If Obama was Not the Political Savior, Neither is Trump
Eight years ago, massive crowds gathered to hear Barack Obama’s stirring message of hope and change. This young senator was not just a rising star, he was a superstar, and even overseas, crowds thronged to hear him.
Eight years later, rather than hope and change there is widespread pessimism and disgust, and the dramatic changes that have occurred under the Obama administration are, for the most part, negative and even destructive.
Now, a new star has risen, a quite unlikely one at that. The crowds are also thronging to hear him, and his followers are convinced that this man, their man, Donald Trump, will single-handedly make America great again. The political system is corrupt, say his loyal supporters, and America has become a shell of what she used to be, both nationally and internationally.
Donald Trump will save the day. Donald Trump knows how to get it done. Donald Trump will not back down. Donald Trump is the alpha male we need. Some even claim that God Himself has raised up Donald Trump for such a time as this.
Others firmly believe that Bernie Sanders is the man. We need nothing less than a revolution, they say, and he is the man to lead it! Bernie Sanders is also drawing crowds, and his supporters are equally passionate and devoted.
From a personal perspective, whoever our next president is, I will pray that he (or she) will be the greatest president we have ever had, just as I have prayed for Barack Obama (with evident disappointment).
And although I could not vote for Bernie or Hillary because of their militantly pro-abortion and pro-LGBT activist views, and although I have grave concerns about a Trump presidency, assuming that one of them will be our next president, that person will be my president. I will honor their authority, do my best to be of help in realizing our national goals, and speak out when I feel they are seriously wrong.
All that being said, my great concern is that we make the mistake of putting our trust in a political leader.
As one who endorsed Sen. Cruz and felt that he could have helped lead America in a righteous revolution, I constantly reminded myself, “Ted Cruz is not the answer. Only Jesus is the answer.” All the more do I say that when it comes to Trump or Bernie or Hillary.
Five years ago, in 2011, I wrote an article entitled “Don’t Put Your Trust in a Political Savior,” warning Americans of the danger of looking to a political leader to save the day.
One year later, as we approached the 2012 elections, I wrote these words: “If the elections were held today, I would vote for Mitt Romney rather than sit out the elections or cast a protest vote for a third party candidate. But I would do so with extremely limited hopes, and my very act of voting in November would be a reminder to me that I cannot expect the radical changes America needs to come from the White House.”
Today, when the crises surrounding us seem all the more intensified and when the world around us seems all the more unstable, it is all the more imperative that we do not put our trust in a man (or woman), exalting that person into quasi-divine status, looking to him or her as some kind of heroic deliverer.
Without a doubt, a good president can do much good and a bad president can do much damage, but there is only so much one individual can do — even the president of the United States — and we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment when we look to a human being as if that human being were some kind of super-being.
But that is what some people are doing.
In his victory speech in Bismarck, North Dakota, Trump said to his jubilant supporters, “Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing. I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”
Unfortunately, many of his supporters believe this, leading Brandon Morse to say on Redstate.com, “This Feels Less Like An Election and More Like the Establishment Of Religion.”
Let the voter beware.
Writing for The Federalist on May 28th, M. G. Oprea penned an insightful article entitled, “What The Arab Spring Can Teach Us About America’s Populist Revolution.” The subtitle read, “‘A Rage For Order’ chronicles the dangers of political strongmen and popular revolts. Should Americans nervously eyeing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders be asking if it can happen here?”
After summarizing what happened in the Arab world, where, in several countries, the Arab Spring became the Sharia Fall, she gave this word of warning: “It’s easy to look down on the people in these countries for their naïveté in believing that a single man could provide all the answers and being so easily carried from one extreme to the other. But, it would be unwise to throw the first stone at a time when this is truer in America than many of us are comfortable admitting.”
And, she added, “whenever a party, or a people, put their hopes in one man, the promises of democracy begin to fade into the background.”
We have lived through 8 years of political demagoguery and executive orders, and we surely do not need four (or, worse still, 8) more years of the same. And while we do our best to advocate for the candidate whom we feel is best suited to lead our nation, and while we may have very strong feelings about who that candidate is, the warning remains the same: By all means, work for and with the best candidate, but do not put your trust in a political savior.
Only Jesus is the Savior. Everyone else serves, for better or for worse.