Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, you remember “to boldly go where no man has gone before” and the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster, which is said to be a powerful year, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward, we are entering the era of Trump. We might be going where no one has gone before in electing a person who has not held elected office or high military command and who comports himself as never coming near the middle of the road. In my letter of 18 September (The Ego vs. Lady Macbeth), which was critically acclaimed (very critical) by a local news outlet, I mentioned that Mr. Trump doesn't think twice about turning the tables on his opponents and that he would expose the lies and vacuousness of the elite ruling class. I think I was right. True to form, he has demonstrated an uncanny ability, sometimes without even trying, to do just that.
It began with the Republican Primary when the other candidates feared Trump would go third-party rogue and decided to hem him in by making all the candidates sign a loyalty pledge promising to support the eventual Republican nominee. Well, you know what happened: Trump won and most of the candidates who signed the pledge reneged on their commitment, showing themselves to be not honorable people but rather politicians who are willing to do and say anything to get elected.
During the campaign Mr. Trump was fond of saying the system was rigged. He was generally ridiculed by others for that statement including President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Now look who is saying the election was rigged and by Russia, nonetheless! When candidate Trump said he would wait and see if he would accept the election results, he was soundly condemned for implying he would not accept a peaceful transition of power. Now look which side is refusing to accept the legitimacy of the election results.
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton tried to reset relations with Russia. And if you remember, during the 2012 campaign, when Mitt Romney said that Russia was our greatest geopolitical threat, Mr. Obama quipped, “the 1980’s are calling and asking for their foreign policy back.” Now ever since Mr. Trump said that we should try to find ways to work with Russia, Russia has become enemy number one for the Democrats. Not only that, but for decades, when conservatives complained about Russia spreading propaganda in the US to undermine our democracy, they were laughed out of the room. Since Russian propaganda has affected the Democrats, it is now true beyond any doubt. When Mr. Trump questioned the accuracy of Intelligence Reports about Russian interference, the same people who accused the Intelligence Department of lying about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and NSA spying now swear that the Intelligence agencies are absolutely infallible.
My favorite about-face is that when religious believers made claim to the right regarding conscientious objection for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding or paying for contraception coverage in insurance plans, we were told there was no such right to refuse cooperation on moral grounds. Now those who oppose Mr. Trump are claiming they will conscientiously object to his policies to the point of civil disobedience. Well, what a turn of events!
For some reason, Mr. Trump has a way of exposing the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of his opponents. It is akin to when a cold front and a warm front collide in the summer setting off powerful storms. So get ready for a lot of stormy political weather for a while. Maybe we are really in the Age of Aquarius, when all things will come to light!
In light of this track record, my hope is that what will also be exposed are the lies and distortions that have twisted people’s understanding of marriage, family, human life, human sexuality and the public expression of religious faith. It may be a bit bumpy getting there - so hold on tight and remember that God can use an imperfect vessel to shine light on the darkness.
I am being very optimistic right now. I might be right again, or I might still eat crow. Only time will tell.
Whatever the case let’s “Make America Holy Again”!
Fr. John B.