by John Ellis
A little over a month ago, a good friend posed a scenario to me: “If a family member or friend asks why you won’t be voting for Trump, how will you succinctly answer them?”
Oddly enough, I had begun thinking about that very scenario a few weeks before our conversation and had already begun to formulate an answer. And it’s a tough question. How can I distill my reasons for not voting for Donald Trump for President of the United States into a concise yet cogent answer that also carries a powerful emotional punch? That’s not easy to do; the man’s faults and moral failings are many, his incompetence staggering, and my ethical line-in-the sand preventing me from voting for him in good conscience is best described as a thick wall. And none of that is hyperbole.
In the past, I’ve written article after article detailing why I believe Christians should not vote for Donald Trump. Without looking it up, I estimate north of thirty such articles. While not a complete list, here are three things I’ve learned from writing those articles: 1. Trump is exactly who I, and other #NeverTrump writers, said and say he is. 2. While neither Trump nor I have changed, the number of once #NeverTrumpers who used to agree with me and who have done a complete 180 and now sing the President’s praises has grown at an astonishing, discouraging rate. Again, keep in mind, neither Trump nor I have changed. 3. It truly doesn’t matter what evidence is presented nor what biblically informed ethical arguments are made; the hero worship of Donald Trump among white evangelicals is almost unassailable at this point. So, why even try? In some ways, that’s a harder question for me to answer at this point than my friend’s posed scenario.
Why am I trying?
Because truth matters. Ethics matter. Moral consistency matters. Our individual and corporate witness as followers of Jesus matters. Combatting idols in our own heart matters. Calling fellow Believers to repent and turn from their own idols matters. And so, below is the concise and cogent (I hope) answer that I gave my friend. It’s not a complete answer in so far as it doesn’t systematize my reasons for not supporting Trump, nor is it chock full of data, quotes, and other evidence demonstrating his unfitness for office. But it’s complete, I believe, in that it gets to the heart of the matter in a form that’s easier for our story-loving human nature to digest.
When I was kid, really young, around the age of five, I pulled a book about the Presidents of the United States off my parent’s bookshelf and read it with curiusity. If I remember correctly, it had been published in conjunction with the Bicentennial celebrations that had taken place the year after I was born. Pithy and filled with political cartoons, much of it was above my five-year-old head but a lot of it wasn’t. I can still see the caricature of Teddy Roosevelt in the Oval Office lugging a huge club. The caption, as you can undoubtedly guess, read, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” While not appreciating all the nuances of that platitude, I understood the overall point. However, the political cartoon featuring Harry Truman puzzled me.
“Daddy?” I asked. “What does ‘the buck stops here’ mean?”
Seizing the opportunity, my dad stopped what he was doing and took the time to explain to me what it means to take responsibility. “Owning and accepting the consequences for our words and actions is important for all of us,” he said. “The Bible teaches us that.”
Continuing, he talked about what it means to have authority and be in a position of leadership.
“Being in charge is a great responsibility. Being a parent or a teacher or pastor means that you answer to God for what happens in your family or classroom or church. The same is true for the President. Even though he may not be the one that actually does the wrong thing, the President is responsible for what happens. The buck stops with him.”
Fast forward back to our current President, and Donald Trump’s consistent refusal to take responsibility for anything is obvious; I mean, he seemingly takes great pains to point it out. Even going so far, when asked to explain an earlier comment in which he said that he hasn’t/doesn’t ask God to forgive him, to declare, “Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness if I am not making mistakes? I work hard, I’m an honorable person.”
Add that to his bankruptcies (actions that demonstrate his refusal to take responsibilty) and his constant refusal to accept that “the buck stops here” whenever anything goes wrong in this country, and Donald Trump is so far removed from what I was always taught were necessary qualities, character traits, and ethics of a leader that I can’t, in good conscience, vote for him.
2 thoughts on “A Concise (short) and Cogent Reason for Not Voting for Donald Trump”
I don’t vote.
But then Jesus ain’t on the ballot. He didn’t get any kind of honorable mention in the debates. He and his church are separate from state.
Our process of choosing leaders has become a joke – except it aint funny. What if you don’t like either choice? What if you REALLY don’t like either? What if every term we keep going to the fringe of both parties for leaders?
But there’s more.
