I hurt for everybody as I watched 60 Minutes last night. I felt a significant aspect of what’s really happening in our country on a deeper level than I’d felt before, and I realized, we’re going to have to dig deeper to heal what’s happening.
First, it’s important for people like me to honor that President Trump does have something to offer. He’s an effective cheerleader for his views because he sincerely believes what he believes, and he understands some significant things about economics. While he lies when convenient for him, he is not the complete “liar” many make him out to be. But he will not seriously consider things that do not support his perception of reality or his agenda. That’s a human weakness we can all fall prey to - that’s why we have to watch ourselves when we decide we’re not going to listen to someone who raises views contrary to ours anymore. We can find ourselves in the position of, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” Our president is there. That in and of itself is unfortunate, but would not necessarily have to be of grave concern. Presidents on both sides have been there before.
What is of grave concern was the president’s attitude when he walked away from the interview. Moments earlier he denied that he said “lock her up” of Michigan Governor Whitmer at a recent rally when he actually said something worse - “Lock ‘em all up.” That’s exactly the kind of thing that leads to good people being kidnapped or locked up down the road in a no longer thoughtful society. As Stahl pressed him on a couple of other things, tensions rose and so did he.
The president just left and didn’t come back. He was simply done with Leslie Stahl. She was no longer worthy of his time, no longer worthy of the respect of finishing the interview he agreed to, of finishing their time together as people or even saying goodbye or goodnight in a proper manner as human beings. She was part of fake news for him, “the enemy of the people,” and he was just done with her - not only as a reporter, but as a person he was just sitting with, she wasn’t worth another moment of his time. Not even worth a brief explanation of his decision and a “Goodnight.” He was just gone.
After awhile, Pence came in and defended the president’s leaving, saying "And the American people know that-- in this time, it's, it's-- it's less about the back and forth with the media, and it's-- it's really more about how we bring this country all the way back.” I saw his point, and could admire his quick reasoning to a degree but felt deep inside what he must not realize - his dismissing of the president’s disdain for those he disagrees with is the main tragedy here. It’s what leads good people to justify doing bad things to other good people - just because the others don’t support their views. It allows inappropriate and unnecessary demonizing of others. Once that’s happening in earnest, all hell can break loose. “Lock ‘em all up” can become quite literal and be applied to good people who are simply on the “other side” and are now seen as the “enemy” because they are on the other side.
If you are still planning on voting for president Trump, please consider what I am saying. If you know me, you know that I am not an extremist. I was a middle of the road, United Methodist minister for 20 years who now runs a pretty chill spiritual center, where I know that we have Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and I am very thankful for each and every person there. I am saying this as clearly as I can for everyone’s sake - what we’re witnessing here is serious stuff. What’s involved here is genuinely unhealthy on a basic, human level. If it goes much further, things could get very serious. It won’t be a question of is America great? It will be a question of is America even on a path that can lead to good? It’s not just that the ends don’t justify the means. These means simply do not lead to good ends.
Basic human respect is basic human respect. We call it “basic” for a reason. It’s foundational to building anything worthwhile. You cannot build anything great among people without it.
Thanks and blessings,