Remember days of old when the internet was a somewhat neutral place for surfing and finding pertinent information? Rather than the current hostile bedsore infection of hate, irrational and unfiltered opinions, judgment, and more hate.
Walk down memory lane when Myspace a place to find friends, discover new bands, and discuss our favorite things. Facebook a happy and sterile place to share latest birth announcements, occasional funny cat videos, and catch up with old friends. Twitter a vital place for finding important news links and helpful articles.
Maybe I sound like my parents lamenting a version of their upbringing akin to Happy Days and Mayberry. That world never existed, by the way. I digress.
But what happened? A good technological tool fostering relationships online (as limited as this can be), now a cesspool of venom and malice. A digital platform where sin allowed to run free and never contested. Maybe my memory is foggy, and maybe my parents were right, but I recall a semblance of cultural decency and niceness. Times when people shook hands, kept their word, and waved at neighbors when they drove by.
I’m not suggesting the sin-gene nonexistent for a brief blip in 50’s and 60’s suburbia. Happy Days and Mayberry were never a thing. Yet, I recall a time when strangers cared about their neighbors, simply because they were neighbors. People supported the President, simply because they were President (regardless of political affiliation).
There was a time, not too long ago, when we didn’t live in multimedia cocoons and bubbles only leaving to get food to fuel another Netflix binge. We took part in bowling leagues, charitable causes, churches, civic committees, and gave leadership to causes we felt helped our neighbors in tangible ways.
We’ve succumbed to the Holy Trinity of Me, Myself, and I. Not considering how our speech, actions, and daily choices affect our neighbors. Even in online spaces.
I find it fascinating and simultaneously heartbreaking as armchair sociologist, and curious human, our approach to differing viewpoints. Our propensity to leap before we listen. Assume, before we hear all sides. Judge and put people in boxes before a relationship established.
When people with opposing opinions and world-views on morality, religion, or politics voiced in the public square. The chances of being verbally beaten and bullied are high, to very high, on a scale I just made up.
For the those playing at home, and regardless of which side of the aisle you have planted your flag, President Trump has made things interesting. Ramped up the venom into hyper drive on the inter-webs. A President with a happy-Twitter-trigger finger. Tweets about his sheer awesomeness, degradation of woman, minorities, and incompetent world leaders. Not to mention his delusional tweets about how many things he’s getting done. Oh yeah, and remember how I had the highest attendance for the inauguration, way more than Obama. Enough already.
Most people who have known Trump from interviews, reality TV, ugly divorces, or business dealings in New York, aren't surprised with his shenanigans. It’s Trump being Trump. When you’re a narcissist for forty years in the business world. That doesn’t magically change when you enter public office.
My statements about Trump aren't meant to be derogatory. I’m only reporting what I see from my limited vantage point. Information available to the public with eyes to see. I hope Trump is a great husband, father, and finds the wisdom, and humility to serve the American people well. So far… time will tell.
As a Christian, I’m called to pray for Trump daily, and all of our public servants, regardless of their moral resume, faith, or competence.
But my comments about the viciousness I see on the internet and Trump providing daily fuel for the fire. Has a point and purpose.
I believe Trump is good for America. *Pause for the gasps.
Trump reveals who we are. What we’ve always been. I don’t think Mayberry ever existed and Happy Days was a subversive title of a TV show describing a universe only in our heads.
That’s not a political statement, and not, a way of picking sides. And if you think the Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days are the ideal version of our country, and I’ve offended you, I’m sorry.
I’m not concerned with Trump supporters or haters. I care about the gift Trump is to our nation. Maybe even the world for those who might be intrigued by the political insanity we witness on a daily basis.
The strange haired man is good for the soul of America. He’s a revelatory force in what lies underneath the surface of daily shopping, parenting, and work. The chaos in the current political climate, shows what the heart longs for, and where our affections and dreams lie.
I understand the need for comment when we hear flippant and insensitive comments about minorities, women, and other humans. We shouldn’t let the President or the UPS guy get away with such insensitivity.
But why are we so mad? Why is the internet riddled with bloodied and wounded people swimming in the hellish vortex of comment sections? Why are family and friends picking sides and raising protest with every Trump tweet and stupid policy change? What does this reveal?
Take Trump out of the equation and replace it with Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Regan, Carter, Lincoln, or Washington. Maybe insert opinion on religion, morality, justice issues, or favorite causes.
When we see the world not working and gasping for air why are we outraged? Why blame the man in charge? Has the President made that much difference and change in the world? Really?
