Annual Review: A renewed commitment to resistance


Annual Review 2016
A renewed commitment to resistance

2016 may prove to be either a short blip of craziness in the annals of history or the beginning of a prolonged period of craziness (God help us). Whichever it turns out to be, “crazy” is the operable word, especially when we consider the jaw-dropping political transformations that marked the year, along with the acceleration of entropy in the media.

As we stand at the edge of 2017, I have made a decision, a resolution if you will. I have renewed my commitment to be an agent of resistance against the kinds of jingoism and certainty that I believe will lead us exactly the wrong way in this world.

These are not the qualities that will ever value or promote or bring about the common good. They will divide rather than unify. They will be destructive rather than constructive. They go directly against the kingdom ethic of Jesus, who commended the merciful, the peacemakers, and the pure of heart. (Where were they in 2016?)

• • •

Let me give two examples of my renewed commitment to resistance.

Resisting President Trump and the politics of jingoism

Right after the presidential election this past year, I made a pledge not to engage in discussion or debate about political matters in public (such as on the blog, on social media, and in public discourse) for a long while. Just how long, I  don’t know, but I labeled it a four-year fast. I’m sure I won’t stay quiet the whole time, especially if some of my fears are realized, but let’s just say I won’t be spouting off on every little antic of our soon-to-be Tweeter-in-Chief, the clown show that calls themselves the Republican party, or the tragically impotent Democrats.

However, below is a summary of what I said consistently throughout the past year with regard to politics, particularly the presidential election that dominated public attention. I did not vote for either of the two major party candidates, and was bummed out (to say the least) that these were the only choices with any possibility of winning the election.

But I had much, much stronger and focused opinions about one of the candidates, and I persist in those opinions now that he has won the office. If he had lost, I would happily let him fade away into the pages of history. However, since he won, and we now face the prospect of living with his leadership for the next four years, I will state my settled opinion and let it rest there.

If someone asks me what I think of our incoming President Trump, I now have a standard answer:

During the election I was an adamant “Never-Trump-er.” Nothing I have seen since he won has changed my mind in the least.

This year small percentage of the American people elected the most spectacularly unqualified and unfit person ever put forth seriously as a presidential candidate. He turned our elections into an embarrassing, shameful sideshow and singlehandedly set the state of civic (and civil) discourse in our country back 150 years. He has zero experience in government, has likely never even read the Constitution, and has shown little or no interest in learning about affairs of state. He has a record of being immoral, corrupt, secretive, devious, pompous, narcissistic, cruel, and relentlessly self-promoting in his personal and business career. I see little evidence that he has any actual positions or policies, and there is no reason to believe he will keep any of his promises. The very idea of him as POTUS has always been laughable and inconceivable to me. If he becomes an even passable political leader, somehow not doing profound harm to our country and its future, then I will be one of the most surprised people on earth. Whatever happens, hang on: we are in for a wild ride.

I now consider myself a member of the resistance. I will not rant and rave (most “speaking up” is highly overrated) but I will try to remain steadfast in working for the common good, and against the current regime wherever possible.

I do not want to nor will I discuss Mr. Trump any further unless something so egregious happens that I think comment is required. There has been so much unnecessary and unprofitable talk over this past year, I think maybe we’ve used up our quota for a long time to come. It is time for action, for good works, for building a better civic and political infrastructure by supporting public servants rather than celebrities and ideologues.

• • •

Resisting the True Believers™

It has been a hallmark of Internet Monk to resist and critique these folks, and the rise of tribal groups proclaiming their righteousness and virtue over this past year has led me to commit to being even stronger in my resistance to this approach to life.

There are a lot of True Believers™ out there, or at least they are vocal and persistent in expressing their zero-sum game view of the world.

Whether it is the true believers of a particular political party or policy, theological “certain-tists” like Young Earth Creationists, neo-Puritans, radical complementarians, inerrantists and biblicists who insist upon seeing Scripture as a book miraculously dropped from heaven and who use it as a magic totem, rulebook, and hammer, progressive Christians who read back their pet contemporary social issues back into the words of Jesus and assume his blessing on every modern liberation movement, prosperity Gospel hucksters who demand seed money for blessing, relentless evangelists for outside-the-mainstream “solutions” sold through multi-level marketing businesses, the self-help industry, and religious media, propagandists for every conceivable left or right-wing cause, conspiracy theorists of all types who build complex but tiny worlds of suspicion and intrigue, and those who promote a tribal view of the world and can’t envision “truth” or “justice” beyond the boundaries of their own group and its interests.

I am just not tribal like that. I just don’t think life is as black and white as all that. I don’t think there are “answers” that are as clear as that. I don’t think we can be as “certain” as all that. I don’t think God wants us to be as parochial, narrow, purblind, separatistic, insular, and self-absorbed, self-sure, and self-promoting as that.

The way I see it, God has not spoken or acted like that. Nor has he called us to act that way.

