America Trumped–what comes next?

Like many other people, I stayed up late Tuesday night to watch coverage of the election results, and like most of the people watching, I was stunned with Donald Trump’s success. I had noted the amount of quality time Mr. Trump spent in America’s Heartland during the last weeks of the campaign, but I couldn’t have predicted that he would prevail in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In fact, I had toyed with interactive campaign maps to see what might happened, and I had realized that if he won all the battleground states and took either Michigan or Pennsylvania, he could win. Actually, I was looking for the possibility of a tie, throwing the election into the House of Representatives. That could have happened, but of course it did not happen.

I was one of six million voters who cast my ballot for someone other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Sometimes votes for those other candidates are called “wasted votes,” but I studied the positions of all the candidates and cast my vote for the one whose positions came closest to mine and the one I considered best qualified for the job. To me, this choice was a valid protest against the process which nominated Clinton and Trump–far more valid than shouting in the streets after the votes had been counted.

Now that Mr. Trump has been chosen by the voters to serve as our next President, we owe him respect and honor and support. We should pray for him, asking the Lord to grant him wisdom and to guide him in his job. We can hope that the dignity of the office will change Mr. Trump rather than the other way around. His speech early Wednesday morning already sounded more presidential than his campaign speeches; this is the beginning of a trend that we can pray will continue.

On election night, Donald Trump surprised the nation. Now Trump is about to be surprised, as the last twelve presidents have been surprised. The power and the influence of the presidency are not as great as most people imagine. Already during the transition, Trump is learning things he did not expect to learn. He is being given new information about Iraq, Iran, China, Russia, and other countries in the world. He is being given new information about the CIA, the FBI, and other government agencies. He is beginning to discover how American government really works, which is not exactly the way it is described in high school civics classes or portrayed in the movies.

The President cannot initiate legislation. He can propose legislation, but his proposal must then be made a motion on the House or Senate floor. It then will be assigned to a committee which will study it, refine it, reshape it, and amend it. When the committee has rewritten a proposal in a way that they like, they will bring it to the House or the Senate, where it is likely to be discussed and amended some more. Both the House and the Senate must approve the bill, and they often approve different versions of the bill. Then they have to negotiate a version that both can pass and send to the President. Congress is accustomed to this process of negotiation and compromise. Donald Trump will not be able to fire the members of Congress. He will have to negotiate with them. He will have to learn the art of compromise. He will not get everything he wants out of Congress.

He will not get everything he wants even out of the Executive Branch. He will appoint the members of his Cabinet, and they will choose some people to work in their offices, but most the employees of the Executive Branch are career government workers. They have learned how to survive under Republicans and under Democrats. They have learned how to pursue their own interests and desires. They have learned how to ignore a direct order, how to stall until the order is no longer relevant, and how to distort messages to make them match what they have already decided. These people cannot be fired. Without their jobs being filled, much government work would come to a halt. Trump will discover that most of the people who work for him are Democrats, since Democrats tend to believe that the government can do meaningful things, while Republicans tend to doubt that belief.

Does Donald Trump want to build a wall between the United States and Mexico? If he proposes such an idea to Congress, it is sure to die in a committee. Does he want to kick all the illegal immigrants out of the United States? He might persuade Congress to make tougher immigration laws, but he will have trouble finding anyone willing to enforce those laws. Does he want to screen all legal immigrants from Muslim countries to weed out possible terrorist? He will find that procedures are already in place to detect possible terrorists among people seeking to come to the United States. Once again, he may persuade Congress to make stricter rules, but he cannot guarantee that the stricter rules will be followed.

Does Donald Trump want to repeal Obamacare? For three years I have been saying that it cannot be repealed. It can and should be improved, and Republican members of Congress are already talking to one another about amendments to the Health Care Act that will reduce or eliminate its objectionable provisions while continuing to help the people who need its help. Does Donald Trump want to reduce the spending of the federal government? He can propose changes, but for every cut he wants to make, he will have to find a compromise or two that will move his spending cut through Congress.

