Dear The Donald:
Oh, Donald Trump. You have somehow single-handedly managed to fill up 24-hour news cycles by yourself for about 6 months now. Nobody has any idea what you are going to say next – even your advisors most of the time. It is hard to peg you down on any sort of substantial and legitimate policy decision, but I think we are getting a much clearer picture of who exactly you are on the inside every time your mouth opens. There is an old proverb, “better to keep your mouth closed and let them think you are foolish, than to open your mouth and prove them all right.” I think the same probably goes for most of your other character flaws – your white supremacist tendencies, your misogynistic idiosyncrasies, and your hateful rhetoric. But the temptation must be too great. You refuse to close your mouth, and you’ve been proving us right over and over again as you become more and more of a fear-mongering others-hater.
But I recently had an epiphany about you, The Donald. I realized that for all the ways we are different, you and me, we have a couple of things in common. Neither one of us thinks that America is all that great, and both of us long for something that never was.
You have managed to spin that America has fallen on hard times. With the aforementioned 24-hour news cycle squeezing a few minutes in to report on something other than your ego, you’ve seen along with the rest of our countrymen the violence that has long been a part of our world. Mind you, you are freaking out about the terror attacks in Paris and Orlando while large parts of the world have been freaking out for years about the death-by-drone-strike terrorism that has killed thousands upon thousands of brown people. Paris hurts because they were like you. Orlando stings because it was on our doorstep. The drones don’t hurt as much because they are a little more different, and a little further away.
But they hurt me, The Donald. And they are perpetuated by the country that I don’t think is all that great. See, when I became a Christian, I changed up my allegiances a little bit. The citizenship I care most about now is of another Kingdom, one where peace and justice reign – not the faux-Pax-Americana that passes for diplomacy today. My new King grants freedom that doesn’t impinge on brown and black people. He doesn’t require the rat-race of neo-liberalism that pits us all against one another as we hoard as much cheese as we can. He leads us into abundance, not scarcity, and out of the anxiety-riddled consumerism that consumes only us.
The best part about this new King, Mr. Drumpf, is that he takes off the blinders of nationalistic patriotism, and allows us a little bit more of a nuanced view of the world than the “Us versus Them” mentality that you purvey. See, your idea of “Us” is pretty small. It actually only includes a small percentage of the world, and is almost exclusively white and uneducated. And that leaves a pretty big “Them” for all of your folks to worry about.
I prefer to think of “Us” in much larger terms. It leaves a much smaller “Them” to be anxious about. You want to build walls, and I want to build a bigger table. Of course this is a threat to you, because your tiny little toenail hold on power and wealth might have to come to an end. But I prefer to live where we all have everything we need, rather than a few having everything they want.
We both have an insatiable yearning for something that never was, however, so maybe we can come back together. The Donald, you have a bizarre understanding of history, though, and that is going to present a problem for us. You want to Make America Great Again™, but I’m struggling to think back through the last few hundred years to ever find a time when it really was great. Was it during the genocide of Native Americans? Are you thinking of slavery? Perhaps it was when we became the only nation in the history of the world to drop a nuclear bomb on someone else? Do you long for when the top income tax bracket was around 90%? Or was it when we enacted the War on Drugs that has failed miserably at every single level? When exactly were you thinking about?
I have a deep longing for a time that has never been, too. But at least I can admit that fact. I long for the days when God’s people act like God’s people. When we follow his blueprint for making sure nobody starves, widows and orphans are well taken care of, and people are dealt with fairly, equitably, and proportionately. When the gap between the “already” and the “not yet” starts to close in on itself. When we see people as God sees them, rather than through the cross-hairs of a targeting reticule.
You want to stop ISIS? Try loving them. Try feeding the refugees and providing for their safety instead of accusing them of the same terror they are fleeing. You want to Make America Great Again? You’ll have to start by making America good again. That would be a Pax-Americana that I could get behind. But until then, I guess our similarity count will stay at two.