Trumpism, Not Donald Trump: Part I

I’m not a Politician

 I’ve been cautioned in my own spirit as a given rule not to write about anything political in nature. My reasons are manifold.  One has to do with the fact that I am not a political pundit, nor do I have a degree in political science, and neither do I sit around reading news articles all day for fun.  This of course led to my decisive resolve to simply heed the “stay in your lane bro” advice and talk about what I might know a thing or two about. You know, things such as talking about my cracked up American life in search of the Jesus missing in America and all that.  And this indeed could be sage advice.

On another note, I did have at least one friend that encouraged me to write about hot-button issues that people were actually interested in.  His analysis was that nobody really cared about what kind of day I was having, or about Jesus and the narrow path and all that.  I tried to tell him that though I’d love to be known for my writing, I really just want to write about what actually moves me, with the hopes that maybe that in itself would be enough to gather a few readers.  With that being said, and with much trepidation, I took his advice a couple of times after writing “The Light in Christendom is But a Flicker Now” parts 1 and 2, when I wrote one blog in particular entitled: “Trump vs. Everyfrickingbody: Our New Mascot for Sticking It To The Man” https://marknealprince.com/2017/06/09/trump-vs-everyfrickingbody-our-new-mascot-for-sticking-it-to-the-man/,and one more a little later entitled “As It Turns Out, Freedom is Not Actually Free: On Flags, Freedom and Racism in America https://marknealprince.com/2018/05/28/as-it-turns-out-freedom-is-not-actually-free-on-flags-freedom-and-racism-in-america/.  And the truth is, it felt really good to write those pieces at the time.

Fast forward till now, and I of course survived unscathed and even got some positive responses, even though I’m sure my liberal friends either unfriended me or put me on a long snooze vacation.  Although sadly, as my friend and I continued to have discussions, mostly about our Christian faith and encouraging one another in it, our clear political differences became a topic he most wanted to talk about.  And as usual, I tried to do so by allowing myself to both be challenged by his thought process, and to likewise challenge him with my rebuttal. He came to the conclusion that Fox news had blinded me to the light, concluding that was responsible for my total thoughts on these matters, and that every black person on the planet that had views even similar to mine (honkey that I am) were mere “Uncle Tom’s” or “house niggas”.  For him, that was an open and shut case, no matter how I tried to invoke logic and reason into the discussion.  He wasn’t having it.  And the more and more I tried to bring us back to being brothers in Christ, he decided he could no longer have a relationship with me.  I was hurt about this, because I don’t have too many “brothers” as it is, which is all the more reason why politics and religion don’t make good bed fellows.  Yet here I go again appealing to both.

Not all Deplorables Are Cut From the Same Cloth

My theory is that it doesn’t take a Rhode’s Scholar after 2 ½ years now into the Trump experiment, to realize that the designation of “deplorables” to half of the voters in this country has not served the democratic party well.  In fact, as of recently (enter “The Squad”), my contention is that this type of tirade is the gift that keeps on giving quite frankly.  First of all, this is because lumping all people into the same basket of a particular voting block is to have taken one’s thinking cap “off”, which should be a slap in the face to people as learned and intellectual as the other side claims to be.  But the truth is, that “deplorables” voted for Donald Trump for a variety of both gullible, selfish and even very noble reasons.  Imagine that!  Secondly, as any good American knows, when you start the name calling, the “Hatfield and McCoy” gloves come off.  And as a result, a fight will ensue until the cows come home, and for many generations hence. So then, what should have been instructive for the democratic party, has instead caused them to dig their roots down deeper into this overarching narrative and ramp it a notch further; by bestowing an equally appealing naming convention to the uninformed masses called “the Dregs of Society”.  So to wax Forrest Gumpian here, “I may not be a politically astute man, but I do know what needing a new game plan is”!

How Can Christians Vote for Trump?

 Of course, among other things, one of the questions on everyone’s mind has been, “How can those who claim to be Christians vote for Trump”?  And though there are a myriad of reasons why voters who have no faith to speak of have also cast their ballot for the Tweeter and Chief, I’ve been somewhat desperate to expound further on why many Christians have actually done so.  And though it will take several blogs to attempt to unpack my thoughts on Trumpism, my explanation for the Christian part in it are fourfold.