Donald Trump has a mandate from the voters to try to fix what is wrong with the American government, but not many solutions can come out of the White House. The obligation returns to the voters to send honorable men and women into the government, to advise those elected or appointed to government positions, and to honor and respect the government we have created for ourselves. When we are better citizens, then we can produce a better government. Until then, we can only pray for the government that we have made. J.

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22 thoughts on “America Trumped–what comes next?

    • Dear beloved brother SlimJim,

      I had a telephone conversation yesterday with a pastor. His church believes in “keeping the commandments”, and he already knew that 2 Timothy 3:15-16 is a clear reference to the Old Testament, not the New Testament or “The Bible.” I asked him which commandment is the most important one, and he parroted the words of Jesus in Matthew 22, saying this was “The Great Commandment”.

      I pointed out that Jesus was quoting two different commandments, from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18, and I asked him which one was the most important one. He finally acknowledged it was the one in Deuteronomy.

      Then I asked him to open his Bible to Galatians 5:14, and he read it, and finally realized that Paul was quoting Leviticus here, but he still thought, somehow, “Paul was right.” I reminded him that he had just told me that the most important commandment is in Deuteronomy. And then…..
      he hung up on me.
      Your response to truth that you don’t want to face is to delete it.
      Wally Fry’s response is to block it.
      MJThompson’s response is to say “I will not dignify that with a response” and then ignore it.

      “They have learned how to ignore a direct order, how to stall until the order is no longer relevant, and how to distort messages to make them match what they have already decided”- indeed.

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  1. Dear Salvageable,
    You wrote above, regarding government workers QUOTE:
    “They have learned how to pursue their own interests and desires. They have learned how to ignore a direct order, how to stall until the order is no longer relevant, and how to distort messages to make them match what they have already decided. ”

    Another word for “a direct order” is “a commandment”….
    Jesus reminded us of the first and greatest, most important “direct order” in the Law.
    Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

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    • You and I already agreed that Jesus correctly identified Deuteronomy 6:4-5 as the greatest commandment.
      Now, let’s talk about grace. You remarked that Jesus did not use the word grace (Greek–elpis) but Paul did. (By the way, Peter and John did as well.) A word Jesus used more frequently than Paul is blessed (Greek–makarios). It mean a royal gift, a favor, something caused by the goodness of the giver, not by the goodness of the receiver. Do you think that the idea of grace is contrary to the teaching of Jesus? J.

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      • Salvageable,
        What you are saying here is true – you are bringing up peripheral facts that we agree on, but doing “The Evangelical Mexican Hat Dance” around Jumbo the Elephant sitting in the middle of the living room. When it comes to Paul’s teachings, you still “distort messages to make them match what you have already decided. ” You are getting your vocabulary from Paul primarily, not from Jesus, insisting that we use PAUL’s words, ideas, viewpoint, etc. as “the standard” of comparison. This is the fundamental flaw in Evangelical thinking.

        The person, work, and teaching of Jesus Himself should be “THE standard” – not Paul’s theology, or “what Paul really meant”.
        We need to focus on the teachings OF Jesus, revealed through His appointed Apostles (Matthew, John, and written by Mark for Peter and others.)
        Not Paul’s teaching ABOUT Jesus.

        Which commandment is the most important one is good place to start.

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      • Dear Matthew,
        You and I agree that “the person, work, and teaching of Jesus Himself should be the standard” for all Christian study. Beyond that, it seems to me that you are straining at gnats and swallowing camels. The authenticity of Paul’s call to be an apostle of Jesus Christ is not the central question of Christian study. Sure, it’s important. But the grace of God is more important.
        Jesus says he came to fulfill the Law (not to abolish it). What does that mean?
        Jesus says that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. How do we accomplish that?
        Jesus says that we must be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. How can we do that?
        The answer, my friend, is by grace alone. If you are seeking any other way to be right with God, apart from his grace, then you are looking in the wrong place. And if your resentment of Paul is keeping you from seeing the message of grace in the four Gospels and in the epistles of Peter and John, then you are in great spiritual danger. J.