True Believers™ insist upon a world in which the “answers” are clear, but to truly secure them we must sign up for their side without delay. They proclaim that their team can do little or no wrong and that it will inevitably win. After all, The Truth™ is on their side. Or History™ is on their side. Or The Experts™ agree with them. Or, polls suggest that The People™ are really on their side. Or, the ultimate American trump card: It Really Works!™

When questioned and criticized, we must circle the wagons and defend our side at all costs. Doubt and weakness and compromise with “them” (whoever “them” is) must be avoided at all costs. Politically correct language must be learned and spoken at all times lest we offend our own tribe or cause others to stumble. Every tenet must be held tightly and never lightly.

Remove one piece from the Jenga tower, and the whole structure will inevitably collapse — that’s what they fear.

There is no tolerance for the mess, for being in the wilderness, for doubting and having weak faith, for questioning or listening to other voices, for wavering in any way from the party line. Disagreement equals disloyalty. The slightest compromise breeds heresy and disarray. Open the door a crack and the house and everything within will become unclean.

If anything, this past year has helped me appreciate the wilderness as a place of refuge from the unrelenting “should” of certainty and the zero-sum-game perspective. That well-landscaped purported utopian paradise is, in fact, oppressive and deadly.

Jesus Christ is Lord, and the greatest of all virtues is love.

That’s about the extent of my certainty, and it’s the team I want to play for in 2017.

104 thoughts on “Annual Review: A renewed commitment to resistance

  1. and so it will begin ……. but if I see one more T supporter do the sieg-heil straight-arm salute, I shall go mad …….

    Which was actually the old Roman Salute, adopted by Mussolini’s Fascisti (via Il Duce’s Roman Fanboying) and then plagiarized by the German Fascits.


  2. It’s ok. Just wanting to see if there is any area I can help. All I can do is bear witness to what’s been beneficial to me and share it with others.


  3. Quite aware of that and thought it was to appear as one giving reflective thought to whatever before an answer. Others have been good at that too. Trump is kind of like a trumpet and just blasts before he thinks too often. I do believe he is capable of thinking and changing his mind despite the blasts. Hoping so.


  4. He may have been a great actor, but President “uh…uh…uh…uh” wasn’t very good at delivering his lines.


  5. I’m sorry Stu about the pins and needles thing. It isn’t an emotion for me. It comes out of the blue mostly and I don’t know why it did from your comment. Sometimes it just grabs my attention and it leaves like a wave that just goes over me. Please pay that part no mind if it bothered you as I should have just left it out. It was the first thing to have happened after reading your comment. Delayed a little and weird ed me out.


  6. Never did anything worthwhile without the spirit. Thought years ago there was a new wave happening. Can’t remember the year as they run to much together anymore. Glad to see it still alive and will keep looking. Haven’t let the Holy Spirit have the freedom with me lately. Sort of being stuck in deep mud and it seems to stretch to the horizon. I guess I’ll head that way and keep looking because I don’t know what to do at the moment. Hope the sun comes out and starts to dry this muck.


  7. paraphrasing W.B. Yeats:

    ‘and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Washington D.C. to be enthroned’ ?

    and so it will begin ……. but if I see one more T supporter do the sieg-heil straight-arm salute, I shall go mad ……. I’m too old for this, I cannot look at the man in the high tower and see someone I can respect, no …… can I respect his office? yes But will that be ‘enough’? Or will he want more in the way of ‘loyalty’ to himself personally? And how will he punish those who stand in his way when he seeks to harm our marginalized people??? Questions, worries, prayers, little hope left, but I think even God can bring some good out of this mess ….. how? …… how indeed


  8. I know what your saying Stuart just got that pins and needles thing…strange….Maybe an old dog can learn something. It isn’t the manual labor bit so much as the forces that direct it and put time limits on it and push schedules that are ridiculous and people who draw stuff that takes tons of work if it can even be done and then it never seems to satisfy so many anymore. Joy has seemed to leave the work I have loved taught to me by my earthly father and blessed by a heavenly. I remember being so far over my head and praying for directions for my hands so I could have made something and buy food. Oh I was young then. Made a bed to lie down in. It will be okay because there isn’t a choice. He said look at the lilies of the field., I tell you not even Solomon has dressed like these. How much more important are you. Don’t worry what you will wear or eat your Father in heaven already knows your need. I’ve always believed it and honestly never doubted it and He has over and over again. Honestly I don’t know why He loves us the way He does to come as Christ and let a man like me pound the nails in. Talk about breaking a heart , that hammer hit mine. I’m really going to think about what you said.


  9. Ok, but I have to believe there’s ways you can improve your life, that it doesn’t have to be all manual labor til the day you die, even in small things. Simple things that can be of immense benefit.


  10. Hmm. And here I have no real desire to see it in theatres again, because once was enough and it’s not going to change. And I’m a huge Star Wars fan…

    Maybe I’ll go to a midnight showing.