First of all, it was due to a reaction to the current vitriol against what made the West great in their eyes. And as a result, like other people who also love their country, the Christian vote was for “Trumpism” and not necessarily for Donald Trump.  Now to be sure there are many who actually now like the guy in spite of himself (myself included), and who will again vote for what he represents.  And so for them, Donald Trump is a “middle finger” to the liberal mayhem and the now popular hatred of America among our own ranks! And yes, even Christians, for what they would call “Just war” reasons, signed off on the not so affectionate hand gesture! And like other voters in this block, they cast their silent Trump vote in a reaction to this vilification of what they believe has made the West great, and in the judgements of many (both foreign and domestic) who have studied its history.  The West of course also includes the American Republic experiment and “idea”, whose founding documents have equally been both admirably studied, wrongfully canonized, and painstakingly scrutinized by those near and far as well.  In short, their concern is that the ideals of reasoned discourse in the market square; freedom of religion; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of any kind of happiness they can find; free market capitalism that either makes or breaks us; taxation with representation from a government that stays out of our business and our pocketbooks; and one who also protect its country from those who mean it harm have fallen on very hard times.

Now it is not in the scope of this blog to deliberate on all the explanations of all these things while equally positing their opposition, nor is it in my time allotment or particular pedigree to do so from a purely academic sense.  Nonetheless, it is these particular things that grateful Americans are in a fuss about.  And this includes those born on our soil, and those red, yellow, black and white grafted in by becoming its co-equal citizenry.  Those who are still just deplorable enough to believe that these principles and what once made America great is actually a big frickin deal, and those of which are currently under blatant attack by spoiled-rotten, postmodern anarchists!   And though admittedly America is not without her faults and colorful past, I would like to propose that those of us on this side of the isle would like to know what nation we are being compared to as the standard in course correction.  So yeah, we get that people have the right as America’s sons to whine and complain about everything under the sun that was provided for them with blood, sweat and tears. But just like an ungrateful teenager gloating in parental provisions, we think perhaps the time has come for someone to send them to their damn room without any supper.  Which could also be another phrase for “go back to where you came from” from someone caught up in the continual insolence in the current national room.

 

Selah

 

Stay tuned for Part II

 

 

 

A Medley of Needles, and the Damage Done

A Little Bit of It In Everyone

I was a whopping 8-years old when Neil Young released the song, The Needle and the Damage Done.  Though it would be a short 5 years later that I first listened introspectively to his haunting prophetic decrees; it was also then as a somewhat “dazed and confused” young man (minus the band), that I seemed almost “hell bent” on being on the other end of this woefully accurate foretelling.

A bag of Columbian Gold was my first gig, and before long I had graduated to a medley of cocktails that included everything from Quaaludes and whiskey; cocaine and LSD; to the likes of gasoline and Pam cooking spray (No, I didn’t stutter).  In essence, whatever I could afford and whatever gave me the means to escape the place in the world I never really felt I belonged in for a myriad of reasons, was indeed fair game to this all too eager participant.  They say marijuana is the gateway to other drugs, and I won’t argue either way.  What I do know is that if a druggie’s pathway is from 1stto home plate, in my mid teens, I had already rounded third and was headed for the home run! The only thing left for me at that point, was to “let her under your skin”; and by God’s grace; like Neil Young, “I watched the needle take another man” to the point at which something jarred in me a determination to never cross that very pivotal line.

So after the whole of my teenage years comprised of time in the county jail, reform school, drug and alcohol programs and county hospitals; something inside of me swallowed the bitter red pill of a very abrupt truth about where my life was headed at the age of 18; and that at the very least was a speed-bump to a fast car life headed for nowhere extremely fast!  It would then take until the age of 27 to take the “a little bit of it in everyone” out of me, but I watched enough men and women ruin their lives and eventually die, even at an early age; enough to make me intensely aware of where my life was headed should I not attempt to somehow change the course of my life.

