Monday, January 15, 2018

Why You Won't Hear Me Posting About Donald J. Trump Any Longer

I am completely disturbed by many of the words and actions of President Donald J. Trump. And I am not going to tweet, post on Facebook, or blog about him anymore.

I am not going quiet on social media because of my lack of resolve to stand against policies, words, and actions I find contrary to my understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am committed to working against these things which I feel are harming the country I live in and am grateful to live in. Rather, I'm going to quit using social media to speak against Trump for a number of reasons.

But first let me say that I do not think Donald J. Trump is unintelligent. He may be impulsive, but I think he knows the power of words and uses them very calculatingly. He knows his base will excuse his vulgarities -- especially when those opposed to him clamor against his vulgarities and nasty talk. He knows that I and others like me will be offended. And I believe he hopes we will speak out so that when we do his supporters will speak out against us and defend him. He can thereby drive a deeper wedge between the peoples of the United States.  I do not believe that he is interested in advancing a culture of care and respect and unification of the people of this country. I do believe he is interested only in his own agenda and views.

No politician is perfect. Presidents Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, Kennedy, Lincoln, Washington et al had their faults. Yet I believe they all acted in what they thought were the best interests of our country as a whole. I do not feel that way about the current occupant of the White House.  I think he is cold and calculating and knows exactly what he is doing -- consequences be damned.

It is precisely because I feel this way that I have to remove any discourse about this from my social media postings.  Here's why.

I am trying, and often failing, to be a Christian. As such, I am trying to hold two scripture passages in my mind and heart as I endeavor to grow more Christlike. One is from Galatians 5 -- "... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." The other is Micah 6:8 -- "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." I am finding that I cannot exhibit "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" or "walk humbly with God" when I tweet, Facebook, or blog about Trump. My words betray those biblical principles.

I am trying , and often failing, to live up to my Quaker faith which urges me to seek that of God in all people and to live at peace with all. When I post on social media, I find that I too easily get caught up in the rhetoric and fall into bombast myself. Likewise, one of the reasons that I am a Quaker is because much of what it calls me to is against my nature. I am not a peaceful person. I love a good argument. I enjoy dismantling by my (imagined) intellectual powers those who oppose my values. Which includes Donald J. Trump. Such actions on my part are not consistent with my trying to live my faith. And so I must stop. It's harming my soul.

Others, and I am glad for this, can use social media to oppose without becoming mean and low. They can retain the high moral ground in their words and intentions. So I shall leave them to this worthy work.  I, on the other hand, will try to post things -- in addition to my usual silliness which I need to refresh my spirits -- that are aimed toward "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." I shall try to post what I am for -- not what I am against.

So, as a start, let me say some of the things that I am for:
  • a country and government that respects all people regardless of ethnicity, gender-identification, sexual orientation, religion (or choosing to have no religion), and so forth.
  • an administration and government that exists to serve all under their care and which recognize that diversity of color, lifestyle, opinion, religion, and more enrich our country.
  • a nation that guarantees and equally protects the rights of all its residents -- again regardless of ethnicity, gender-identification, sexual orientation, religion (or choosing to have no religion), and so forth.
  • a country that emphasizes peace in its actions and spending.
  • a nation that works to ensure that all its residents have the best healthcare, education, housing, worthy work, and food possible. I don't just mean "access to" -- I mean, have these things -- regardless of ethnicity, gender-identification, sexual orientation, religion (or choosing to have no religion), and so forth.
  • a government that encourages civil discourse and acts and speaks with care and respect.
  • civil discourse among peoples of differing views so we can learn from each other.
  • a country that is known for its mercy and justice toward all peoples everywhere.
I am for these things as a person of faith.

Do not think that while I will not be posting against Donald J. Trump's vulgarity in word or deed, that I am accepting them. I will be happy to have personal conversations about these things -- so long as we can talk civilly. And I will be stepping up my direct contact via email and postal mail with the office of the presidency and my elected officials. I will be endeavoring to speak, even in those communications, about what I am for more than what I am against. I need to do that for my own spirit's sake and to ensure that I remain humble and exhibit (as best I am able) love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

These feel like times that are fraught with peril. They are also times that are filled with possibility. For those of you who are able to use social media wisely and well in facing the dangers around us -- blessings on you. May God bless us -- every one.


Daniel Wilcox said...

Bill, Thank You! Such wise words. Yes, let us focus on the ocean of light--the true, the good, the just, not wrangle with the never-ending political debacle.

I am most of the way through The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, and just finished several books on Alexander Hamilton, etc. What struck me in each case was the extreme negativity of opposing parties and candidates in politics throughout U.S. history.

How much more we could do working together rather than arguing.

Joe said...

Well said, Brent. One more reason not to post about Trump is that he knows well the truth spoken by P.T. Barnum: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Brent Bill said...

Thanks, Daniel and Joe for your comments! Greatly appreciated.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your perspective. I don't believe we are to stay neutral when faced with leadership that directly opposes our values, however I have found it very difficult to defend without becoming defensive and judge without becoming judgmental. You have put words to my struggles and have helped clarify the path ahead.