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Have Progressives Made Trump God?

Have Progressives Made Trump God?
We live in times of heightened emotion. Enmeshed in digital media and captured by our “always-on” culture, it’s hard to unplug. The bare-knuckle fights of politicos and pundits come straight to our phone.

The moment we inhabit exhilarates us with the adrenaline of combat. It wears us down with the relentlessness of total war. Our society is tearing itself apart, and there seems no alternative but to choose a side and dedicate ourselves to fighting for it.

We have, as a society, been captured by spectacle. Reality TV has exited the screen and come to inhabit our daily lives. We are drawn into a dizzying world of celebrity drama and cultural transgression. We are warned of the groups that we should fear and despise, and encouraged to stay tuned for the next episode when the enemy camp will be humiliated and exposed for the hypocrites and evildoers that they are.

In this cultural hurricane that we now inhabit, personalities reign supreme. We are united around the people we hate. The right is united by deep hatred for people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The left is united around total disgust for Donald Trump, above all, and secondarily Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.

Donald Trump has become the center of this vortex. He has become the writhing center of our nation. This is true not only for those who vehemently support him and his white supremacist rhetoric, but perhaps especially for the millions of Americans who reject him in the most furious terms possible. Resistance to Trump has helped make him the energetic center of American life.

One of the most disturbing things about the rise of Trump is the way that he has colonized our minds. Most of us can’t get through the day without thinking about him. Regardless of what visceral rejection his image  may provoke, Donald Trump has become the focus of our consciousness. Many think about him more often than they think about loved ones. Many of us who consider ourselves “religious” turn our minds to Donald Trump more often than we do to God.

There is a spiritual principle at work here. We choose the things that lie at the center of our reality. Love is not the only power that is capable of centering us in this way. Hatred is a powerful religious force. It is able to create gods that define our lives. The terrible irony is that, the more we hate anyone, the more we place that relationship of hatred at the heart of our lives. Through our fury at Donald Trump and his violent, racist agenda, we actually lend him more power.

I’m reminded of a scene from the movie, The Fifth Element. Humanity encounters an evil presence that intends to devour all life in the universe. Predictably, our response is to attempt to destroy the presence with nuclear weapons. But we learn that this is precisely what the presence of evil was counting on. Every time it is attacked, it grows and expands. After being attacked twice with larger nuclear salvoes, it grows much larger, destroys the attacking vessels, and begins a journey towards Earth, to destroy us all.

Attacking evil only makes it stronger. Battling hatred with hatred only produces more devastation. We learned this lesson from Jesus. Jesus says that we should not resist an evildoer, but instead to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile. It’s always been hard for me to accept these sayings by Jesus. How could it be that I should actually submit myself to evil?

What if Jesus is asking me not to submit to evil, but rather to de-center evil in my life? Could it be that, by resisting evil head on, I make it more powerful? By making the evil person the enemy, is it possible that I end up creating more evil? What does it look like to turn the other cheek in the face of real evil, the kind that God knows should be stopped in its tracks?

This is a live question for me, and I don’t have an easy answer. What does it look like to deny the racist, violent, life-destroying posture that Donald Trump embodies, while refusing to place that evil at the center of my life? What does it look like to love my enemies – including Donald?

What changes when I commit myself to seeking the restoration of all people, even those whose souls are twisted with hatred and selfishness? What happens when the love of God in Jesus becomes the center, and all the evil people of this world become mere satellites of that radiance?

Related Posts:

With So Much Fake Religion Out There, How Can I Find What’s Real?

Is Your “Justice” Really Just Revenge?

  • barbara.hrrsn@gmail.com

    The tactic you are looking for is subversion. Loving those around us may not be easy, and may not look like it is getting anywhere, but that is the only thing I can suggest at the moment.

  • I am Powerless over this situation! Thinking I somehow have a choice to come up with the good, right, effective reaction or respond in a gracious way out of my own experiences & resources is shaming! It heaps on burdens! I didn’t cause this situation in USA, I can’t cure it, I can’t control it. To be honest I am an existentially ruined person in an existentially ruined country & that’s not a bad thing I think. I am aware of being powerless so I don’t look for a human answer to fix things. In AA on the third step us alkies have to learn to turn it over to a loving God and leave it in his hands to inspire the solution to our problems. IMHO This works for everything that might otherwise inspire one to drink or use.

  • Francis Boyle

    We do not have any equivalent to Trump in the UK. But we do have a Conservative Party government who lost the last general election but managed to remain in power by a dubiously legal alliance with a religiously fundamentalist, ridiculously out-of-date and divisive minority party from Northern Ireland. This is not helped by their unavoidable incompetence and dissembling not just with the negotiations over our leaving the European Union but with the economy. A majority of the people in this country are absolutely fed up with them but are frustrated because there is no legal means, for the time being, to get rid of them. However, instead of letting ourselves get eaten up by simply despising this gang of Corporation dominated, privileged class, hang-onto-power-by-whatever-means-however-bad-we-are incompetents more and more people are joining the Labour Party which is lead by Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy would remind of you Bernie Sanders. A long-time serving politician of unimpeachable integrity and honesty who has a completely new, socialist vision of society. We have a long way to go but we are on the road to putting him and his colleagues into Government so that we have leaders who run the country for all of its citizens, as their slogan goes “For the many, not the few”. It’s not a question of ‘taking sides’ but of directing our energy towards what we know to be good and proper and using the Labour Party as a means of doing this. When people of colour (and their white supporters) joined the Civil Rights movement in your country they were not filling their minds with hate and frustration for the whites who oppressed them but moving forward under the banner of “Keep your eyes on the prize”.

  • MdeG

    Right, Friend. And another corollary: Just as we come to resemble those we love, we can also come to resemble those we hate. This is a resemblance I don’t care to take on! Leaning a good deal on Ps. 37 these days.

  • broschultz

    In the end it’s not about a political system or government. It’s about our hearts: Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flows the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23) How many relationships that were in the process of bonding through love have been destroyed by political differences?

  • Robert O. Robbins

    Excellently written post by Micah today asking a surprising question of: “Have Progressives Made Trump God?” To his question of “What does it look like to love my enemies – including Donald?” I would like to suggest to you, Micah, and to everyone else who has this question in their hearts to read Genie’s article I just posted on Espirational Faith (www.espirational.org) titled “About This Flag Thing.” It is showing how resistance to the spirit which seems to be in control over not only Donald Trump but most of the world in general can be done boldly, yet quietly, through everyday living as commanded by our Creator’s own inspired commandments.

    Both articles, Micah’s and Genie’s, are worth the time. Thanks for the article Micah.

  • Peter Dale

    I quote Thomas Merton: “Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed–but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”