Monday, July 9, 2018

Supreme Court Aside, Why Do Evangelicals and Republicans Stay Silent on Trump?

Ever the showman Donald Trump is expected to reveal Monday night his next conservative, court-packing nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. It is his constitutional imperative to select a nominee; it is within his rights and privilege to choose a jurist he believes will decide the law based on the values and principles he espouses. Forget for a moment that Trump waffles on principles and displays no values, especially as they relate to family. 

I don’t agree with them, but I can understand why evangelicals support Trump. He promised them a conservative federal court. He is delivering on that promise, thanks in no small measure to Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist strategy to deny a hearing to President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. 

Support, however, does not mandate blind, unswerving allegiance. It does not prohibit conscientious objection to policies that are aberrant to their Christian faith. They should not have to twist Scripture inside out to justify abhorrent behavior. 

The Catholic church, after all, is just as dedicated to the abolition of abortions, yet its leadership, all the way up to the pope, has been intensely vocal in criticism of Trump’s behavior towards migrant families. 

So I am puzzled by the silence flowing from an evangelical community that is accustomed to hearing fire and brimstone penalties to anyone who acts contrary to god’s and Jesus’ admonitions.  

Let me reiterate: While I do not condone one-issue voters, I recognize their right to follow their narrow public consciousness. I have too many friends who voted Trump because they perceived his support of Israel stronger than the alternative, reinforced by his shift of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

They remain friends. We try not to talk politics, as I cannot condone their silence, and that of millions who I do not personally know but who profess to be god-fearing, in the wake of Trump’s flagrant abuses and miscalculations. Those millions include elected Republican officials. 

Where is the outcry, the condemnation, or at least an expressed revulsion at a zero-tolerance policy that ripped children from their parents? Should they not be repulsed by the ineptitude of their government not being able to expeditiously reunite families?

Even Democrats acknowledge industry is weighted down by too many regulations. But where is the sense of outrage from Republicans over the revocation of laws that protect our water, land and air quality? 
Do rank and file Republicans, along with Independents and Democrats who voted for Trump, not see that the tax bill provides meager relief to the vast majority of Americans while rewarding the wealthy and corporations with riches beyond their expectations? 

As other countries respond to Trump’s tariffs by targeting products from states he won, why are they silent when their livelihood is at stake? It’s not “America right or wrong” time when it is painfully obvious to all but Trump that winning a tariffs war is not easy.
Do they not see Trump was snookered by the North Koreans, that his boast that we could sleep more easily now because Kim Jong-un agreed to denuclearize was as empty as his claim to educate the gullible and desperate at Trump University? 

And what about our stature in the world? Do they not understand that “America First” runs counter to the principles and leadership embodied by the United States after World War II? That it was that global, communal ethos embodied by NATO and the Marshall Plan that enabled Western European civilization to reconstruct itself after the war’s devastation, that it forged successful economic and political recoveries in Japan and South Korea after two devastating conflicts? 

How do they square Trump’s campaign rhetoric that he is a big builder who will draw up a huge infrastructure investment list with the reality he not only has not initiated a building program but he also has stymied perhaps the most important project, construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River critically needed to support the Northeast which represents more than 10% of the nation’s economy?

Despite Trump’s repeated efforts to hamper it, the Affordable Care Act remains popular. How can they justify a disregard for the health needs of millions? Isn’t caring and concern for the sick part of their religious creed? How can they remain silent when the Trump administration, in support of infant formula manufacturers, disregards scientific data that breast milk is better than baby formula, and compounds the heresy by blackmailing other countries to follow its dictates at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly? How humiliating that Russia—Russia!—had to save the day for truth and science! (

And speaking of Russia, how can evangelicals and ordinary Republicans acquiesce to the bromance Trump has with Vladimir Putin? Democrats are not demanding an invalidation of the 2016 presidential election. They are demanding admission that Russia interfered with it. They are demanding Trump instruct appropriate federal agencies insure it doesn’t happen again. To date Trump has not. 

With all that Trump has accomplished in undermining the values and doctrines of America, Republicans have steadfastly stood behind him. It is foolish to presume they will abandon him in the 2020 election. 

The only way to unseat him will be if enough citizens who failed to vote in 2016 realize their voices can and must be counted to avoid a decades-long descent into despair. 

In 2016, roughly 100 million eligible voters stayed home.