Tuesday, October 11, 2016
[The following is a rare excursion into the current political mess here in the United States where I am living. To those of you in other countries, pray for us in this hour. It is posted because every significant choice in life must be considered in light of morality and conscience as informed by our Faith.]
“Leadership” is a word misused today. When it is applied to elected representatives simply by virtue of their election, its use is downright contrary to the American democratic idea of representation as a public service. It is obvious that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton can be leaders, and that neither ever will be. Neither is a fit role model for children. Neither one is impressive on a moral level. Indeed, the polls show, among many details, that most people who have decided to vote for one of them is doing so mainly to vote against the other. No leadership there. Bernie Sanders was once a leader, but he has lost his followers because he sold out to the very Wall Street power (personified in Hillary Clinton) that he had campaigned against. President Reagan was a leader, not because he was the President, but because his ideas appealed to many people, and because he inspired hope, and was an impressive person. But Trump and Clinton are so flawed that neither can be a leader. This brings us to the only reasons remaining for voters if they are weighing the choice between the two major party candidates: Policies and appointments.
Dr. Wayne Grudem has withdrawn his endorsement of Donald Trump, and I believe that endorsement was overstated. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is a “morally good” choice. But, the first part of Dr. Grudem’s argument was perfectly reasonable, that is, that we will have to live with the policies and appointments of one or the other. I know that if Hillary Clinton becomes President that the courts, including the Supreme Court, will be packed with judges and justices who radically stand for things that I very much oppose; and that I may not, in fact, be allowed to live freely without actual persecution by the government on matters concerning which I will not violate my conscience or the Canon Law of my church (which two things happen to be in perfect agreement). If she becomes President then more innocent blood will be shed, not just through abortion, but in the Middle East and in Africa. Very possibly, almost probably, her gung ho saber rattling against Russia will lead NATO aggression into the “Dr. Strangelove” scenario, nuclear war from which almost no one survives of any species save cockroaches. Her appointees to the departments will not be qualified and experienced, but simple political cronies (remember, this is the person who put forth Janet Reno – need I say more?).
Trump could be better only if he surrounds himself with somewhat-to-very wise counsel such as appears to be the case now, if he appoints the people he has promised to appoint, actually does make peace with Russia, actually defeats ISIS instead of our current foreign policy of supporting them and pretending to believe in a three-sided war, and (or but) also continues to no longer believe in some of the craziest and unjust things he was saying last year, e.g. “taking out” the families of terrorists, reinstating torture, etc. However, he appears to be unpredictable and impulsive in things he has said. As to what he would do no one can be sure.
A third debate is scheduled. In that debate will the promised appointments and policies be what is on most minds? Will those things be the focus? If it is about those two persons, then, no matter who wins, we all lose, and so does the world. It’s a shame, because the real issues are heavier than ever before in history.