  11. Good thing HUG the 70’s are over and almost all people will probably get a good news surprise. Of course knowing in an instant could be quite powerful. Knowing…….what a complete man might become and how that would change things


  12. You have no examples, just repeated Trumpian talking points and propaganda. You insult my intelligence if you think I will make up evidence to suit your prejudice.


  13. If I can get somewhat ethereal here, the Holy Spirit pours into you when life presents big moments. This feels somewhat like one of those. The spirit enters in a purposed state that grabs our attention. It’s a call to spiritual arms, a ten hut. It feels like a time that requires vigilance. I know that is stating the obvious but I don’t think it is just us. I think the Spirit is behind the call. That is a prediction of nothing, simply an observation of what seems to be. It’s one thing if we get all riled by a whacky politician or political mood and quite another if the Spirit leads us to a state of vigilance for who knows what. I sense a depth of spirit here that has not been so evident in the last little while.


  14. I see rampant TDS all over the place in the news and on social media. I’ve had to unfollow lots of people on Facebook these past few months for that reason. (I also unfollowed people who had major CDS.) I haven’t seen a campaign or election like this before in my lifetime. Crazy!!


  15. I’m with you. Feckless and petulant only begins to describe the person who has occupied the Oval Office for the last eight years. January 20 can’t come soon enough.

    Grace and Peace and Happy New Year! See you in 4.


  16. There are a lot of True Believers™ out there…

    Idealist generations like the Baby Boomers are full of True Believers with the One True Way.

    And the Universe cannot have two Centers. Or two One True Ways.

    So part ot being a True Believer is the extermination of other One True Ways. Every Other One. When there are no more Infidels, start on the Heretics. When there are no more Heretics, start on the Apostates. When there are no more Apostates, discover what predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey. The Hard Way.

    By the time Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge kill orders had broadened to the point that their last decree before they fell was Exterminate All Who Were Not Khmer Rouge Party Members BEFORE the takeover. Because only those could be the REAL True Believers.

    …, or at least they are vocal and persistent in expressing their zero-sum game view of the world.

    Summary of the Zero-Sum Game: Since there is only so much to go around, the only way to get more for me is to take it away from you. The only way for me to Win is to Make You Lose. The only way to climb up is to crush the Other down.


  17. Heather,
    He may badmouth globalization, and even start a trade war with China to provide proof that he puts America First, but his Cabinet could accurately be called “Elites R Us”. I guess his supporters chose the wrong guy to speak for them on that score, huh?


  18. We can trash the Trump voters, but he was the only choice they had to “talk back” to the globalization-enchanted elites. Bernie might have done it, but he was stopped by the DNC, probably to their present chagrin.

    But nobody could be permitted to stand in the way of Hillary’s Ascension to the Iron Throne.
    Same with Joe Biden, who like both Trump and Bernie spoke direct and plain, instead of every word ghosted by spinmeisters and vetted in advance by focus groups before being recited off the Teleprompter.


  19. Every presidential election for the past 16-24 years has brought with it a President Derangement Syndrome among True Believers. Obama Derangement Syndrome with the Birthers, Bush Derangement Syndrome with the Truthers, Clinton Derangement Syndrome… How much of this is the latest go-round, Trump Derangement Syndrome?



    Which according to polls is the most popular “what would you like to see” in government among Millenials — “Strong Leader”. Without a crisis like the Great Depression plus WW2 to forge them in the fire, Millenials are just becoming Baby Boomer Mini-Mes and More So.


  21. We are all the same people we were before this election. It’s not going to turn anyone into a monster that wasn’t already one. CM, you’re a good man, and just being who you are is an ongoing resistance to the forces of hatred.

    We elected a president, not a king. Yes, he’s got the Congress and the Supreme Court, which is dismal, but not necessarily disastrous. Congress will block his wackier attempts because the members want to be re-elected. The government bureaucrats, who are the real power in this country and thank heaven for it, will evade, slow down, stumble — whatever they need to do to preserve the functions of the country (and their jobs). Call me a cynic or a cock-eyed optimist, but I believe this.

    We can trash the Trump voters, but he was the only choice they had to “talk back” to the globalization-enchanted elites. Bernie might have done it, but he was stopped by the DNC, probably to their present chagrin.

    I also recall that Jesus was born into a political situation startlingly like this, but without any checks on the tyrant at all. Surely even the most horrified of the anti-Trump people can’t envision him ordering the open slaughter of a bunch of American infants, a la Herod. Jesus resisted, and we can follow His example just as far as our courage will take us (not sure mine will take me very far, but I’ll try).

    Courage, folks. I do believe we’ll make it.


  22. Glad you have had some luck may it continue. Me No one in my family made it past 60 doing what I do. This year was tough. Maybe I will but my actual plan is to die and never stop working. I don’t want to stop working and probably will push it to hard someday. Then you won’t hear me anymore. Might be a good thing who knows. Look me up when you pass through I hope to be on the crew laying the streets with gems for good people to walk on. Maybe build a shower or 2 out of jade and exotic stone cut to precision so it would be a nice thing to work with. I hate standing around. Probably have some time to feed the cats too. Still a chat with someone here and there would be sort of nice.