The last few elections have made losers out of the losers. Scorned losers. This was apparent when Obama became president, but since I kinda liked Obama, it was hard for me to really see it. But it had become worse than ever. I would have preferred McCain to Obama, but certainly NOT Palin. But I liked Obama too.
But my family dreaded Obama. Eight years of begrudging dread. I certainly felt it and saw it, but did not really believe it for a long time. In fact, I think it wasn’t until after Trump became president that I really began to appreciate the deep dread my family had for him.
I really did not like Hillary. I don’t hate her, but I would not have put her in my top 50 choices. I watched that race narrow it down to her and … for a long time I expected the opponent to be Cruz. I don’t like Cruz either. I was dreading both. But OMG, as they say, we got Hillary and Trump. Gotta pick one of these! The process won’t entertain ANY other possibilities. And Trump? Wow! I thought Cruz was a bad option!
These were gonna be the choices. Don’t like it? There’s the door. Suck it up.
It was then that I finally got the picture framed. Even as far back as Clinton/Bush – probably all the way back to Nixon… the losers FEEL it.
That’s 4 or 8 years of licking wounds, dreading, loathing, and pressure along these lines just building and increasing.
Every next election we all hope that finally we are going to get on track. Finally this next guy is going to get it right. We are finally get OUR guy in and FIX all the damage the other guy did.
Weapons of mass destruction? Yeah. We should be embarrassed about that. We couldn’t find our hat from our ass in a desert hole in the ground. Just imagine if we had never fought that war… there would be no ISIS. But I sat here in Lubbock Texas and listened to a good friend of mine blather on about how Obama created ISIS.
I just wish that garbage was my worry now. I long for the days when that was my ache.
We keep saying THIS election is the most important ever…
That’s a lie.
This next election will make losers out of the losers. What does that say when you didn’t even like one of the choices? Not one or the other???
I believe that both Bush and Trump failed to get the popular vote. They won on technicalities due to weird and arbitrary rules. That’s hard to swallow. It feels illegitimate. But… you have to be very close in numbers to get that technicality.
That means that roughly HALF the electorate still voted this way. Maybe less than half, but not less by a lot.
That means that roughly half the nation got what they want and roughly half goes home as losers… dreading, loathing, stewing, hating. The smoldering hate and contempt just brewing.
That’s not love. That’s not what the founding fathers envisioned. Nobody wants that. It’s demonic.
If I vote, if my candidate wins… I make losers out of my neighbors. I haven’t been “happy” with an election result since 1992. That’s just me, but I know what it means to be on the losing side. I usually am. I am represented by people I did not choose and would not choose and who make little effort to attend to matters in ways I would hope.
I work hard to find SOMETHING to like in each one, but I feel that loser feeling. I liked Obama, but he wasn’t the one I wanted.
(I really itch to complain about the ACA/Obama care thingy too, but that would take me too far afield.)
I need to take care to note that I don’t have some Christian agenda to foist on nonbelievers out there with all of this. (That actually is another layer of complexity to this whole thing, and I have thusfar ignored it.) But I can and should speak to my fellow Christians about championing this “pussy-grabber” who flouts humility and decency at turn after turn. THAT I get, and that I feel is worthwhile to engage in as a Christian. But, I must acknowledge that so many of my brothers and sisters look at his opponent and see a baby killer abortionist, and I cannot deny that.
But it really is that making a loser of my neighbors thingy that drives me at my core. The process is demonic, I believe. We separate church and state, and so the house got swept clean and put in order, but the demons after wandering about went out and found seven legions to move back in with, it seems.
I am not preaching that others should not vote. I am just not convinced that is what I need to do. But getting Christians to think on that seems worthwhile. But even more, I hope to encourage believers to work on winning with grace and not gloating or losing with grace and not scorning. To move toward prayer and humility.
Fact is we survived Clinton just fine. We survived Bush. We survived Obama. In fact, we did pretty good in some important ways under each. The parts where we failed to do well, at least in part can be attributed to the dread and scorn brewing in the losers who went back to our drawing rooms for scheming and plotting and shooting holes in the other guy.
Surely Christians in America can and should address THAT.
How about pray instead of vote. OR if you must vote, make prayer the priority and extend grace to the enemies we have brewing their hate against our choices of leaders.