As I watched the footage of Donald Trump screaming “Get them out of here! Get them out of here!” and “Try not to hurt him – but if you do I’ll defend you in court,” I had this image of Jesus standing in the center of the crowd, trying to calm the hatred, just falling to his knees as a great shouted heart-cry arose from him.
This is not what I died for!
Rachel Maddow’s backdrop to her coverage of violence in the Trump campaign sported a picture of a Trump in full bombast, underlined with “De-Nomination.” Rachel sees Trump as a fascist, and drew parallels with the behavior of his followers and those of Hitler. Indeed, one of those caught on film pushing a black attendee at a Trump rally proudly proclaimed his affiliation with a white supremacist group. Maddow believes that through his incitement of violence Trump is disqualifying himself for nomination to be the leader of a free nation.
I see this as being a far more complex phenomenon, recognizing that the anti-Trump media has tended to feed the paranoia by casting his off-the-cuff comments in the least charitable light. Trump’s retort to Megan Kelly that “blood [was] coming from…wherever” was probably an unfinished reference to her nose or mouth, not her vagina.
My own visceral reaction to Trump comes from another source. After I finished playing with electrons and muons, I left particle physics because I realized that it would never have practical applications. It wouldn’t create jobs for the people that need them most. My first “real” job involved rescuing a project built by technologists to monitor waste discharges from a facility that employed 10,000 people. The system was required by the local treatment facility because prior discharges had disrupted their operations. Working eighteen hour days under enormous pressure, I brought the system under control, investigated patterns of radiation releases that violated the terms of our discharge license, and participated in tours to calm public fears. I protected those jobs.
After leaving government employment, I began work as a software developer. In my three major engagements, I worked in companies run by people who hated government, seeing it as merely an impediment to job creation. But the ethic of their operations was shocking to me. The organizations were dominated by fear – fear largely originating from the realization that the software used to control the expensive machines they built was so incomprehensible that engineers could no longer configure the installations. In each case, I refactored the code, fixing bugs and adding features as I went. I saved jobs.
The response in every case was to beat me down, because I exposed the fact that, at root, it was the behaviors of executives that made it impossible to achieve success. It was the lies and anger managers projected at their employees that destroyed their capacity to think. I came in and restructured those relationships, building a core of rationality and blame-free problem solving that enabled people to grasp at hope. I ministered to my peers as a Christian, and that terrified those that terrified them.
So this is what I see when I see Trump: a screaming blaggart who builds casinos designed to take advantage of people of weak will, and exclusive communities that protect the rich from rubbing elbows with the poor. I see a destroyer of families and social cohesion, and a diverter of energy that could be employed to heal the infirm and sustain the poor.
In Daniel’s Dream of the Four Beasts [Dan. 7], Daniel sees the coming of “the Ancient of Days” on a “flaming throne” with “wheels of fire.” This is the imagery that accompanies Apollo, god of the sun, in Greek religion. Daniel sees the fourth beast being consumed by flame, even as the last of its horns continues with its “boastful words.” So we have Trump, distracting us with his boasting (“When I’m elected, we’ll win so much that you get tired of winning.”) from the necessary work of healing the world of the mess we’ve made of it, and most specifically the effects of global warming.
I think that Rachel had the wrong word on her backdrop last night. I think that it should have been “Domination,” that great enemy of Christian truth and freedom that seeks to force others to comply with its will. As foretold in Daniel, the fiery destruction of domination is an unfortunate prerequisite to the coming of the Age of Christ. As Jesus suffers the “birthing pains” of His return, try not to be taken in by the enemy’s vainglorious self-promotion.