very definition of “nice guy.” Those indoctrinated in Marxism (via “social justice” and its various guises) see a “nice guy” in anyone who acknowledges the various supposed victim groups. It’s a cult of grievance, this dark orientation hidden by the obsessive and showy support for homosexuals, Muslims, and other special mascot identity groups, not least of all, women.

        Conservatives see a “nice guy” in those who protect the unborn, who don’t play fast-and-loose with public money to simply buy constituencies, who promote industriousness and self-reliance, who promote law and order rather than the elevation of the criminal as a victim, etc.

        The “nice guy” everyone-is-a-victim-in-need-of-sympathetic-tears orientation is a tough nut to crack. Hitler gained power via grievance. Grievance and a sense of victimhood are amongst the most powerful human motivators.

        The GOP Establishment has no intention in engaging the culture wars. Again, I think Andy McCarthy got to the heart of it, as least in regards to the Republican Party (how and if this carries over into the GOP voters at large is an interesting subject):

        At the risk of overgeneralization, I see the intramural fight in the party as between principled conservatives (who do not always agree among themselves) and Republican operatives who want to move the party in a politically progressive, Washington-centric direction — either for ideological reasons or, more often, because they think that’s how elections are won and power is amassed. I believe conservatives want to try to move the voters toward us; what’s commonly called the “establishment” wants to move the party to where it thinks the voters are in order to maintain power in Washington. My side thinks the Republican party should be a conservative vehicle; the other side thinks the Republican party should be a “pragmatic” vehicle with a conservative veneer — its main job being to win elections and control the spoils.

        Especially damaging to conservatives is the infiltration of the very ethical framework of conservatism (Judeo-Christianity, broadly speaking) by Cultural Marxism. The ground has long been eroding from under our feet. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we have Trump and yet even I am surprised.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    And here’s a great description of Trump by Andy McCarthy:

    While Trump has his fans, he troubles most conservatives — to put it mildly. That is because records matter more than late-life conversions, proclaimed with varying amounts of conviction and coherence. On his record, Donald Trump is a left-wing Democrat, whose newfangled conservatism is suspect. He is a deal-maker, whose positions, regardless of the fervor with which they are announced, are best understood as the start of a negotiation — endlessly elastic.

    And this is also as good of a description of the conservatives vs. Establishment fracture:

    At the risk of overgeneralization, I see the intramural fight in the party as between principled conservatives (who do not always agree among themselves) and Republican operatives who want to move the party in a politically progressive, Washington-centric direction — either for ideological reasons or, more often, because they think that’s how elections are won and power is amassed. I believe conservatives want to try to move the voters toward us; what’s commonly called the “establishment” wants to move the party to where it thinks the voters are in order to maintain power in Washington. My side thinks the Republican party should be a conservative vehicle; the other side thinks the Republican party should be a “pragmatic” vehicle with a conservative veneer — its main job being to win elections and control the spoils.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Matt Barber takes on the Christian perspective regarding Trump: A Christian Letter to Nominee Trump. I think he’s way too easy on fellow Christians. But being “non-judgmental” is all the rage these days.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Palin, in an interview with Jake Tapper, shows a bit of cluelessness:

    “I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said, referring to the former Republican House majority leader who lost to Dave Brat in a 2014 Virginia primary.

    “His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people,” Palin said.

    Please note, the “will of the people’ is typically Leftist-speak when a small minority attempts to make their views seem more widespread and/or it is an attempt at sheer demagoguery.

    If the “will of the people” is anywhere, it is behind Bernie Sanders, and that will is being stomped on by the super-delegates. I’m actually fine with super-delegates. A party may set its own rules. But there was very little will, in the absolute sense, behind Trump. For Palin to speak in these terms is a bit naive, if not deceitful.

    As one commenter said:

    Who is Palin to oppose anybody on the grounds of ideological purity. She endorsed a borderline socialist for the Republican nomination. If any person should be excised from the party it is her, Limbaugh, Hannity etc who are backing the most Liberal nominee in the history of the party.