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      • So we agree that some things are “more important” than others.
        Then we should focus first on what is MOST important – wouldn’t that make sense? And have the courage to say that anyone who disagrees with Jesus about which commandment is the Most Important One is WRONG. We should not lapse into “relative truth” like Paul did, when it was exposed that he really was not an apostle. “Oh, but I’m an apostle to YOU!” Can you face the fact that in Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8-10, Paul was wrong?

        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

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      • Are you saying, Matthew, that to Jesus it was more important to identify the Greatest Commandment than it was to know God’s grace through the person and work and teachings of Jesus? J.

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      • You can’t put a commandment into practice if you don’t know what it is. Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments – and He didn’t say they are both equal or equally important or the same. They are not the same. The love of God involves much more than simply Love your fellow man – as I wrote in my poem. Yes, that’s a necessary part – but only part. Jesus quoted the Law of Moses- 2 different commandments. And Jesus never taught on “Grace.” Even if Paul was telling the truth, the only time Jesus spoke that word in the pages of the Bible is a personal word to Paul, one time – using the word Paul himself used so often. Jesus never taught using that term, either before or after his resurrection. it’s an awkward fact. I don’t to twist and force the words of Jesus to fit into Paul’s theology or Paul’s language.

        The Original Sin in the Garden of Eden began in chapter 3, when Eve forgot, or never knew, how many trees were in the middle of the Garden, which one was the first one, and which one had the forbidden fruit. The answer is in Genesis chapter 2. If you have ears hear – hear.

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      • “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). “These are written so you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
        Clearly Jesus had higher priorities for his teaching and work than to prioritize the commandments. You don’t have to call it grace–call it blessing, ransom, forgiveness, or life; it’s all the same to me. Omit that from his mission and Jesus is merely a second Moses, something we do not need. J.

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      • Moses wrote, quoting the voice of God speaking to him:
        “The LORD said to me (to Moses): ‘What you say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.” [Deuteronomy 18:17-18]

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      • Yes, Jesus is the Prophet described by Moses in Deuteronomy 18. He is, however, more than a prophet: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:13-21) From this we learn that he is the Ransom who came to give forgiveness and life. J.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Jesus is many things- The Prophet like Moses, High Priest, King, and Redeemer who paid the ransom….
        Actually, the RISEN Jesus Christ is the only one in all history who could make the claim “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” Paul make that boastful claim about himself, but Paul was wrong. When Jesus walked the earth in the flesh, even Jesus never claimed such a thing, nor did Jesus ever teach others to do that – because it’s impossible.
        So among other things, we DO need a second Moses – and Jesus is him. I’m glad we seem to agree.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post Kept my interest all the way. That’s a major accomplishment. The things you have written are true for every president whoever that may be. I have watched with anticipation to see if anybody could pull off Trump’s victory. I saw him as a man who could/would not be bought; that is what I consider a rarity in government. I also do believe he is a negotiator. I might not like that much when he allows some watering down of my desires, but I believe he is a president for all so that is a plus in his column. I very much wanted to see Supreme Court justices who would honor the constitution. I can not see a society – 73% of which claim to be unhappy with the way things are going – voting for someone who has almost the same philosophy as the president for the last eight years. I was also “cowed” into silence by the Trump haters, so I was not so surprised that I had lots of like-minded people out there So, I’m happy to take a shot at something different. Thanks for taking time to write this well thought out post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Three years ago I perceived that the American voters were wishing for true outsiders to enter the government. I considered a run for Congress on that basis, but of course I don’t have the financial reserves or the name recognition of a Donald Trump. I wish him the best and will be praying for him and for Congress. J.

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      • It is indeed sad that involvement as a candidate for any office is too costly in money and mud! Few have the money and almost everybody has mud someplace if your enemies search long and hard enough! If they can’t find any, one can always be called a wimp or a prude. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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