Several times during the Obama administration I listened to Republicans passionately declare, “President Obama is out to destroy the Republican Party.” It was apparent that their collective unconscious was speaking as the seeds of self-destruction were obviously ravaging their party. During the Tea Party hey-day, many GOP stalwarts from earlier Republican Presidential administrations would say such things as, “We’ve been hijacked” in recognition of the incipient catastrophe that was unfolding. And as the Trump madness gained strength during the 2016 campaign, most of his party’s leadership actively opposed him until it became apparent he was going to win then they sheepishly came on board.
Donald Trump is the embodiment of the poison that has been seeking expression in the GOP for decades as the party’s leadership pointedly followed a pathway of dishonesty and fraud, featuring a conspicuous disdain for truth. Their “war on reality” is now on the surface and finds expression almost daily with Trump’s overt and flagrant dishonesty. Stephen Colbert introduced the term “truthiness” several years ago in reference to how media often was very manipulative and dishonest with the news. But now the Trump administration has followed this practice that was so conspicuous in his campaign with an even more overt disavowal of basic standards of truth. Trump and his staff now openly declared that he has the right to say whatever is on his mind regardless of whether or not it is valid according to prevailing standards of truth and non-truth.
The failure to respect truth in this self-destructive tendency of the GOP puts on the table the over whelming support of evangelical Christians. These purported champions of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be, “The Way, the Truth, and Life” are openly supporting this man who is the blatant antithesis to the fundamental tenets of the teachings of Jesus. I suspect that many of them now see they’ve been duped but, suffering from the same spiritual malady of Trump, they cannot utter the simple words, “I made a mistake” even though their very valid faith permits them to do so if they have the humility to admit human flaw.
The irony is that challenges to Trump’s moral and spiritual integrity have come, not from these evangelicals, but from those who do not wear their faith on their sleeve or who are not even Christian. For example, Kazir Khan was the first to openly question the moral character of Trump. And more recently, Congressman Mark Sanford (see yesterday’s blog) and Senator John McCain have boldly stated the obvious that Trump has trouble separating “truth from lies.” (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/18/john-mccain-savages-donald-trump-administration-inability-separate-truth-from-lies
Though no longer an evangelical, I still have a passionate conviction that life is a spiritual enterprise. As someone said, and I paraphrase, “Mankind is a spirit having an earthly moment.” In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, the “Cosmic Christ’ is seeking expression in the whole of this cosmic enterprise that we are inextricably caught up in. It is important that men and women of spiritual sensitivity be present to speak “truth to power” on occasion and that can’t be done when one’s “spirituality” consists primarily of sterile dogma and rhetoric. I am very impressed with people such as Mark Sanford and John McCain who have faith of an “uncanned” variety and who aren’t wearing their “faith” on their sleeve. Those who do carry only this simplistic faith Shakespeare described with the following keen wisdom:
When love (i.e. “faith”) begins to sicken and decay,/It useth an enforced ceremony./There are no tricks in plain and simple faith./But hollowmen, like horses hot at hand,/Make gallant show and promise of their mettle.
When “Truth” is not given reverence and allowed to permeate the whole of our being, individually and collectively, self-destruction is encouraged as illustrated by the Republicans. Again, as Shakespeare put it, we then begin to “feed even on the pith of life.”