The problem with Trump is that he doesn’t live in a world where he can see a woman in a hijab, shepherding her children onto the school bus and think to himself, “hey that family shares my hopes and dreams.” The problem with our country, is that 30% of the people want to live in Trump’s world. It’s a world where language is used to hurt, not heal, where might makes right, and where public service has been forgotten. It is the land of a people who desire a king (1 Samuel Chapter 8) and a man who says, “I’m smart enough for the job.”
The framers of the American Constitution labored to design a system which would resist being co-opted by self-centered, populist, king hopefuls. They divided the authority of the federal government so that the judicial branch would keep us progressing towards higher standards of justice and equality (the replacement of slavery by civil rights required a hundred of judicial action), a congressional branch would serve the common good and the concerns of those who work for a living, and the executive branch that would represent us gracefully in the world. This model proved so innovative that most countries have adopted it, and many are now surpassing the United States in providing equal rights to their citizens and prosperity for their middle class.
Our two party system is not mentioned in the constitution. It is instead, one of those complicated add-ons that by and large serves the intentions of the founding fathers. A similar thing could be said about church denominations and the religion that Jesus designed. People who desire to be King, challenge the political process from time to time. One can look with trembling at Germany in the 1930s. I watched the movie Trumbo this past week, which portrayed the mess created by Senator Joe McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt, and realized that equally passionate craziness can be found in the anti-muslim rhetoric of the leading Republican candidates. But, to find someone who matches Trump in his dangerous personal charisma, you have to go back to the 1890s and look at the Democrat, William Jennings Bryan. Fortunately, the system beat him twice in his run for the presidency.
In the church, we look for a non-anxious presence, or an interim minister, to heal things when they get this dysfunctional. Perhaps, cooler heads will prevail as an inconclusive primary season leads to a brokered convention in Cleveland. Anybody for printing some Romney/Ryan 2016 t-shirts?