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword (Drug)

 I was no drug kingpin to say the least, but I knew who they were.  They had all the good drugs, and the pubescent bell-bottom groupie chicks that would do anything for another taste at their beckoned call—and far too youthful for such a grave choice to be made.  But then again, these pushers were the outlaws that every girl wanted, and somehow, for a brief moment, I thought that was also the man I wanted and needed to be. As a result, I at least attempted to give them a run for their money.  Yet as I grew older, I continued to watch my reluctant hero’s stoically continue their apothecary occupation into a new era when some of us were actually trying to grow up, and I also watched them enter and exit prison yards, as well as check in to the undertaker’s dead-end alley.

I was reminded this week, as more of my reluctant hero’s and those of which actually became my friends, are found still “knocking at(someone’s) cellar door”, still chanting “I love you baby, can I have some more”, as they and those around them now know all too well that their hourglass is distributing its remaining granules. They have now long since cut their hair, the lovely aficionados surrounding them are no more, and time is of course no longer a trump card in their favor.  And as I contemplate this glaring reality, my heart grows very sad indeed. For as someone who over the years has attempted to rescue such reluctant hero’s time and again; as of yet, I have no track record of success, but rather a sigh of a medley of needles taking another man, as I hear Neil echo “ooh, ooh, the damage done”—yet again.

The Medley of Junkies

 Of course it would be easy to simply put my past self and people like I’ve described into a label of sorts, and yet forget about the monster under our own bed.  After all, the blog is called “A Medley of Needles and the Damage Done”.  And of course the junkies’ “setting sun” comes in various stages.

My dear Father was one such junkie I suppose—God rest his beautiful soul.  He took a pill to wake up; to manage his depression; to go to bed; to wake up again; and much later, his daily concoction of capsules could have stockpiled a “mom and pop” pharmacy in a quick recession.  And you and I know junkies just like this, and many of us even look at them in the mirror each morning; and some of us refuse to look, as we have more excuses than the prescriptions we take.

Others of us resort to liquid drugs.  We stockpile our cabinets, and take our sedative(s) each evening as we settle in, rinse and repeat until we’ve had our fill, and we have a myriad of good reasons as to “why” that are all related to the same escapism of the not so glamorous junkie knocking on someone’s cellar door.  After all, life is hard—no argument there. And we’ve got a family to feed; the taxman cometh; we have teenagers (Slam dunk for the justification on this one); our marriage is not so good or falling part, and the list goes on.  But then there’s that cute little monster under our bed we also choose to ignore.

The 800-Pound (Monster) In the Room

The new Canadian thinker and overnight phenomenon Jordan Peterson tells the story in his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, about a boy and a monster he sees in his room.  He tells his Mother about the monster, but she quickly tells him, “Honey, there are no monsters”.  The boy simply goes along with it, and yet as each day and month passes by, the monster gets bigger, and more horrid and hairier.  As the boy brings this apparent predicament up to her, each time she retorts that “There are no such things as Monsters”; until such a time, that one day the Monster has grown the size of the house to the point that it its arms and legs are actually protruding out the windows and has become part of the house, and has thus overtaken it.  Then one day, when the Father comes home, the house has gone AWOL because the Monster has left and taken the house and his wife and kid with him.  At that point, they all frantically look for the house, and when they find it, the Mother can no longer deny the “ginormity” of the Monster, and confesses to the son that she indeed sees it clear as a bell; at which point the monster then shrinks back down to a tiny cute little blob sitting in the corner.  And at least for now, he is of no harm to no one.

The moral of the story is both obvious and also approaching a grim un-comfort zone for the most of us. The fact of the matter is that there is a medley of monstrous “needles” in everyone that most of us ignore to our eventual and certain peril.  And it’s not just the self-medication strategies of numerous varieties aforementioned; but it’s also the marriage on the rocks, the wayward teen we’re ignoring, the Dun-lap belly, the decision to abandon all and follow the man from Galilee on the narrow path, and so on.

All of us have reasons as to why we pretend these things are “not” there, or that we put off calling it out until “tomorrow”, or; that we simply allow to grow to the size that it takes over our lives, emerging eventually into the junkie’s “setting sun”.  Whatever your Monster is lurking under your bed, or that has taken over a piece of your home, or perhaps your whole life-house…perhaps it’s time to give it a name before the damage is done.

Selah