OK, in honor of the politics of 2016, I’ll start my entry today in a crass manner: Anyone who has previously questioned whether or not our entire culture is a floater in the toilet has since just thrown up their hands and accepted it by now.
I find it difficult to believe anyone witnessing the debacle of today’s politics and the morally bankrupt candidates we’ve selected to run for the highest office in the land to be emblematic of anything other than a complete reduction of all standards to the basest of levels.
So, I won’t really get into the contents of the Trump Video from 2005, and whether or not he’s said other disturbing things during the off-TV moments of The Apprentice. I mean, if we’re all being honest, does it actually really surprise anyone? It’s shocking and disgusting, but is there really anyone out there that didn’t already know the guy we’re talking about wasn’t an f-bomb dropper and more than willing to engage in the crudest of what has now been labeled “locker room talk?” (And, unfortunately having been a jock in my younger years, I can attest to the fact that he’s not wrong. Yes, the words are about what is legally assault, which is horrible, and is still plenty of what you might hear in a locker room on any given day. It’s not excusing it and it doesn’t speak well of anyone speaking that way, but it is reality.)
I won’t list the litany of counter-examples of Hillary being a completely disgusting human being in her own right, by dropping every curse word in the book at those charged to protect her, in talking about the American flag, in talking about mentally disabled children. Again, if anyone is really honest does any of this really surprise us? It’s always shocking to actually read and hear, but we long accepted that our two nominees are morally bankrupt human beings.
Mainly, the whole thing is just sad. As a coworker of mine phrased it, “I think we all can agree that this whole thing is just one big garbage fire.” He will vote Hillary. I will vote Trump. But on that statement, we have agreement. And neither of us will vote for our selected candidates because we like them. We just dislike the other one more.
I have written of my intent to vote Trump, and I have stated that, in my opinion, it is the clear moral choice to vote Trump. I do not retract these words, I still feel strongly about that, and I will have no issue with voting Trump. None of that means I like the man, and none of that means that I don’t wish I had another reasonable option. The fact is, there is no viable alternative for me. Even if I embraced the fantasy that voting for the next best viable option (Gary Johnson) I cannot do it anyway, because on the issues where I am hopeful that Trump will actually handle correctly Gary Johnson is as bad – if not worse – than Hillary. Even the fourth best option, Jill Stein, is left of left on moral and cultural issues. In order to find any person that remotely appeases my conscience I need to find someone that 99.99% of the population has not even heard of. And that means it is an utterly wasted vote. No, I need to settle on Trump. I don’t think I even need to point out why it can never be Hillary, but briefly stated: she’s every bit as morally bankrupt (and I even think more so) than Trump is. And even if some disagree with me on that, it’s like arguing whether the mold on the side of the cheese is more edible than the mold on the top of the cheese. So, we’ve long moved past the character issue as something us Christians can rely on. I don’t say this glibly. It really sucks to not be able to respect either candidate in any way. But that’s the reality we’re in. So, I simply need to find any light I can to separate the two of them. And in the end, there was one question at the second debate that provides that separation. When questioned on the Supreme Court Appointments, Clinton proudly said she would appoint justices that upheld Roe vs. Wade, Marriage Equality, and a litany of other litmus tests. She even claimed Trump would appoint justices that would not uphold these rulings (which she presented negatively). Trump did not argue with her, and instead doubled down on appointing justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia.
Now, many have claimed that Trump is liberal on social issues and is not a “real” pro-lifer. And it’s true he doesn’t often openly address the issue if not asked about it. He has responded in a pro-life manner when asked, and I agree that it’s a bit iffy just how committed to the cause he personally is. But here’s the thing: even if the impetus for appointing justices in the mold of Scalia are because of 2nd Amendment Rights, Freedom of Speech, etc. then the byproduct of that is that those justices are FAR MORE likely to also favor freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and challenge Roe vs. Wade, among other things. They will be FAR MORE willing to rule in favor of state’s rights than to allow federal government infringement when unnecessary.
If there is no other issue that separates them, this is still a clear moral choice. Perhaps not with respect to the person, but with respect to how that person will govern.
As I have stated elsewhere, “I know with certainty the evil the one will do. I hope with uncertainty the good that the other will do. And to me, that makes it an obvious choice.”
Really, I can’t say it enough: This election sucks.
If Charlie Johnson is correct about things to come, the whole thing actually doesn’t even matter. But I still feel called to fight and care anyway. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it, but I think it behooves us all to fight the fight until there is no more fight to win or lose, either way.
Us Catholics – and all Christians – seem to be in a bit of a tight spot be being forced to support a guy who has said the things he’s said. I don’t think we need to feel that way if we keep our wits about us. There really can be nobody of any repute that can call us hypocritical of voting for Trump. Anyone who claims that is being disingenuous. I think the balancing act we need to work out is making it clear why we “support” him, and also making it clear why we’re not necessarily thrilled with it. There is no reason to defend his wrongdoings, and yet we can also support his election based on everything I wrote about here. Also, it’s important to note that regardless of what happens, we ultimately must accept that God’s plan is playing itself out. God’s plan may seem either obvious or utterly ridiculous, but we really have nobody to blame but ourselves for Him doing what He needs to do. Had we stood up against the cultural rot we’re soaking in long ago, we wouldn’t have the choice between these two candidates, who are not just flawed but grossly so.
One wonders, though… if THIS is the Year of Mercy, what in the world is in store for us when the year ends on November 20? Egad.