LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Over the course of this year, I have written a series of letters, addressed to ‘values voters’, which some people might interpret as attacks. Allow me to explain what I have been doing.
I do not believe myself to be in conflict with conservative values. For instance, one of Webster’s definitions of conservative is: ‘not prone to excess; cautious; moderate’. This is a compliment. Another definition says, ‘views proposals for change critically and usually with distrust’. This sort of conservative behavior (particularly the distrustful part) is not always helpful, but we DO generally need it—critical thinking is always useful.
Webster is equally complimentary of the term ‘liberal’; among the synonyms listed are ‘generous’ and ‘openhanded’. Over two hundred years ago, at the time of the founding fathers, the opposite of ‘liberal’ was NOT ‘conservative’, but was rather the term ‘illiberal’—which basically meant ‘selfish’!
The point is, this country needs both liberals and conservatives. Liberals are needed to drive change when it is needed; conservatives are needed to critically examine those changes, and to preserve what needs to be preserved.
Christ’s commands to ‘Love thy enemy’ and ‘Do unto others’ are examples of good conservative values. They are also examples of good liberal values. In other words, liberals and conservatives should be able to attend the same church!
Unfortunately, what is going on in the country right now is neither liberal nor conservative. In fact, it isn’t even a matter of politics, but of right and wrong.
For instance: GOP presidential nominees, John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan all told white supremacists, ‘I don’t want you in my campaign, and I don’t even want your vote!’ Donald Trump, on the other hand, initially referred to them as ‘very fine people’ after the riot in Charlottesville.
Donald Trump, on live TV, asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton. I am not going to speculate about what else he might have done, but even if this request was all that he did, it was terribly wrong. Ronald Reagan would NEVER have done this. In fact, every deceased Cold War president must have spun in his grave at the moment that Trump did this.
Later, as president, also on live TV, Trump confessed to obstruction of justice. He said that he fired James Comey because he didn’t want him investigating Michael Flynn or Russia, and this is the textbook definition of obstruction of justice.
It shouldn’t matter whether you are liberal or conservative—all of the above actions are terribly wrong.
Worst of all is how Trump has promoted a culture of rage, which seemed to culminate this week in a disturbed individual’s mailing bombs to people (and an entire news organization) whom Trump has railed against on Twitter and at his rallies.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that liberals haven’t gotten excessively angry, too. Brett Kavanaugh was sent death-threats (presumably) by liberals, and, regardless of what Kavanaugh may or may not have done in high school, such threats were shameful. Yet I believe that Trump is the person most responsible for stoking this country’s fury.
Donald Trump thrives on rage. He incites crowds to chant ‘Lock her up’ about Hillary Clinton two years after the election, when she is irrelevant and will probably never hold any kind of office again. Most recently, one of his crowds shouted ‘Lock him up’ about liberal donor George Soros (who also received a bomb this week), and this should be offensive to everyone whether or not they agree with Soros—because it is un-American to want to lock someone up simply because you disagree with them. In fact, the idea of locking someone up because you don’t like them is a characteristic of the very kind of ‘mob behavior’ of which Trump is accusing democrats.
Trump’s behavior is getting out of hand. No president, either Republican or Democrat, has ever behaved like this. I would remind loyal ‘values voting’ Republicans that the only major political figure who came close to Trump’s behavior was George Wallace (who was a segregationist democrat!). This is not a matter of politics, but of simple right and wrong.
In closing, I would like to ask ‘values voters’ to recall First Corinthians (which Trump might refer to as One Corinthians): ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.’ And now that you have thought of these wonderful words of the Apostle Paul, watch footage of Trump at one of his rallies.
How is Donald Trump not the opposite of Paul’s definition of love?
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