Make America Good Again
Perhaps you have heard this quote before:
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there. . . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there. . . . .in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there. . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
The quote is mistakenly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, 17th century French political philosopher. Bartleby’s dictionary of quotations traces the quote to a 1941 book titled The Kingdom of God and the American Dream, by Sherwood Eddy, a theologically liberal Christian socialist and missionary, who claimed to be quoting Tocqueville. Regardless of its origin, I believe this quote is more poignant today than ever before.
I am a writer and a speaker in the Christian genre. I was a pastor for thirty years. Politics is not my wheelhouse outside of the local church setting. Here's the thing, I painstakingly voted for Donald Trump in 2016. I felt good about that decision but for a short time. The President has proven himself nearly every day to be politically, spiritually, ethically and morally bankrupt. Visiting his Twitter account will remove all doubt. Recently, Trump's tendency toward racism was made very clear in a recent tweet geared toward four Congresswomen of color who also happen to be American citizens. Once again, his Twitter feed removes all doubt.
It's time for some brutal honesty in the country.
1) Make America Great Again really means Make America White Again. After 8 years of a black President, Trump and his followers believe they have won America back for the true (white) Americans. I don't have to prove that here. Go read his Twitter account again and remove all doubt. The President assures us he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, despite being well on-record to the contrary.
Before you crucify me, please understand that I am white. I have NEVER been threatened by anyone for my skin color, or lack thereof. I have been outside of the US on two overseas mission trips. In both countries I visited, both myself and my team had to be protected from local death threats. Why? Because we were white, American, and clearly unwelcome.
In America, my home, I have no such issues. I cannot say the same for women, people of color, immigrants (legal and illegal), and any American who voices disapproval of President Trump. Trump supporters have called me a liberal, a snowflake, a crybaby, and have told me to leave if I don't like the way Trump does things, even though I have historically voted Republican as long as I can recall and I am a natural born citizen. This because I think he is doing a terrible job as President. I am a red-blooded American who thinks we can do better in the White House. No President is perfect in any way. But Mr. Trump embarrasses this country every time he opens his mouth or when he tweets. He is an arrogant, ignorant, reality-show putz. No honest person can deny this. For the record, I didn't like Hillary Clinton either. I really believed Trump might make some positive changes. I am still waiting. We are all still waiting. It seems the ones who do want positive change are told to leave this country by the white majority. There is no situation where this behavior is right or good.
2) Conservative Fundamental Christianity has taken leave of their collective spiritual senses in blind support of President Trump. His poor moral compass is very well documented so I will not repeat any of it here. CFC has become a political brand that aligns itself with the President claiming that God put him in office. Anyone of us is redeemable. Anyone -- even the President. Yet Trump displays none of the fruits of the spirit spelled out in Galatians. In fact, most of America does not.
3) The Kingdom of God is not American. Nor is it white, black, hispanic, asian, or arab. God's Kingdom is a place where love and grace abound. It is a place where the weak are made strong. It is a place where all of our needs are met every day. The Kingdom of God is color and gender blind. Men and women are equal in stature, neither one more important than the other.
4) American Christianity is a brand and an oxymoron. These two words could not be more separate. Loving our country is okay and encouraged. Loving our country more than God's Kingdom is fallacious. In the Kingdom of God, we love God completely and our neighbors as ourselves. We don't fail to do this and hide behind the law of the land while claiming to represent Jesus or the New Covenant.
5) We must also individually accept responsibility for the fact that America, while already great, is no longer good. The men who originally fought and died for this nation stood side by side to advance the American ideal, that ALL humans are created EQUAL. All men. All women. All races, colors, creeds, and politics. Equal. The same. We have sacrificed that equality for both profit and political gain.
I said we. I am just as guilty. Maybe more guilty. But I am changing. I want to change. I want to be better. I want to do better. I want to think better. I want to believe better. Whatever statements I have made about President Trump, I know I am just as responsible for voting him in as anyone else. I have to give account for that. I do so freely.
Electing another President will change nothing. Nothing. Why? Because it is not up to one man or woman to change the heart of the people. Only God through Jesus Christ can do that. He is doing it right now. There are more people like me out there. People who want us to do better as a nation. People who want to take the power back that we have freely handed over to the government. Politicians are elected to serve us, not vice-versa. Yet we blindly follow our chosen leaders and give them complete control over our nation's destiny.
Listen, friend, America is great. We are not perfect, but we are great. You can become anything you want in this country. With an idea and proper elbow grease, our dreams can become reality. People may do this in other countries, but not like we do it in America. People are not running from their corrupt countries to Poland; they are running to America. Because America is great. Great is not a problem for us.
We need to become good again. We need to reacquaint ourselves with ideals like, love, peace, patience, kindness, sacrifice, sharing, caring, and evolving. Our future is not impossible, but it is too hard for one person to do. American goodness must be accomplished together by putting one another's needs above our own at all times. If I succeed at anything, that is my thing. If WE succeed at anything, we do it together.
One nation. Under God. Indivisible. Unstoppable. Good. Seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, so that all these things can be added to us.
I am not trying to be right; I am trying to be honest. Honesty and acceptance of responsibility is the beginning of better days ahead.
Better days. That sounds good.