    Note: I’m a huge non-fan of Paul Ryan who represents the worst of RINO-ism. In this case, we are allies if only because we have a common enemy. Trump would be a yuge disaster for the Republican Party (which includes, especially, the establishment). And with this clown, much like Romney, telling everyone how conservative he is while spouting gibberish, he’d do major damage to the very idea of conservatism, which is even now holding on by a thread.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Trump would be a yuge disaster for the Republican Party

      As I have said before, the damage is already done. Had Trump not been an egotistical scoundrel, he could have sailed to the nomination and unified the party despite his being no conservative. But the man has no principles other than self-aggrandizement. He has spouted vicious lies about his Republican opponents and shown himself to be someone without any philosophical core. He is a profoundly immoral man. A glad-hander who means nothing he says while pumping your arm up and down. To call him a snake oil salesman would be an insult to the snake oil profession.

      The only thing that can be said in his favor is that he may not be as bad as Hillary.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        You just scoped the man our very well, Mr. Kung. It makes you wonder what people are seeing past in order to see into him something else.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that Cruz handily won the Wisconsin primary, with Trump only carrying a couple of northwestern districts — definitely not Ryan’s. So opposing Trump (and he’ll probably come around in the end anyway) is hardly denying the will of his constituents. Perhaps Palin, having joined Ann Coulter and others in accepting the entire Trump Party line, thinks that was illegitimate because . . . well, because all Trump defeats must be illegitimate.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If would be one thing if Palin could say that she supports Trump because of X, Y, and Z. But one gets the sense this is all about a cult of personality and, for Palin, merely trying to stay relevant and in the spotlight. Basically another media whore, and I use that noun in a gender-neutral way. I’m disgusted with the way Rush Limbaugh has begged off any real analysis of Trump. He just repeats over and over again, “Nothing that X, Y, or Z says can break the bond between Trump and his supporters.”

        Gee, thanks. That’s enlightening. And he keeps telling everyone that he’s already explained the Trump phenomenon. But he hasn’t other than pointing out the obvious that many people are disgusted with the Republican Establishment.

        I suppose Palin is positioning herself for a cabinet post or an important ambassadorship.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Actually, I think Palin might be good as Energy Secretary (though this is a cabinet post many conservatives would like to eliminate). But we do indeed have a personality cult similar to the cult that still exists around the Black God (and to some extent JFK and, at least for a while, Slick Willie). Liberals need a god-king, and as usual Trump’s acolytes behave like liberals.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      For Palin to speak in these terms is a bit naive, if not deceitful.

      I warned you about Palin.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        You did warn me, Mr. Kung. And the only way to avoid becoming a mindless, fist-pumping ideologue who can never be wrong is to eat a little crow once in a while. Got any A-1 Sauce for that bird?

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          A-1 us also my choice for such meals. I keep plenty in my pantry.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I use that for beef. It is, after all, a steak sauce. (It may be a bit disconcerting that my behavior resembles that of British World War II officers who failed to use the 3.7 inch AA gun for anti-tank purposes — it was better than the 88 at the time — because it was AA gun, not an AT gun.) For a bird, barbecue sauce would be likelier to be appropriate.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Well, all I have to say about the A-1 sauce (and I’m not sauced…just a case of Sinatration):

            Is it an earthquake
            Or simply a shock?
            Is it the good turtle soup
            With A-1 Sauce?

            Is it a cocktail
            This feeling of joy?
            Or is what I feel
            The real McCoy?

            Is it for all time
            Or simply a lark?
            Is it Granada I see
            Or only Asbury Park?

            Is it a fancy
            Not worth thinking of?
            Or is it
            At long last love?

            Is it an earthquake
            Or simply a shock?
            Is it the good turtle soup
            With A-1 Sauce?

            Is it a cocktail
            This feeling of joy?
            Or is what I feel
            The real McCoy?

            Is it for all time
            Or simply a lark?
            Is it Granada I see
            Or only Asbury Park?

            Is it a fancy
            Not worth thinking of?
            Or is it at long
            Long, long last love?

  15. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    VDH writes about our Hobson’s Choice:

    The choice is difficult for principled conservatives, because no sooner should they decide to vote for Trump than Trump will surely say something outrageous, cruel, or crude that would ostensibly now have their imprimatur on it. And note, this matters to conservatives much more than it does to liberals. Few Obama supporters at Harvard or the Ford Foundation or the New York Times worried much in 2008 that their candidate had dismissed his own generous grandmother as a “typical white person” or that he tried to get away with airbrushing out the obscene Reverend Wright and mythologized his close friendships with reprobates like Bill Ayers and Father Michael Pfleger.