  23. Doubt the government of Jesus would look like anything we have ever seen. Certainly would not be capitalist or dictatorship or socialist.

    During my time in-country in the Seventies, there was a big faction who looked forward to it being a Totalitarian Dictatorship (“HE IS LOOORD!”) with themselves (the Saved) as the Inner Ring. Even Dobson radio-spoke about “preparing for our eternal Jobs in Christ’s Kingdom” while others radio-gushed over “HE SHALL RULE WITH A ROD OF IRON! NO SIN WILL BE TOLERATED! AT ALL!” — put the two together and what would you think?


  24. The vote also broke along urban-vs-rural fault lines.
    The cities went blue for Hillary, the countryside went red for Trump.


  25. I know some fundamentalist folks who talk the same way. They are premillennial , waiting for the rapture-Armageddon types, who want to hurry things along.

    During the heyday of Hal Lindsay, I was immersed in them. I called the attitude “Christians For Nuclear War”, and they were VERY enthusiastic. (any minute now… any minute now… any minute now…)

    The more Trump shakes up the world, the sooner their predictions will take place.



  26. I see your point Dr. and unlike Ken I cannot tell who is being dishonest or disingenuous I just can’t find some one that I would want to vote for. Picking the least worst goes against what I believe in. Intellectual suicide…..okay I can lump that all together. Sorry, How do you say that with the name. It’s kind of funny.


  27. OK, but there are very angry and frightened people about. I have heard the same statement, from multiple people, who were not in a joking mood.

    Like all the John Galt Celebrity Impersonators who came out of the woodwork after the 2008 elections, quoting Atlas Shrugged (FACT! NOT FICTION!) chapter-and-verse as Prophecy Fulfilled?


  28. Daniel is superb at what he does, but he is also a kind, thoughtful, intelligent commenter when he’s not being a right–wing Poe. Well worth seeing in action.


  29. What’s scary CM about your post is that you would be resisting every aspect of my mother’s life if she were still alive.

    The 50+ year ride was interesting at times but on the whole depressing for me and my brothers.

    When I run into these things now I run away. But now that it’s at the top of the government, OY VEY.

    So to wrap this up, if you need help. Ask. I’ll do what I can.


  30. Anyone with eyes and ears who has been paying attention for the last eight years can cite many, many examples. They don’t need be trotted out once again just to satisfy you. They are many and obvious. I won’t insult your intelligence; please don’t insult mine.


  31. w, have you ever looked into resources to help you out some, like ways to invest, ways to automate savings, places to turn over a little extra profit, etc? I’ve had some amazing luck recently doing some simple things, things that took like 5 minutes, that have paid off significantly, even if it’s just made my life easier and not gotten me ahead.


  32. “I have for some time suspected that Trump wants to know how it feels to use a nuclear weapon”



  33. Awww c’mon the man leaving was a great actor. The man coming in can’t act at all sometimes unless he’s going to sell you something. Now come to think of it there are similarities. Go figure politics and all.


  34. I grew up as a little boy watching Vietnam unfold on T V the blood and the stories. Peaceful protests on civil rights Bombings of little girls in a church in Alabama. Watch as North Vietnam ran over the south in 75. Cried my eyes out that night as I couldn’t understand why 50,000 plus young men lost their lives while we watched. Nixon even told the North if you invade our B-52’s will come back. The only thing that brought them back to the table to begin with. We vaccinate the children and the Viet Cong would cut their arms off.

    I only bring it up because back then I would cry myself to sleep asking God why would you put me in a place like this? I don’t understand. Why are we doing this stuff to each other? I was a little boy. I cried so hard when watching Brian’s song the movie. My mom couldn’t understand. I cried and cried and cried and cried, I couldn’t stop. I have to say the cuts on my soul have been reinforced through life.

    Now I drive down an interstate where people will die to save a few minutes. It’s a meat grinder with all the grease spots from animals. I work physically hard to try and pay my bills caught in a system where I can’t see another choice. My second wife as I am sad to say ( only because I got divorced and I never thought I would) works hard too but not in the same way and her money is hers because she makes more than I. I can’t file with her as it would take to much from me at the end of the year.

    At times I find myself asking what the little boy did. Sometimes I don’t know still. All I can hear is because I put you there for now. I have to trust Him because there isn’t a choice. Just like dying. Yet still I hope…….I hope because I choose to. The extreme beauty mixed with the gruesome and I’m somewhere in between. I have no choice in so many things except hope. I can still hope and choose it with ………fill it in if you want.

    Man never was the answer. Governments, Bibles ( although a great book), theologies and whatever. He hung on a cross and what a way to be King. We got an answer from God. How do we put in practice without Him. I don’t know. This is the world I live in. It’s a hard place sometimes. I guess this T guy could use a lot of prayer and maybe some light might break a heart. I don’t know. Does anyone know if a 1000 years was literal or a metaphor for a long time. I don’t know much about end times because I always thought it a waste of time. Can’t do anything about it but trust and the 1000 always gave me some hope. If someone can expand please do. If your going to be negative well make it harder on me. Why not?


