As the final hours of the Trump presidency ticked down and another President was installed, there were plenty of opinions as to what had been gained, lost, or changed during the Trump administration.
I find myself reflecting on the past four years as well but I actually have a different take from the other opinionators. I say this honestly: am thankful to Donald Trump for a variety of gifts that could not have been possible without him.
Thank you Donald, your leadership has provided a refining experience for me.
Thank you for the good lesson that words matter and reveal what is in our hearts.
Thank you for showing us how fragile truth is. You showed us that, in our own emptiness, we prefer to gobble up whatever misinformation tickles our ears.
Thank you for making it clear that sin has no shame and there are always some willing to sell themselves to anyone who normalizes their cravenness.
Thank you for revealing a living blueprint for fascism. I pray we can learn how vulnerable we are to the power of charismatic personalities and the lust for power. Perhaps you have kept us safe from those dangers for another generation.
Thank you Donald for enlightening me to racism that doesn’t look like I thought it did. You’ve helped me to understand that it manifests itself in the attitudes, ignorance, and careless words of well meaning people.
Thank you for showing me that sexism is still rampant in a culture that pretends it isn’t. Your belittling of women and all those who chose to overlook your “locker room talk” have opened my eyes to a problem that is larger than I realized.
Thank you for uncovering those in my own country of Canada who think like you and would choose to act like you. They have been unclothed and I will be more vigilant against them here in the best country in the world.
Thank you Donald – your strong evangelical support pushed me to re-examine the history of my faith. I’m now beginning to see that truth has been manipulated for years by short-minded influencers in the church.
Thank you for confirming that Jesus is not the first love of many christians. You’ve shown me that truth, honesty, peace, justice, caring for the poor, loving our neighbour are often just footnotes in the pursuit of christian ideals.
Thank you for reminding me that power, influence and money are temporary and will ultimately leave us alone and empty.
I’m doing the final edit of this blog as the U.S. Inauguration Day is winding down and Joe Biden’s term is in its infancy. Yes I’m Canadian but I’ve enjoyed taking it all in just the same.
I can’t help but feel the difference; a sort of weight lifted. The selfishness, crudeness, disorientation and rancour of the past four years have been exhausting for those who love peace.
Most striking was the memorial service on the eve of the inauguration, set aside as a time of remembrance for more than 400,000 citizens who have died during the pandemic. It was a simple act that never occurred to the Trump administration or perhaps just wasn’t worth their effort. At any rate, it encapsulated the contrast perfectly.
We have seen new executives installed who are accomplished, appreciative, who walk causally and laugh freely. Their words of calm and kindness have been a healing ointment. There is now a President who has lived through peaks and valleys and tragedies; who is truly a person of faith, who actually reads his Bible, and who prays as a regular part of his life.
Yes, the air feels fresher today because, for awhile at least, darkness has been pushed back to the edges.
on the other hand
Now to state the obvious: I’m not naive and I am fully aware that Joe Biden is no saviour. There will always be challenges and mistakes and disagreements and selfish agendas and in some ways the next years will be no different.
So, as I have been reminded during the past years, my faith ultimately finds its hope and rest somewhere else. The Psalmist had discovered that same truth:
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
– Psalm 146:3-9, NIV