    Aside from his dubious political loyalties, Trump persists in being mean-spirited. He seems uninformed on many of the issues, especially those in foreign policy; he changes positions, contradicts himself within a single speech, and uses little more than three adjectives (tremendous, great, and huge). But the problem with many of these complaints is that they apply equally to both the current president and the other would-be next president. When Hillary Clinton, playing to the green vote, bragged that she would put miners out of work, and then, when confronted with an out-of-work miner, backtracked and lied about her earlier boast, we had a refined version of Trump’s storytelling.

    And there is a good reason I’m no longer rope-a-doped into watching supposedly conservative Fox News. VDH does his job on journalistic (and liberal) tramp, Megyn Kelly:

    Note as well that so-called Republican elites really did help to create Trump: On matters of illegal immigration, offshoring and outsourcing, huge deficits, trade, and political correctness, many conservative pundits, handlers, and politicians sounded about the same as their liberal counterparts. When they debated on TV, it was like listening to two divorce lawyers; in the green room, would they sip bottled water and swap stories about their crazy clients? I recently watched Fox’s star anchor Megyn Kelly, in fawning fashion, interview firebrand Michael Moore as if he were a genuine documentarian. Moore praised Kelly to the skies, and engaged in jocular buddy joshing about her post-Fox career plans, before he waxed on in magnanimous style about how he had felt poor George W. Bush was simply incompetent rather than malicious. His disingenuous mush went unquestioned. Yet Moore remains a reprobate who after 9/11 thundered: “If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him. Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes’ destination of California — these were the places that voted against Bush.” Of the American dead in Iraq, he once gloated, “I’m sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe — just maybe — God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.” Michael Moore cuddles on Fox the way Al Sharpton goes to the Oval Office. What is the difference?

    Love this bit:

    Trump is, of course, spring-loaded; he has no safety and can go off at any time.

  16. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    If you vote for Trump in order to keep Hillary out of office, that is understandable but perhaps not commendable. Trump could be worse than Hillary. I agree with P.J. O’Rourke:

    I am endorsing Hillary. The second worst thing that could happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place, you know? She’s wrong about absolutely everything — but she’s wrong within normal parameters! . . .   I mean, this man just can’t be president of the US. I mean, they got this button, it’s in a briefcase, he’s gonna find it.r

    “She’s wrong within normal parameters.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Sorry, P.J. O’Rourke lost me some time back. He is certainly no longer anything approaching a conservative. Like most who infest the NYC/D.C. Axis, he has become another Chardonnay sipping, Brie munching insider who has little interest in the future of America.

      Hillary is wrong within normal parameters? What parameters would those be, betrayal of those working for her such as in Benghazi? Betrayal of national security secrets to numerous foreign enemies such as with her bathroom server? Betrayal of women molested by her husband?

      I won’t go on. Suffice it to say that I can understand not voting for Trump, but to vote for that treacherous witch Hillary would be inexcusable/unforgivable.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I totally get what P.J. is saying about “normal parameters.” How far his tongue is planted in his cheek, I do not know. But clearly there’s an essence of “the devil you know” in Hillary and “the devil you don’t know” in Trump. Choose your poison.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          But with Hillary we get a definitely lethal poison, whereas the poison of Trump might only make us very sick.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            It’s really come down to this wonderful Republican branding:

            At least we’re not as bad as Hillary.

            Truly, I think I’m done with the subject other than what this means for the conservative movement. Trust me, you won’t like my thoughts.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              The GOP is better than merely “not as bad as Hillary”. Unfortunately, that’s all one can say for Trump. But he isn’t the whole party.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Does anyone really know now what the Republican Party stands for or even what conservatives stand for? Okay…blog post coming if I can get the customers to cooperate.

  17. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A couple of anti-Trump articles worth reading:

    The Sins of the Elite Don’t Excuse the Sins of the People by David French

    To Dump Trump, Republicans Should Withhold Their Cash by George Will

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