  35. P.s. Maybe we are not better than “both sides” but I’ll bet we are better than one. I’m not sure which but I’m sure we’re better than one. Wait, no. We’re better than both of them. We’re the best, you’re right. We need to form some good dogmas to clearly define our group so we can keep track of who’s in and who’s out. Good work Dot. It’s coming together nicely.


  36. Yes. There are a lot of decent American people. We can stand with one another when the T’s go after some of us personally because we know the legacy of turning people over to ‘authority’ for the wrong reasons and what horrors that encourages.

    The T’s have ‘marked’ out their most obvious targets, but they will be taking ‘names’ of resistors also who stand with their countrymen. So there is a price to pay for honor. Still, to be among the loyal resistance is one active way to work honorably FOR seeing that right is done. New ‘laws’ may come soon, but what is ‘legal’ is not always ‘right’. So we must look to another model to judge what is good and honorable. Our Judeo-Christian values (not the far-right evangelical nonsense) will help us now.

    I feel strongly for our military young. My family includes three of them and I am fearful for their welfare, yes. But I am also ‘at war’ now against something that ‘hates’ and wants to make me ‘hateful’ and seeks my allegiance to something unspeakable. So I join the ranks of the loyal resistance with no regrets.


  37. David (and also John), where you see composure, studiousness, and a considered approach in the Outgoing Occupant(tm), I definitely see immoral, corrupt, secretive, devious, narcissistic, pompous, cruel, and relentlessly self-promoting. Oh, yeah. Definitely. Also, what he says is usually diametrically opposed to what he does. He can’t leave soon enough.


  38. I know some fundamentalist folks who talk the same way. They are premillennial , waiting for the rapture-Armageddon types, who want to hurry things along. The more Trump shakes up the world, the sooner their predictions will take place. If I have dinner with these folks, the rapture always comes into the conversation. They really care very little about the environment, preventing war, healthcare, or any other problems we are faced with. The one exception is abortion. How they fit this into their previous argument is a logical somersault, but that doesn’t matter. The world they seem to want is one I’d be extremely hesitant to bring a child into. To think that God will care for an extremely suicidal society? Maybe so. Maybe I’m just depressed from living through 2016, and then wondering what 2017 will bring that is better.


  39. Yes Ken I am like you I just can’t vote anymore. Haven’t just like you. I find it so hard to believe in a country of over 300 million the best we can do is what we have seen. Depressing at best. Somebody told me Putin was worth 85 to 90 billion. Can’t imagine that and still wanting, can only mean I need power or the opposite I want to serve my country. I’m betting on the first one though in that case.

    My wife’s health insurance is 1200 a month with a 5000 deductible. I just pay fines and I’ll die first. Piss on it. I saw a man who had a chance for real change. It was a nice slogan. I still believe we need it too. If I would apply through the program my choice of one carrier would be mine. I simply can’t afford it…I have very little faith in man. I think it’s there but without the one man it would be impossible. Doctors never save any ones life but prolong it they do sometimes at great expense and I am not talking about money. My neighbor died Christmas eve after a 5 year fight with cancer. The last 3 from my view seemed like hell on earth for his wife and him. Pretty expensive. My sister died from the complications of chemo but the cancer would have killed her. Couldn’t tell you which would have been better. Sure we might cure it someday and if those that are called to do it should.
    Me I can’t afford it.

    Got off track. Doubt the government of Jesus would look like anything we have ever seen. Certainly would not be capitalist or dictatorship or socialist. Kingdom come thy will be done. Get the feeling people would do what they were called to do and learn to live and love and share and take care of the things we have and marvel at what we actually have. Maybe for the first time actually know it and what it means to Him. Know intimately.

    My hope is that. My dreams have always been that. Loving people seems to be the hardest for me. Hope HE can help me with that. I sure need it with what these eyes have seen. Always that line doctor my eyes. Can you tell me what they see? I always have a hard time through the tears.


  40. “what could be more powerful than ordering the launch of a nuke?”

    little late to think about this …….. the Destroyer of Worlds is ascending his throne


  41. My favorite recent happening was when a government department was approached by the T supporters and asked for a list of those who worked actively on climate control and preserving the environment. The T folk wanted NAMES.

    The department refused to give names.


    If I could say I’m proud of my country, I am. Very.
    We still know what is going down and we still recognize evil when we see it.

    The T folk aren’t very subtle, are they? And that makes saying ‘NO’ even easier.


  42. Well, Captain, you continue to resist. How stupid of you. Put him in that chair right here. I’ve arranged a small entertainment. I wouldn’t want him to miss any of it. Well, Captain, even you must admit that I’m a genius. What you see here is my latest invention. This is an explosive, the most powerful one in history. If I were to drop this flask, the resulting explosion would vaporise this planet. Now do you see why it is ridiculous to resist me?

