In part 1, we looked at the politics of the dragon and politics of the Lamb and began to ask how we might consider voting in this presidential election. In part 2, we are looking at the two candidates themselves. In part 3, we will try to imagine what the politics of the Lamb might look like and how that might guide us this political season. The opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect the stances of any church or organization.
So, back to our two candidates. Which – Mr Trump or Secretary Clinton – more faithfully promotes the values of the Lamb? Which more consistently demonstrates the politics of the dragon? Let’s start with Mr Trump. Well, Trump consistently exhibits the behaviors and habits of the dragon in his personal life – lies, promoting self, greed and coercion, suggesting kinds of false worship, unfaithfulness to his spouses, pride, failure to repent. He may claim to agree with Evangelicals on a few key issues – abortion and religious liberty – but it is hard to see where his lies end and the heart of his understanding of the world begins. What we can see with some clarity is that his whole understanding of the world would not be out of place in the city built by the dragon. His greed, his unstable relationship to truth, his allergy to repentance or humility, his objectification of women and minorities, his disturbing insecurity, his persistent impulsiveness. He says so many contradictory or deceitful things that it’s hard to know what he actually believes in. The only thing we can know for sure that Trump does believe in is himself. And there is no more succinct definition of the politics of the dragon than promotion of self. In both character and world view, Mr Trump fails to exhibit the politics of the Lamb.
Then, Clinton? She has cultivated a career of service and seems to have a firm sense of the honor and decency that a president must display. As far as we know, she has remained faithful to her husband, despite his adulteries. Other than that, well, she, like Trump, seems to have a tenuous relationship to the truth. She has had her share of scandals and flip-flops and has been caught in numerous lies. Perhaps, as some say, that’s just what happens when you are in the public eye as long as she has been. Perhaps. Though I think it more likely that she has some serious character flaws and an overgrown ambition that has done real harm to her soul. They are few, but there are some important public figures who have been as watched as Mrs Clinton for longer than she without major scandals or deceptions. There have even been some who have overcome scandals simply by the force of their good name and character. That seems unlikely to be a benefit of the Clinton name. So, Secretary Clinton’s character seems more decent than Mr Trump’s, while falling far short of the “faithful witness” of the saints who make up the Lamb’s army. What about her understanding of the world? Could she be one of these flawed individuals who builds their lives on truth? I’m inclined to answer, “hardly”. The stances she takes up (outside of attempts to care for the poor, minorities, and women – not minor issues, to be sure) are based in the untruths of the world of the dragon. Her fights for abortion, war, sexual morality based on false understandings of humanity, and her worship at the altars of money and power all indicate that her sense of reality is based in unreality. Like Trump, Clinton is thoroughly invested in the politics of the dragon.
Is there a candidate on the ballot who faithfully witnesses to the politics of the Lamb? I’m happy to say that I have seen signs of Lamb-like politics within one new political party – the American Solidarity Party, though they will not make the ballot in all or most states in 2016. So, where does that leave us? Well, through the lens of American politics, that leaves us with holding our noses to vote for a beastly candidate or hoping that a third party candidate can make some inroads this year. But “American politics” is hardly a wide lens. A better lens would be a Kingdom one. We’ll look at that Kingdom lens on politics in part 3.