Peter Wehner, a political throat-cutter masquerading as a journalist placed a pithy column on the page of the New York Times on March 1st. Right in time for “Super Tuesday”, he titled his screech “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?” Below the headline is an image of Donald Trump with his head bowed in prayer. A pastor of a church in Council Bluffs, Iowa is providing a holistic prayer complete with what is known as “laying on of hands”.
Mr. Wehner chose his convoluted title based on a religio-cultural phenomenon of the 1990’s which challenged Christians with a simple thought. “What would Jesus do?” The thought was part moral imperative and part milk of human kindness. The acronym, WWJD, found its way onto bracelets and wristbands which were sported like fashion statements. On the low end, it is estimated that fifteen million bracelets were sold. Naturally, knowing that Jesus would want all of us to spend our money on trinkets, enterprising individuals also hawked WWJD pens and pencils, and travel mugs. Good time had by all!
So “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?” Well, for starters, my guess is that he would not stand in judgment of Donald Trump. By the third paragraph of his commentary Mr. Wehner has the winds in his sails and launches forth with a discourse on Mr. Trumps seven deadly sins: * adultery *bullying *arrogance *gambling *sexual vice *being double-minded and * narcissism. He then preaches that we must prize politicians who have “integrity, compassion and reasoned convictions, wisdom and prudence, trustworthiness, a commitment to the moral good”. Of course, to find such a Republican politician would be as likely as finding a virgin ensconced in Mr. Trump’s “strip club”.
The Republican Party machine now has its emotional incontinence on full display. Last week, if it wasn’t Ted Cruz going full commando against Donald Trump, it was Marco Rubio doing his best “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” imitation. The poor man acted like he was in a manic phase. His assaultive giddiness was hard to fathom. There are medications for such behavior….
The disavowed Mr. Trump of July 2015 is now the winner-take-all coming off the Super Tuesday primaries. The Lollipop kids, Cruz and Rubio, weren’t in a fight against a man. But they were in a fight against a movement. And the fight was also against the math. The math never lies. Cruz and Rubio were working with basic addition. Trump was working the tables with multiplication. Not only is Donald Trump capturing the Republican vote. He is also capturing the imagination of the American people. Democrats and Independents are turning out to vote for him in Benedict Arnold style.
Treason! Treason! It is the sound being heard from the brackish waters of the GOP camp. And yet within our act of “treason” we envision moments of great truth. Donald Trump has stated he is a “truth teller”. And the truths he speaks are self-evident to those of us who are the beasts of burden otherwise known as the middle class. We have suffered immensely since the end of the Bush era. Our suffering has been compounded by the current administration. And when talking of the Christian faith there is a foundational value which is driving our anger. Our children are being reduced to units of labor relegated into an expanding lower socioeconomic class.
Within the Christian tradition is the concept of generational blessing. This thought is brought down to the granular level in the words expressed in Proverbs 13:22: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” We don’t want things handed to us. We want our self-respect. We do not support a structure where all sustenance comes via suckling from the state teat. We are Americans. We want to (and do) work hard. Sweat on the brow is the means to establish our birth right. But we want our work to lay up treasure for our grandchildren.
We despise the crony capitalism and deeply embedded self-interest which has seeped into both Houses of Congress. We have become deeply resentful that our nation is essentially reduced to a one-party system. To vote for a Democrat is no different than casting a vote for a Republican. Lip service is given to Mr. Wehner’s golden list of qualities. All claim to be invested with “integrity, compassion and reasoned convictions, wisdom and prudence, trustworthiness, a commitment to the moral good”. But the claims are mere fool’s gold. We know the truth. And we will no longer accept the lies.
Here is the bottom line. We no longer trust the system to work on our behalf. And we want an outsider. We want a man like Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump gave a magnificent speech on Tuesday night. He spoke of a forgotten middle class. He talked about corporate inversion and trade deficits. He promised to do something about our aging infrastructure (roads, bridges and airports). He has his eye on a flawed educational model known as Common Core and he promises to dismantle this rattling skeleton down to the last metatarsal. He will strengthen our military infrastructure. A workable and affordable healthcare model awaits us. And the middle class will receive some tax relief. These are things we can put our teeth into. The things of which he speaks have substance.
Forget “What wouldn’t Jesus do?” The correct question is thus: What is the GOP willing to do to make things right with the voters? Up to this point, all I can see ahead for the GOP is a big squall coming their way. Donald Trump will continue to take the nation by storm. We have tied our flag to the rebel’s mast. The storm will not be abated until the political debris is removed, and the landscape washed clean again by this momentous wave of political water.