    —Garth, an inmate in a lunatic asylum, to Captain James T. Kirk. Star Trek episode Whom Gods Destroy


  43. But if the new administration becomes even a tenth as bad as Assad’s government, I will start calling it a regime. I guess I’m with CNN.


  44. I appreciate that. I knew the audience and tone here so felt it was not going to encourage violent thoughts.

    Really enjoyed the movie though- saw it twice. It’s a different tone.


  45. Yup. But there’s another angle to it: 80% or so of white evangelical voters went for trump; for black evangelical voters, the number was 20% or so. That tells me the support for trump was about something other than faith. That tells me the vote broke along fault lines that mirror those in our culture rather than from a worldview rooted in the oneness of Christ. I left American evangelicalism several years ago, but never entirely ruled out going back until this election. I don’t think I’m alone.


  46. Ah, Mule, thanks, you warm my heart, which sorely needed it this morning. It was like when I walked into my Quaker meeting after the election and there was this thick cloud of anger, fear, and division. What’s wrong with this picture? These are Christians, sire. Oh, I see. An interesting approach, to stir the pot by vowing not to stir the pot. Earthling, your resistance is futile! Mule, your instincts in catching the story line are good but you might want to get a bigger net. Yes, Virginia, there be dragons! Thanks again for the boost. My unasked for advice to you, as to all, stay tuned. And unplug your TV. ~Charley


  47. This kind of attempted false equivalence has been a running political theme in the past year. I’m not buying it. There is no comparison. Nothing personal, but 1) the evidence just isn’t there, and 2) it tends to legitimate a person whose behavior is utterly beyond the pale.


  48. I have for some time suspected that Trump wants to know how it feels to use a nuclear weapon. The recent tweets about this subject do nothing to allay my suspicions regarding his having this curiosity. Why on earth tweet about nukes, of all things? Why announce your intention to robustly join, and likely start, a new nuclear arms race? The man is in love with power, and the feeling that comes from exercising it. And what could be more powerful than ordering the launch of a nuke?

    What’s to stop him? Conscience? No doubt, he has one, but it seems like his is ridiculously underdeveloped, and easy to placate: any gossamer rationale will justify in his own mind his decision to do the unthinkable.


  49. Trump is going to shake things up, your cousin said? He was nearly correct. Trump is going to shake things down.


  50. Okay, I can go along with that. And I’m perfectly willing to use the word opposition instead of resistance, until such time as the latter term becomes more descriptive of conditions in the country. Of course, I may draw that line in different place than you would.


  51. It’s a decent Poe, but the spelling gives it away.

    To see master-grade Poe done intentionally, go read the comments of Daniel over at Slacktivist. Masterful.


  52. A healthy skepticism of the intentions and plans of all politicians is not a bad thing. 😉 But that does not entail that all politiicians are therefore equally bad, or equally unqualified to lead…


  53. I reckon that I will never understand the mindset of the “never-Trumpers”, nor the Trump supporters.I did not vote this year, nor did I vote in 2012, nor in 2008. Voting, for me, violates my conscience. I distrust ALL Washington, DC politicians. ALL, with no exceptions.

    The grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you all in the coming new year.


  54. This is my thinking as well. I suspect many, if not most, of Mr. Trump’s supporters will ultimately be shocked, surprised, and stunned when they are bit by the serpent they thought they could ride and even control.

    As the campaign unfolded, I kept thinking of Rabshakeh’s words to Hezekiah. Hezekiah faced a choice (or so he or so many thought) between Egypt and Assyria. Truly a lesser of two evils situation. Speaking for the Assyrian Sennacherib, Rabshakeh chided Hezekiah, “…behold you have depended upon the support of this splintered reed, upon Egypt, upon whom a man will lean and it will go into his palm and puncture it; so is Pharaoh the king of Egypt to all those who trust in him.”

    When the evangelical church finds their palm punctured by the broken reed that is Mr. Trump, great shall be the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Of course, the third way facing Hezekiah was covenant faithfulness to YHWH. In the story it seems he doesn’t really see this because of the enormity of the forces arrayed before him. Much to learn from this story, I think.


  55. –> “BTW, really enjoyed the movie. A straight-out Star Wars War Movie.”

    My daughter and I saw it yesterday. My comment on FB was: “Umm…wow. Just…wow.” We left the theater stunned and speechless. That’s “more” than a Star Wars movie, that’s creating something that impacts deeply. It reminded me of a lot of Saving Private Ryan.


  56. There is a lot too that. What I have learned as I spend more time in the civc realm is the very sad reality that the VAST majority of Americans have not the slightest clue how their own system – and a very impressive system it is – works. So OF COURSE they are frustrated and confused. And they are left vulnerable to people telling them all kinds of whacky things. Many have been told that the government is not there for them, works against them, etc… So they don’t even try. That is sad. Because the reality is that I can get a city or county commissioner on the phone – EASY. I can get face to face time with my congressman – EASY – even that one I campaigned against. And the truth is they are happy to see civil/polite people. This meme of anti-institutinalism and disenfranchisement is a cancer; it is a failure to understand democracy on a fundamental level. I wish I had an answer to that.