Why the hate, division, and venom spewing from our mouths and pores? When did American democracy become the Savior of the world? It never has been, and never will be. Something deeper and more significant is going on under the surface. It’s good when guys like Trump are in office. It reveals where our hopes and dreams lie.
Trump is good for America because it shows the cracks in the American Dream. Not the part of the Dream that allows for all peoples regardless of religion or ethnicity opportunity to have a decent life, make a decent wage, and not live under oppressive political regimes in other countries.
The part of the Dream that allows for freedom of religion, speech, and choosing where to live. A beautiful gift to Americans. How about a democratic system, when its working, not allowing for dictators, and has built in check and balances, at least it should? All good gifts for the people of the USA.
But Trump and the state of our country with mass shootings seemingly every day, police brutality, and harmful comments… in comments sections on YouTube, websites, and your blog… reveals deeper cracks in the foundations of the Dream. It reveals what the human soul and heart are truly like.
When Jesus diagnosed the problem of the heart and where all our dysfunction lies. He said it was from within we find the disease. It’s not what goes on in the world, politics, or our family upbringing. The heart is where anger, immorality, rage, and murder come from. Our external circumstance merely exasperate what’s already brewing in the soul.
Trump and the failure of the Dream and the anger on the internet reveals a longing for home. We see a world walking with a limp and leaking oil, but it’s always been off, because humans screwed it up. We don’t like to admit it. Much easier to shift blame to the President, local government, institutions, or our upbringing. None of these are off the hook.
But no one wants to admit we’re the problem. No one forces us to comment on Facebook, and say hurtful things to family, friends, neighbors, and stalkers on the internet. That’s on us. Me and you.
Not a problem when situations require a prophetic voice. Unfortunately everyone appears to be a prophet.
But as long as humans roam the earth. We will have issues. Let’s be honest. We aren’t generous, and we aren’t charitable, and on our best days, we only think about #1.
People say they care about immigrants, healthcare, racial equality, and tax reform for the benefit of others. Do we really?
You only care about you, your benefits, your family, your freedom, and your money. I do to…
Let’s be honest. You don’t care about your neighbor who can’t get health care. As long as you get yours. Would you give up your benefits for someone who might need it a little more?
Not a political statement. A flawed soul and human statement. People find it easier to shout and yell but never become a solution to problems. They complain about the violence and poverty in our inner-cities but do they know a person who lives there? And would they ever dare move the family to the “hood,” to serve and love their neighbors?
We talk about our hatred of abortion yet won’t take the time to befriend a pregnant mom who doesn’t know her options. We like to make the abortion issue simple and obvious. Not considering the complexity of urban poverty and people not having access to birth control. We’d rather make it a political issue rather than a human flourishing issue.
It’s easier to cast stones, then get involved. Easier to spew hate, then have someone around your table, and getting to know your neighbor.
Trump is good for America because it reveals our home is not here. Can’t be. Our longings for justice and perfection and rights and healthcare and living without fear of being shot in the head should make us pause. Why do we care? What are driving these common longings, desires, and wants?
The echo of God? If the universe is all we have, which many believe, then why don’t we see the change we so desperately want? With the smartest, most talented, and educated people on the planet… why are prisons so full, racism still alive, hate and division and abuse everyday news, and relational fracture the air we breathe? Why can’t we seem to figure it out?
In my opinion, we can’t, and won’t. Humans are the problem. As long as humans are here, we can never achieve utopia on earth. There will always be another racist, bigoted, and hate filled person. Poverty can’t be eradicated without money and care from people. There will always be people who hoard and don’t share.
Trump is good for America because there have to be solutions better suited than politics. Resources which last beyond time and space.
If we pause… there must be something beckoning and calling us to something more beautiful. But it can’t be here because we’ve never seen it. No matter what your parents say about the good old days.
Trump is good because maybe it will cause us to slow down, evaluate, and see the cracks in the foundation for ourselves. No amount of comfort, money, possessions, and power, can satisfy the human soul. Ask anyone whose had some. Never as good as advertised. No amount of success, fame, and notoriety will ever soothe the restless heart. Ask the pop culture icons dropping like flies because of suicide. Fame has a shelf life.
C. S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity what our desires teach us:
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Trump is good for America because it reveals we just might be created for another world. When things get dark and appear no hope in sight. We must ask these hard questions.
When our desires and longings never seem to be satisfied with what I can see, taste, and touch. We must ask bigger questions about home.
Questions of hope and salvation and eternal realities.
Thanks Trump for at least starting the conversation.