It seems this election cycle comes down to a choice between Caricature or Conniver in Chief.
To support Caricature in Chief presents extreme dissonance. He actually said he’s “never needed to ask for forgiveness.” I thought only Jesus could make that claim. Caricature broadcasts an echo chamber of clichés and slogans amplified by bravado, oblivious to the absence of substance. How did bluster without details ever build all those buildings and businesses? Apparently one needs to be very cautious and lawyered up when doing business with him. Granted, every story has at least two sides and, to be sure, somehow in the business world he gets things done.
However, do swagger and imperiousness honor the Oval office and serve the people? We’ve had a taste of both recently and America is struggling even more - racially, economically, in foreign relations and morally.
Does Trump remind anyone else of a genetic mashup of Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy and Looney Tunes’ Yosemite Sam?
On the other side, supporting Conniver in Chief rings with grinding disharmony, requiring a suspension of reason, wisdom and common sense. Madam Conniver is kindred to Community Organizer in Chief who proclaimed "You can keep your doctor and your coverage.” Can anyone who perpetually foxtrots around the truth with such ease and tenacity ever be trusted?
How thick must Conniver’s skin be to stand in front of grieving families and lie to their faces about the death of their loved ones knowing she disregarded their urgent calls for additional security measures for months? And abandoned them in the heat of battle? All for the sake of avoiding any odor of blame and maintaining the perception of credibility during and election cycle. Irony amplified by actual spilling of life blood becomes infamy.
Conniver also has her own echo chamber of clichés and slogans hammered by the Democrats for 50 years including the “righteous” battle cry, “the rich need to pay their fair share.” IRS fact: top 10% of earners (making over $150K, which is not rich) pay 71% of the taxes while earning only 43% of the income. Nearly 47% of Americans pay very little and often no federal income tax. Fair for crusaders like Conniver translates to “free” as in “free-loaders.” The same policies of tax and “invest” have have not worked. So, why think they will this time? Because Conniver will be in charge?
(FYI: In 2015 the Clintons “donated” 96% of their charitable giving, $1 million dollars to their favorite charity, The Clinton Foundation, Vice Chair, Chelsea Clinton.)
And then there’s the epic intrigue of her private (spelled: clandestine) server and email. Subpoenaed then deleted. Her co-conniver and political enforcer Bill meets with chief law enforcer on the threshold of FBI revelations and voila! A shocking (orchestrated?) failure to bring charges. Meanwhile her minions slouch behind the fifth amendment and gift basket of FBI immunities (free avoid jail cards). Amid all her effort to hide so much Conniver claims to be “the most transparent” figure in public life. Huh? (Cue the fingernails on chalkboard.)
All in all, if anyone can navigate around Hillary’s decades-long record of dishonesty and untrustworthiness and check the box by her name in November, remind me to be very cautious about going into business together or you having my back in a pinch.
Clearly both of these humans have drunk from the ample cup of hubris along the way. Haven’t we all had a sip – or two - at least?
Fortunately, our own hubris doesn’t land most of us in the glaring national spotlight, or put any of us beyond the reach of God’s redeeming hand, including connivers and caricatures. The heart of the matter is this: as a nation and as individuals, we need a spiritual reset and renewal…a revival. Transformation of a nation or community begins with transformed hearts and souls.
However, if revival delays past November 8, this much seems clear: “we the people” need more than another cagey, career politician or a swashbuckling billionaire. We know what we get with the first. Politician has become synonymous with perception manager at the least and at worst – a very practiced and polished liar. The second option might work great in a movie but will a Tony Stark wannabe make our country great, or more greatly distressed?
We need a leader.
Herein lies more dissonance: neither candidate appears to be a wholly admirable leader except to those who benefit directly from their momentum and largesse (spelled: cash). But both are highly effective pied pipers with great production staffs who back light him in smoke to classic rock and roll or extoll her in the mellifluous tones of an iconic actor who so winsomely played God.
We mortals simply have to settle for natural sunlight without a Morgan Freeman narration transforming our mundane daily lives into noble stories of overcoming Thoreau’s quiet desperation, while the media masters of the masses live luxuriously on our dime and adulation. Does all this tension and drama leave anyone else hungry for an alternate ending to the story?
Imagine this far-fetched scenario: What if Hillary did what is difficult for all of us, just came clean? Shot straight. Imagine her coming clean whatever the consequences. Picture her saying, “Regrettably, I have knowingly misled the American people about a number of things. And even lied to myself about the truth for the sake of appearances. I’m ready to face the consequences whatever they are.” Coming clean might cost her the Oval office – or not. But she could actually finish well, be revered by most instead of reviled by many. Wouldn’t that give her grandchildren a truly shining legacy? What's that thing Jesus said about gaining the whole world (a limitless fortune and presidential library) but losing your soul?
There are connivers aplenty in the Bible and in history. (Jacob whose name meant “deceiver” for example) Some were humbled and some resisted to the bitter end.
As for Donald, what if he stepped out from behind the bluster, the hairspray and makeup, laid down the verbal chainsaw, unplugged from the IV of bravado and raised the bar on substance. Imagine him saying publicly “I have hurt a lot of people with this big mouth and ego and I have asked God for forgiveness and I’m asking you as well.” And what if he did that privately to individual targets of that hurt? Imagine if he followed up with financial reparations to anyone he short-sheeted in business. Like Zacheus, repaying 4X the damage inflicted. Character could eclipse caricature.
Now THAT would be newsworthy. After all, people rally to character, humility, authenticity and honesty. But apparently we the “sheeple”, as someone has called us, also form chanting lines (and violent riots) behind well-funded, pied pipers of slogans, rhetoric and grandiose promises of security, prosperity and free stuff dispensed from the greedy hands and tax-swollen teats of the gargantuan government sow. (Oooh, sorry for stamping that image in your head. Maybe I should have back-lit it in smoke and hired Morgan Freeman to deliver the lines?)
God and history have dealt decisively with dishonest and arrogant rulers and nations. They are not beyond his influence. “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1) But clearly, the Supreme Judge, wise dispenser of justice, mercy and free will gives us a lot of latitude to connive or come clean, choose caricature over character.
I plan to vote this November 8 with a less than enthusiastic heart, still secure that God, not any pied piper, masterful production staff, iconic actor or sheeple’s “champion” is ultimately in charge of history, nations, truth, justice and the redemption offered to the conniver and caricature in us all.
Maybe I’ll just console myself by writing in a true-blue, proven leader who combines the wisdom, values and goodness of Andy Griffith with the energy and innovation of Phineas Flynn. When I find such a candidate, I’ll let you know.