I woke up unafraid today. Votes are still being counted.
Perhaps I’ll have more to say in the days to come, but first I’ve got to say, I have no qualms against Trump the person:
In fact, I’m fascinated. I love his brash abrasiveness. His showmanship. His political incorrectness. I most likely would have voted against Hillary Clinton. And no, I couldn’t care less about Trump’s mess of a personal life or mess of finances. The man’s your typical sleazy businessman–who is going to behave like your typical sleazy businessman. It’s Trump Derangement Syndrome to obsess over his lack of etiquette or his personal life–just as it’s ridiculous to have a meltdown over Obama’s tan suit.
But man, Trumpism–the idea of Trump–is absolutely, positively unhealthy for any fair and just democracy. Trumpism is triumphalism, xenophobia, apathy, obsession with power. Trumpism grabs power at all costs–regardless of truth, regardless of who suffers in the process. However, if Trump divorces Trumpism, if he suddenly adopts a Christ-like Sermon on the Mount rhetoric–Yes, I’d change my mind & vote him in. (As an immigrant, I can’t actually vote.)
My confession? I stopped identifying as Christian a few years ago (roughly four)–though it didn’t necessarily mean I stopped believing. Why? I just couldn’t bring myself to associate with the creature the fundamentalist capital-C Church had become in the Age of Trump. You’re welcome to call me out–watered-down, back-slidden–I’ve tried, believe me, but I can’t live with the “eternity” God has set in my heart–the depths of love it tugs and pulls me to (See Ecclesiastes 3:11). I’ve tried. A few years ago, the Frankenstein of Christian Trumpism meant I didn’t, and still don’t, know if I’ll ever profess Christianity again: They tell me Christ will be ashamed of me. (I’ll talk more about going to hell later.)
C. S. Lewis speaks of ought-ness–how it reveals the existence of the divine. And that ought-ness calls to me, tells me I don’t want to live in a heaven my queer brothers and sisters and siblings aren’t allowed in. And I promise you can hear that still small voice too, that the Spirit has never stopped speaking. For me, it’s only grown louder and louder through the years–a crashing conviction so mighty I’m willing to go to hell for my heresies. I think Christ actually went to actual hell for us. I think he’d want us to try to be like him.
You know, Abraham tried to tell God once that maybe He shouldn’t blow up a town immediately–to tell God He was wrong. God let Abraham change His mind. (Spoiler alert: Town got blown up anyway. *shrug*)
When I watched evangelicals slobber over Trump, the king they asked for, watched them clamber over bodies–brown bodies, black bodies–in their rush to embrace him, I couldn’t anymore. Christian Trumpers set me on a path away from Church and its Bible–I still don’t know where it leads. Sometimes I believe in Christ–not all the time, but I do, and I’m content to count myself among the ranks of the Lost. (Really, if you think about it–we’re all lost.)
How did this political post become a personal/spiritual rambling? How did we get here? No clue. Well, I guess this is a metaphor for where my faith is at right now–in the wake of Christian Trumpism: Letting it be free to lead where it will, not forcing anything–I want my story to write itself out like poetry. As Richard Hugo and Annie Dillard say, let the words lead the way.
Oh, so I respect Christians, and I can accept 2020 Trump voters; however, Christians who voted for Trump the second time round and are proud of it? Just don’t let me know.
Daniel Ooi is a graduate student in the master’s of English program.