“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
– George Washington
At the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump vowed to put “America first” again. God, that sounds so good, right? I can almost see the flag flying. My little Southern heart nearly skips a beat, as I hear the tune of “I’m Proud to be an American” in my ears.
As a senior in high school, I attended George W. Bush’s inauguration. At 18, it was the biggest thrill of my life. But these days, I’ve never been more ashamed to be a former Republican. I really wish this was a nightmare we could all wake up from. And friends, to be clear: this is a nightmare.
But we are wide awake.
This is not the America of my childhood. The Republican party has proven they are no longer the party they used to be. Or maybe it’s that they are finally bold enough to be exactly who they’ve always been.
Why does the Grace is Messy guy suddenly care so much about politics? Because I have the sinking suspicion that Donald Trump’s America doesn’t look anything like a place that will respect and regard all people. I want to create and live in a place that accepts people as they are and celebrates their varied stories.
America is a melting pot – a mixture of the most beautiful individuals you’ve ever seen. From my trans friend Jake, who I had tea with yesterday, to my amazing friends Kevin and Liz who are changing the face of what it means to be a queer Christian, to the beautiful Hispanic family we swam with last night at the neighborhood pool. This is my America. And I fear Donald Trump doesn’t have what it takes to lead this America. Rather, he’s a schoolyard bully, whose only intent is to prove just how powerful he really is. He has made it clear that he does not value my black brothers and sisters, my trans friends, or my queer church peers.
But instead of giving you my assumptions, let’s look at his own words.
Here’s what Trump has had to say about sex and women:
I have to ask how in the world evangelical leaders – our pastors – can read comments like the ones above and say this is the man I want to lead my country. How can they rail against sexual immorality on Sundays but hold this man up as the role model for your sons and grandsons? This is what it means to be the most powerful and influential man on the planet? THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT?!
And let’s not forget Trump’s love of “the blacks”:
The White House has seen Bill Clinton and his cigars, and Nixon and his politics. Certainly scandals have been a part of past Presidencies. But Donald Trump introduces a whole new level of immaturity, disrespect, and disregard for people. I have never known a more openly hateful, vile, abrasive person to be this close to leading the free world. On reality TV, Trump’s brash opinions may earn him ratings. But this is not reality TV. What happened to a sense of dignity, self-respect, and acting Presidential?
If you’re asking yourself how can the grace guy be so harsh? Friend, it is because I am the grace guy. I cannot think of a more divisive, foul, or toxic American, other than maybe The Donald’s good friend, Howard Stern. I used to admire the Office of the President so much. Now I fear for it.
In a time when racial tensions are higher than they have ever been in my lifetime, Donald Trump wants to create America: Land of the Fearful, Home of the Bigot. It’s like we’ve lost our minds and invited the old, fat, drunk uncle over for dinner. The one nobody wants to be around, who thinks his money entitles him to say whatever he wants. He’s the one who slaps Grandma’s ass as she gets the turkey out of the oven, and offends your wife with his filthy jokes at the table. And this guy isn’t coming over for dinner, he’s coming to lead the free world.
My desire for the church and for our nation is to see love and grace grow. To embrace everyone, as they are. And to respect the dignity of every human life. But that can’t happen with a reality TV President.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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