  57. “My fundamentalist cousin Larry’s reasoned analysis is that Trump will “get in there and shake things up”. No discussion as to what exactly he will be “shaking up”.”

    I heard that line of reasoning a lot too. Far, far too many people have lived with peace and stability for so long, that they have no real concept of how fragile it is, or what horrors lay beyond the walls they are so eager to knock down…


  58. I was referring to the collapse.of White Christian Hegemony, not the process of its collapse. I apologise if I did not make that clear.


  59. OK, but there are very angry and frightened people about. I have heard the same statement, from multiple people, who were not in a joking mood. I am as committed to dialing-it-down as much as some are committed to resistance – as a calm thoughtful resistance is a more effective resistance.

    BTW, really enjoyed the movie. A straight-out Star Wars War Movie.


  60. I agree. It will a best to avoid the language of division when the same thing can be said without it. The “incoming administration” says the same thing, and it doesn’t abruptly end the conversation with my Republican neighbor who just moved in


  61. And the latest flap over nuclear weapons is scary. Research all that Trump has said, and questioned, about these weapons, and it makes me wonder about the stability of his mind. These are not toys, but a tool of destruction too terrible to joke about, or to leave to chance misunderstanding.

    I’ve thought for a while now that the further we get from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the more likely these weapons will be used again. Our memory fades. One day all of us who lived through these bombings will be gone. All who lived through the days of the Cuban missile crisis will be dead. Only written and photographic accounts will remain. Will these be enough to ward off a disaster? I doubt it.


  62. It would be preferable not to use words like “regime” to refer to the incoming administration, at least until Constitutional restraints have been clearly cast aside.

    When CNN started using “the Assad regime” in its reports from Syria instead of “the Syrian government”, I knew it was time to leave the plantation and get my information elsewhere


  63. My fundamentalist cousin Larry’s reasoned analysis is that Trump will “get in there and shake things up”. No discussion as to what exactly he will be “shaking up”. The overwhelming support of the evangelical community for Trump is a shame and a scandal. But what should we have expected? He pandered to them and they bought his bill of goods hook line and sinker. Trump didn’t even have to be a very good con man to fool them apparently because it wasn’t necessary. Just as the Roman Catholic community has no more moral influence because of the way they handled the pedophile scandal now the evangelical community has no more moral authority because of the way they sold themselves for political influence.

    I am no fan of Hillary. But if your choice is between bad and worse you don’t pick worse. The worst that Hillary would have done is that we would get four more years of the same ole same ole. Trump will seriously damage our country. How could we have delivered the country over to these despicable people?


  64. Review Fr. Thomas Hopko’s 55 Maxims of the Christian Life. Not one of them mentions politics, but I am deeply humiliated and challenged by some of them:

    31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.

    19. Be polite with everyone, first of all family members.

    49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.

    and, finally,

    18. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.

    I’m gonna get Charles Fines on you and say that in the last week of the campaign, in the period between Halloween and Election Day, I sensed a greater than usual “disturbance in the Force”. There were titanic struggles occurring in the Heavenlies, not a struggle between Good and Evil, per se, but kind of a Eastern-Front-level punchup between Lewis’ Northern Dragon (abstraction) and his Southern Dragon (nostalgia) as to which would be allowed to incarnate his vision of Hell on Earth.

    If Hillary had won, our “resistance” would have been just as necessary, and maybe more difficult. It would have certainly have been less fashionable and socially acceptable.


  65. I can’t rejoice when I consider the prospect that, for instance, under the president-elect’s administration far more black people’s heads will likely be busted by police than already are, and his DOJ will not be likely to undertake serious investigations of police misconduct and abuse. That kind of messiness does not make room for more people, and I’m not OK with it.


  66. Here are a couple of things that “resistance” means to me: Letters of support to the local Rabbi who is speaking for the anonymous Jewish family falsely blamed for the cancellation of the traditional dramatization of “A Christmas Carol” at a local school; and letters to the editor of the local paper critical of any who think that Christmas should be upheld and privileged in local cultural life by making those who hold minority religious perspectives frightened to publicly express their differences from the majority. A firm intention that, if a national registry of Muslims is undertaken by the incoming regime, I will do my best to add my own name to that list. In all cases, identification with those who may become the victims of the nativist and racist passions that the president-elect and his surrogates have intentionally stoked, and are still exploiting, identification that involves sharing some of the risk they will be subject to.


  67. Not ranting is good; there is far to much of that. I spend a lot of time with people who are now Talking about Resistance; from a variety of angles. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, and this is not a critique of CM – – –

    “But what does Resistance mean to you?”.

    It is an important question. I cannot help but fell that much of the Resistance will end as the Talking of which it is a critique. It is a big word.

    Aside – My advice to those really worked up and speaking of Resistance. Pause, and please be careful. The desire to fight is an urge easily co-opted.


