Trump, Principles, and Conscience
When I first began a blog eight years ago, it didn’t take me long to decide on a title. My life and teaching have always focused on Biblical principles. My desire was to share those principles and to apply them to what we experience in this trek through a sinful world. That’s how the name “Pondering Principles” came about.
With that name, though, came a deep responsibility to remain true to the principles I believe the Lord has ordained. I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say right now with respect to the upcoming presidential contest. What I’m going to say will not sit well with many, but I will say it because it comes from that commitment I made to speak and write from those principles.
I’ve always voted Republican, no matter how much I’ve disagreed with the chosen nominee for president. Despite some misgivings over George Bush, I believed he was a good man, trying to do what was right. The John Kerry alternative gave me nightmares.
When John McCain got the nomination, I sighed and dutifully fell in line because I knew Barack Obama would be the most radical president in American history and would attempt to undo every constitutional precept that he could. At least McCain had shown remarkable courage as a POW and could be counted on for some conservative policies. There really was no comparison between the candidates.
Mitt Romney was, for me, a step further away from genuine Republican principles. After all, it was his health plan in Massachusetts that provided the blueprint for Obamacare. Neither had he been solidly pro-life. But the alternative, of course, was another four years of Obama, and I did believe Romney was a decent man who could be prodded in the right direction by conservatives in the party.
Now, in 2016, I don’t have a decent man to vote for on the Republican side. And that’s really what it comes down to for me. I have a lot of reasons to decide not to vote for Donald Trump, but the most basic one is that I see him as a totally despicable human being who may do irreparable harm to both the Republican party and the nation.
Please stay with me.
For those of you supporting Trump because he is an outsider, consider his personal history. He has been on the inside his entire life, using all his political connections for personal gain, often to the detriment of others. This is something he and Hillary Clinton have in common: they have used the system cynically and corruptly for their own advancement.
Clinton’s corruption is clearly seen in multiple ways, but the investigation into the use of a personal e-mail server and the funneling of funds through the Clinton Foundation are the real icing on this half-baked cake.
Trump’s corruption is in how he has bilked people over the years (interesting, isn’t it, that the trial for the fake Trump University has now been delayed until late November), how he has attempted to use eminent domain to take private property away from an elderly lady to use for his own purposes, and how he has cleverly used the bankruptcy laws to stay on top while throwing others out of work.
Yes, they are a dynamic duo.
On policy, he is all over the place, promising whatever will get votes. Now that he has the nomination all but sewed up, he’s tacking clearly to the left, saying he wants to get the Bernie Sanders voters.
This is our Republican nominee?
He claims to be pro-life now, but has always supported abortion, even the infanticide of partial-birth abortion. Even now, he hasn’t really opposed Planned Parenthood. It pains me to read of some pro-life leaders now being swayed into the illusion that he won’t be that bad on this issue after all.
I could go on about all his other “policies,” but the real issue for me is Trump’s character.
Unlike some people who only glance at headlines, I am a student of politics and government and the connection with character. I’ve watched Trump carefully for the past year, hardly believing what I’ve seen.
He has no dignity. His main avenue for personal opinion is insulting tweets. He has mocked and ridiculed his fellow candidates mercilessly. He is beyond rude; he is an arrogant, condescending, unprincipled mess of a man.
He is the classic spoiled child who never grew up. Putting him at the head of this nation, in my view, would be tantamount to elevating into power someone with the emotional maturity of a third-grader.
The planted fake story in the National Enquirer about Ted Cruz being an unfaithful husband is ironic, given Trump’s blatant immorality. The photo he used of Heidi Cruz is what a middle-school guy might do in a pique of adolescent rage.
And then there are the conspiracy theories he seems to delight in: Obama’s birth certificate (sorry, but I never bought into that one, as much as I would have liked to); George Bush somehow behind 9/11 and deliberately lying to get us into a war with Iraq; Cruz’s father as a co-conspirator in the JFK assassination.
Really, Republicans? This is your standard-bearer?
And after all of this, you call upon me to support this man for the sake of unity?
And then you have the nerve to lecture me that if I don’t vote for this awful person, I am, in effect, casting a vote for Hillary?
A vote is a vote for something or someone. If I cast a vote for Donald Trump, I am saying I am for an unrepentant serial adulterer (possibly a rapist—that accusation is out there and not too hard to believe) who has always championed leftist causes with his donations, and who, even now, is pulling the wool over the eyes of his starry-eyed minions.
No, I cannot do this.
If Hillary Clinton wins this election, I place the blame on those who ignorantly raised this reality-TV “star” into a credible candidate when the joke of his candidacy should have been apparent to all. Those of us who sounded the alarm all along are not the ones who deserve the blame for his ascendancy.
Many Republicans are now falling in line with the reality of a Trump nomination. They are dutifully remaining loyal to the party.
I will not put party loyalty above principle. In the end, I don’t give an account to Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, or Trump supporters who will try to convince me to change my mind.
In the end, I give an account to God only, and my conscience must be clear before Him.
There are people I love and respect who will disagree with me today. That doesn’t alter my love and respect for you.
If your conscience doesn’t bother you by voting for Trump, that is your decision. But please don’t call on me to violate my conscience. I simply won’t do it.
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