By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
As the GOP presidential nominee this past weekend launched his foray into the Black community attending Detroit worship services – the safest environment imaginable – thoughts of the obvious ironies crossed my mind. As irreverent as the Donald has acted, could this 11th hour patronizing make a difference? Does anything about Donald Trump’s word, demeanor and actions even hint Christianity?
To be fair, Bill and Hillary Clinton aren’t angels. He was okay as president, but led the way for judicial reform that resulted in mandatory, long-term sentences for African Americans whose crime didn’t always fit the punishment. And in monumentally poor judgment, Hillary has created her own email hell.
These are the two most unpopular candidates fielded for president by the major parties. Yes, the most unpopular ever. And the Donald is considerably less popular than her. Since there doesn’t appear to be time enough for a “do over,” the choice becomes the lesser of two evils.
And that’s how I found myself driving in the car pondering the situation in the form of the parenthetical question: What Would Jesus Do? Seriously.
Yes, at the risk of alienating some of the more sanctimonious believers—incapable of thinking of the Savior in mortal context—I submit that since God created the world and all that’s in it, the political system and our mandate as an electorate to participate in it came as no surprise.
So let’s probe the issue eliminating Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. I just can’t imagine the Lord wasting a vote like that. So that leaves us with Donald and Hillary. Barring a miracle, these are your only two realistic choices. You will just have to be prepared to live with the outcome.
People characterize Hillary (and for some reason, indivisibly Bill) as privileged elitists who do some good but feel entitled to play by their own rules. Hillary is forever haunted by Whitewater, the Monica Lewinski controversy, Benghazi, Wall Street speech content questions, Clinton Foundation allegations and use of a private email server to handle government documents marked “confidential.”
While none of these situations rise to the level of capital offenses, the consensus of anti-Clinton folk is that they collectively raise questions about her decision-making, ethics and trustworthiness. While those are concerns that generate concern, they don’t necessarily constitute sins. And remember the question is, what would Jesus do?
Trump Management was twice accused of refusing to rent to African Americans—settling out of court both times. The GOP standard bearer cheated those who enrolled at the so-called Trump University out of hundreds of thousands of dollars offering non-accredited courses taught by unqualified instructors. Trump businesses were bankrupted four to six times and he was repeatedly fined for violations as a casino owner.
In 1986, Trump was fined $750,000 by the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust violations when he failed to disclose stock purchased in two casinos—Bally and Holiday—as part of an aborted hostile takeover bid. He was also accused of marital rape when married to his second wife, Ivana. Contractors, waiters, dishwashers, and plumbers charged Trump with refusing to pay for work done.
So much for nostalgia. What has Trump done scandalously lately? Well, he launched the campaign calling Mexican immigrants murderers and rapists. He refused to disavow racists and white nationalist groups hailing his candidacy. He challenged a Gold Star Family in the wake of their passionate Democratic convention speech. He has called for a U.S. ban on ALL Muslims. His derogatory depiction of women would make a sailor blush.
He mocked a physically challenged reporter during one of his speeches. His offensive, derogatory references to women span decades. He encouraged violence to protesters at his rallies. He raised money for veterans and turned it over months later only after media scrutiny of the fundraiser. He threatens to deport Mexican immigrants and questioned the integrity of a judge of Mexican descent assigned to his Trump University case.
There’s so much more but space does not allow. If it seems that there are far more red flags regarding the past and current behavior of Trump, you’re right; not by design, but by the fact that it is true. And unlike every presidential candidate of the past 40 years, Trump refuses to disclose his taxes – which would provide transparency on his source of income, charities chosen and tax rate.
So how might Jesus cast his vote November 8th? Well there is one final contrast worthy of note. Hillary suggests diplomacy in dealing with international conflict, Donald suggests that the U.S. “bomb the (expletive) out of them.” While the Bible concedes that there will always be wars and rumors of wars, followers of Christ are more likely to be among peacemakers than warmongers.
What would Jesus do?
How am I to say. Weigh the facts, apply the Word, and reach your own conclusion.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].