  68. Well… except the Rebel Alliance is a para-military force. This site is not.

    IMNSHO the American fetish for war/military metaphor is a healthy portion of what got us here. This is a Civic contest, not a Military one.

    Nobody has been blown up, limbed, strapped down and tortured, no weapons of mass destruction have been used, no city leveled, … Civics is **not** War.

    A thicker line of separation between militarism and civics would serve us all well. We ‘go there’ far too readily.


  69. ‘” the splendid array of adjectives that follows applies in painfully equal measure, in my opinion, to the Outgoing Occupant(tm),”

    Total nonsense. Not even the slightest comparison. To compare the composure, studiousness, and considered approach of Obama to Trump is a crazy stretch. There are many policies that Obama has carried out that I disagree with. But to compare his character or approach to Trump’s makes me wonder what you’ve been doing for the past year.


  70. > but I fear they will do a LOT of damage before all is said and done.

    Certainly true.

    > It’s a lost cause, of course

    But in this also is my cause for some unapologetic worldly hope – I rejoice to see it crumble. Flat out – R-E-J-O-I-C-E! I may be a white guy, but I experienced that ‘unquestionable certainly’ and its eponymous hierarchy-of-goods [which fails to include a whole lot of people, white and otherwise] as a cruel and unwelcoming place.
    I suppose it depends on one’s experience. A messier place has the potential to have room for more people; I am OK with messy.


  71. CM, in the sentence in your standard answer that begins “He has a record of being…” the splendid array of adjectives that follows applies in painfully equal measure, in my opinion, to the Outgoing Occupant(tm), with the possible exception of the words “and business.” I say possible because making pronouncements from on high unfettered by benefit of counsel seems to have been his business. Isaac Newton’s first law applies here: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We have had eight years of the one; now we may have eight years of the other. I’m just saying.


  72. “has led me to commit to being even stronger in my resistance to this approach to life.”

    “we must circle the wagons and defend our side at all costs.”

    “That well-landscaped purported utopian paradise is, in fact, oppressive and deadly.”

    Then this is part of the “Rebel Alliance”. This site is “Rogue One.”


  73. And I do consider this unfolding incident as being caused by the incoming “regime”; specifically, by the inflammatory coverage of this incident by Breitbart (with it army of commenter-trolls), the main propaganda media arm of the that regime.


  74. I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating. I think both things CM calls us to resist arise from similar roots. The world a lot of folks knew, and love – a world where Christian morality was unquestioned, America was rich and powerful and always right, where the white middle classes ruled the roost – that world is dying before our eyes. And some folks are willing to believe anyone and do anything to try and bring that world back.

    It’s a lost cause, of course, but I fear they will do a LOT of damage before all is said and done.


  75. Good job and well said, Mike. You can count on me to give you whatever support you require. As for Trump, I hold out the hope that he realizes what opportunity he has been given; that “… from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. (Psalm 75:6–7, ESV)”. It’s a slim hope I know, but I hope it anyway. As for “Dottie”, this morning’s comment solidifies for me the conclusion “she” is a troll/poe. I will not respond; I hope the rest of you follow my example.


  76. I learned a long time ago, that to derisively dismiss ideas, people and books that I had not actually seriously interacted with is sheer arrogance, laziness, and a good way to eventually get yourself ignored.


  77. Donald,
    I also acknowledge that CM is a better man than I. I have found it impossible to hold my tongue, though in most cases it would have been the wiser course. In my own defense I will say that, on the one hand, some people have got my number, and are intentionally “trigerring”/provoking me, and on the other, some things are already happening that, in my opinion, cannot be passed over silently: (This happened within a few miles of where I live.).


  78. Thank you CM! This is the mindset I’m trying to have as well… it’s not easy avoiding the fray, but I look forward to coming here as an oasis from it. I do appreciate your “resistance” language, because true followers of Christ will have to resist, but in ways that reflect Him and His Light and love. That resistance is going to be costly, but in the end it will overcome and outlast the darkness.


  79. Wise words as always, CM. And with more patience and restraint than I could likely muster. Thank you for an island of sanity in a time of considerable madness. I will bat for your chosen team any day.


  80. Very well said Mike. Great stuff. The next few years should be quite the ride. I hope they are uneventful enough that you are not compelled to comment very much for all of our sakes. I like your team of choice and I will play for that as well.


  81. I am a sporadic visitor here and your comment went over my head. I have read a bit of both men and don’t know what you mean. I have no intention of arguing about it– just curious and puzzled.

    On the main post, you are a better man than I am. I don’t mean that as a backhanded justification of my ranting tendencies ( evident elsewhere online) but as the plain truth.


  82. And don’t forget the tribe of “Ansciant Future” fanatics, who would have been stoned as heritics back in Bible times. Or the “post-Christian” / “anti-Churchianity” / “wilderness” people who think there better then both sides. Me I thank God every day for saving me from the jingoism of Ben Witherington or N.T. Wright.


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